SFCentric History: 9 of the Best Books on San Francisco History
San Francisco is an old, iron safe filled with gold, glory, disaster, and secrets. SFCentric History is a column, by SF writer V. Alexandra de F. Szoenyi, that digs in the vaults of local history and shares the sensational people, places, and things that rocked San Francisco.
One of the best ways to learn about history is through written accounts. I have a growing collection of curated books on San Francisco, and they include random old photos, SF lists, and story upon story about the things that shaped The City. With so many books on a single topic, it can be difficult to find the real gems covering local history. Enriching our understanding of San Francisco and helping to preserve the past, these following books are some of the best avenues for learning about San Francisco’s yesterday.
San Francisco Almanac, Gladys HansenPhoto: Amazon
The San Francisco Almanac is probably my favorite and most referenced book on San Francisco. It contains about anything and everything you’d want to know about SF, including notable dates, symbols of the city, Ohlone history, songs about San Francisco, and notable people.
Cool Gray City of Love, Gary KamiyaPhoto: Amazon
49 chapters make up this collection of
Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, Rebecca SolnitPhoto: Rebecca Solnit
The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area, Malcolm Margolin and Michael HarneyPhoto: Amazon
Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love, David TalbotPhoto: Amazon
Imperial San Francisco, Grey BrechinPhoto: Amazon
The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld, Herbert AsburyPhoto: Amazon
We all have heard about the raucous Barbary Coast, but we don’t know a lot of the stories behind it.
The Great San Francisco Trivia & Fact Book, Janet BaileyPhoto: Amazon
This is another great book that I have in my personal library. It