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Research Inquiries
Please direct any research inquiries you may have
to the San Francisco History Center at the Main Public Library.
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2015 meeting dates

January 27
February 24
March 31
April 28
May 26
June 30
July 28
August 25
September 22
October 27
November 24
December no meeting



Saturday, July 18, 2015

San Francisco Italian Athletic Club 

1630 Stockton Street

6:30 pm no-host bar

7:30 pm dinner

$50.00 per person

more information visit: annual dinner

purchase your ticket today!


Special SFHA Walking Tour 


In 2013, SFHA gave Emperor Norton I (aka Joseph Amster) a research grant to help him develop “Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine,” a lively, informative, and entertaining walking tour of historic San Francisco. The Emperor has invited SFHA members to take his tour:  

Sunday, August 2

3 pm


This special tour is FREE, but strictly limited to 30 SFHA members. If you are interested, you must register to save a spot.

contact:  lorri@sanfranciscohistory.org

You’ll learn the fascinating stories behind: 

Emperor Norton, the man and the myths

Union Square, The St. Francis Hotel, Maiden Lane, Lotta’s Fountain, The 1906 earthquake and fire, Bummer & Lazarus, The Palace Hotel, Jackson Square, The Barbary Coast, Portsmouth Square

. . . and much more!

The tour lasts approximately 2.75 hours and is two miles long. If you can’t make it on August 2, Emperor Norton’s Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine departs Thursdays and Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. from Union Square. The regular cost is $20 and reservations are requested. 

To learn more, visit http://www.emperornortontour.com


The Emporium 


Tuesday, July 28 

guest speaker: Anne Evers Hitz

The Emporium—“California’s Largest, America’s Grandest Store”— was a major shopping destination on San Francisco’s Market Street for a century,from 1896 to 1996. Shoppers flocked to the mid-price store with its beautiful dome and bandstand. Patrons could find anything 
at the Emporium, from jewelry to stoves, and it was a meeting place for friends to enjoy tea while listening to the Emporium Orchestra. Founded in 1897 as the Emporium and Golden Rule Bazaar, the store flourished until the disastrous 1906 earthquake. Once it re-opened in 1908, it dominated shopping downtown until mid-century. Today it is the site of the Westfield Mall.


Author and freelance writer Anne Evers Hitz, a fifth-generation San Franciscan and a great-great-granddaughter of one of the Emporium’s founders, F. W. Dohrmann, has gathered together images from libraries and private collections to tell the Emporium story. Her book, Emporium Department Store, was published by Arcadia Publishing in its Images of America series in late 2014.


Visit the meetings page for more details.


Colma: A Journey of Souls 


Tuesday, August 25

guest speaker: Richard Rocchetta

In 2014 SFHA gave the Colma Historical Society a Research Gift to help produce the film Colma: A Journey of Souls. Richard Rocchetta will briefly introduce this film created by local filmmaker Bryan Kingston of Kingston Media to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the incorporation of the unique town of Colma. The film traces the history of Colma from the early native Americans, its acceptance of thousands of bodies from San Francisco’s cemeteries, and the present Colma as a “city of souls.” After Richard’s talk, we will view the 35-minute film.


Visit the meetings page for more details.


Discovering the City’s History

through Family Histories

or 8 Families over 160 Years in 40 Minutes


Tuesday, September 22

guest speaker: David Fleishhacker

David Fleishhacker comes from one of the greatest known families in San Francisco history. He has spent a great deal of time researching not only the Fleishhacker family, but also others who had colorful histories. His cast of characters includes:
• A pioneer who made millions in the Alaskan fur trade 
• Someone who owned a large part of what is now Golden Gate Park
• A radical journalist, a feisty attorney who exposed the graft of Abe Ruef
• The first chancellor of UC Medical Center
• A stagecoach rider murdered by bandits
• 2 brothers who were among the wealthiest men in the state
• An Olympic gold medal winner
• A young man who succumbed to yellow fever while returning from Mexico
• A member of Ted Lewis’ orchestra
• A businessman who helped bring A.C.T. to San Francisco
. . . and many more fascinating people


Visit the meetings page for more details.



100th Anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition




February 20, 2015 marked the 100th anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), the World’s Fair celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal and showcasing San Francisco—its recovery from the ashes of the 1906 earthquake and fire and its world trade potential. Throughout 2015, the PPIE100, a citywide consortium of cultural, civic, and historical organizations, will conduct centennial programs to commemorate the PPIE’s historical significance and to reflect on its legacy.


Looking for a tax write off?

Donate to the San Francisco History Association's Research Gift Program