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Historic photos of San Francisco properties dating as far back as the late 1940s are accessible to the public at the city’s main library thanks to an initiative launched by city Assessor Carmen Chu.

The collection of more than 94,000 photos shows both commercial and residential properties throughout San Francisco over the decades. The collection was made by possible due to recent efforts by Chu to digitize hundreds of thousands of real estate documents in the office.

Chu said in a statement:

“San Francisco history is so rich and worth preserving. Our view into how our city once looked and felt is an important reminder of where we came from. I’m proud to be the catalyst for making these historic photos available for generations to come. … Our history shouldn’t be boxed away and forgotten.”

The photos can be seen in the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection at the main library at 100 Larkin St.

City Librarian Michael Lambert said:

“The photos are an invaluable resource for people trying to find pictures of their own house or neighborhood.”

Lambert added:

“They also contain abundant documentation of back alleys, street and building signs, automobiles and other details of daily life — essentially Google street view for the past sixty years.”

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