The Confluence of Market, Post & Montgomery Streets in 1868
NOTE: Please don't miss the links to the extremely zoomable version of the 1868 photograph shown here. The link to the Big Version is the real treasure in this post.
In our last item, we looked at the 1866 Mechanics' Institute building in San Francisco: the building at 31 Post Street — just a few steps from the intersection of Post, Montgomery and Market Streets — where Emperor Norton wrote Proclamations; where he spoke with technological visionaries of the day; and where, word has it, he played a fine game of chess.
As a photographic postscript, here's a view of the intersection in 1868, two years after the new Institute building was completed.
The view is from the south side of Market Street, looking east across Market to Post Street, with Montgomery Street "peeking in" at the right, between the Hibernia Bank in the right foreground — this is the building that preceded the bank's more-famous landmark building at Market and Jones Streets, completed in 1892 — and the imposing Masonic Temple just beyond the bank.
The Mechanics' Institute building is the three-story structure roughly in the middle of the photo — just beyond the two-story building at the northwest corner of Post and Market.
This scene would have been very familiar to Emperor Norton.
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Lovely as this photograph is, though, the real prize is the fabulous — and extremely zoomable — version of the photo created by the University of Southern California Digital Library.
You can view this version here.
Zoom in several times, and you'll be rewarded with a real sense of place — the details of the streets, buildings, signs, and people really are quite astonishing.
If you look closely, you might even spot a distinguished bearded gentleman strolling in military regalia, giant gold epaulets and a plumed beaver hat.
Certainly, his ghost is here.
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