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Excellent 1887 Britton & Rey map of San Francisco with rare depiction of the Bay District Racing Track.

Place/Date: San Francisco / 1887
$1,800.
Title: Britton & Rey’s Guide Map of the City of San Francisco. 1887. Copyright. (with) Index to Street Guide Map of San Francisco, Cal. by Britton & Rey
Technique
Chromolithograph
Dimensions
61 x 49 cm (24 x 19.2 in)
Identifier
NL-00615
Coloring
Original color
Condition Rating
VG

Description

This is one of the most attractive late 19th century maps of San Francisco we have seen, and rare at that! Only 3 examples are listed in OCLC.

This example is missing the patented fabric strip that was originally attached to the cover. However, the quality of the cover book and method of attachment remain.

All the hallmarks of pre-1906 maps of San Francisco are found on this map, stylishly and expertly presented by the preeminent engravers operating in the city at this time. Notable features include ranchos, the cemeteries at Lone Mountain, the Southern Pacific Railroad lines arriving from the southern peninsula, the Alms House Tract (Laguna Honda hospital today), Spring Valley Water Company reservoir, and more.

Several spurious street names are shown in the Marina, including Tonguin and Lewis. These were planned to be on landfill but were never actually created; Tonguin street is instead Marina Boulevard and Lewis is Marina Green Drive.

Also, interesting is the depiction of the Bay District Race Track (between First Avenue, Fulton Street, Fifth Avenue and Point Lobos Road), which opened in 1874 to great fanfare with a $25,000 race — the largest purse ever offered in America. By the time this map was published, the race track was near its end (officially in 1895), and indeed on the map we see the city grid superimposed on the course. By 1900, developer Fernando Nelson had purchased much of the area and begun building homes, many of which are still there today.

Cartographer(s)

Britton & Rey

Joseph Britton (1825 – July 18, 1901) was a lithographer, the co-founder of prominent San Francisco lithography studio Britton and Rey, and a civic leader in San Francisco, serving as a member of the Board of Supervisors and helping to draft a new city charter.

In 1852 he became active in lithography and publishing, first under the name Pollard and Britton, and then Britton and Rey, a printing company founded with his friend and eventual brother-in-law Jacques Joseph Rey. Britton and Rey became known as the premier lithographic and engraving studio of the Gold Rush era, producing letter sheets, maps, and artistic prints.

Condition Description

Folding map; minor wear.

References

Rumsey 5567; BRM 2763. Western Neighborhoods Project article Bay District Racing Track by Angus Macfarlane

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