At the Western Neighborhoods Project, we often get inquiries about specific houses or buildings or intersections on the west side of the city. Sometimes we have pictures or articles on our site, but more often we turn to the same references over and over.
This week someone sent us the following:
hi just a curious question here. what was located where blockbuster/walgreen’s/domino’s/ross is on geary street — between 16th and 17th? i go by there all the time, and it really looks out of place! what was there before? when did that “strip mall” go up? I thought maybe you might have some insight. I’ve looked at all the old photos of that area, but none seem to catch that exact block. anyway, just curious! thanks mike
Here’s where we looked and what we found:
The San Francisco Assessor’s Office tells us that the building went up in 1966 through the SFParcel Viewer (which will soon be replaced by San Francisco Property Information Map) A caveat: Pre-1906 buildings will often not have an accurate date.
SFParcel Viewer: http://gispub02.sfgov.org/website/sfparcel/INDEX.htm
San Francisco Property Information Map: http://ec2-50-17-237-182.compute-1.amazonaws.com/PIM/
Then we checked the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps available (with a library card) at the San Francisco Public Library’s eLibrary system, where we found this: apartment buildings taking up the entire end of the lot.
Sanborn Maps California: http://ezproxy.sfpl.org/login?url=http://sanborn.umi.com
Then we consulted the 1938 Aerial views of San Francisco, another great collection by the SF Public Library, digitized and hosted by the David Rumsey Map Collection.
Then it was on to the Jesse Brown Cook Collection from the Bancroft Library through the Online Archive of California (Jesse Cook was a police officer and later SF Police Chief who took thousands of photo of city streets from 1895 to 1936). There we found a view of our apartments from the street.
We’ll usually check both of our own maps to see if anything comes up there.
All WNP Articles and Images: http://www.outsidelands.org/maps
1951 West Side Assessor’s Department Images: http://www.outsidelands.org/maps/photo_locations.php
And that’s it! We answered Mike’s questions with just a few minutes of online research. We’re sure there’s more to the story of the Geary Boulevard mall (some of us remember it as “Value Giant” and “Giant Value!”), but hopefully we’ve gotten him on his way. Maybe he’ll even decide to join as a member..?