Reference Books of the Month: Exploring San Francisco

Natalie Abbott, a Gleeson Library | Geschke Center intern, wrote this post.

Whether you are new to San Francisco or just want to become better acquainted with the city, here are some useful resources for exploring the area:

Streets of San Francisco: The Origins of Street and Place Names

streetsLouis K. Loewenstein

Reference Stacks: F869.67 S9 L6 1996

This book describes the origins of many street names in San Francisco.  Some of the more interesting names include:

  • -Maiden Lane: contrary to popular belief, this street was not in fact named for the brothels that used to line it but was instead named for the New York street of the same name in the heart of the jewelry district.
  • -Mark Twain Lane: At this site, now bordering the Transamerica Pyramid, Twain supposedly met a man named Tom Sawyer whose name he would use in his most famous work.
  • -Nob Hill: derived from the British slang term “nabob” which refers to the area’s wealthy residents of the 1870s and 1880s.

A Checklist of San Francisco murals, 1914-1986

muralsTim Drescher and Victoria Scarlett

Reference Stacks: F869.145 .C54 1986

This booklet includes a listing of murals created in San Francisco between 1914 and 1986, and provides descriptions and detailed area maps of mural locations.  The list of murals is organized by area, and an index allows you to search for murals by artist name.

San Francisco Almanac: everything you want to know about everyone’s favorite city

almanacby Gladys Hansen

Reference Stacks: F869.S3 H32 1995

The 47 chapters in this text cover a myriad of facts and anecdotes about the city, ranging from accolades (famous and not-so-famous references to San Francisco), to fairs, legends, panoramic views, songs and weather.  Within these chapters, you will find interesting facts, tables and photographs relating to San Francisco.

Museums & galleries of San Francisco and the Bay Area

museumsby Kristine M. Carber

Reference Stacks: F869.14 .C37 1996

A guidebook to museums and galleries in San Francisco, the East Bay, Marin County and the Peninsula.  This book provides basic descriptions of the institutions, along with brief discussions of the scope and history of their collections.  Although some specifics such as the price of admission and hours may have changed, this is still a valuable resource for becoming acquainted with the San Francisco Bay Area art scene.

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