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MONTHLY PROGRAMS

SFHS Vanished SF book - Lorri Ungaretti

Vanished San Francisco

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 6:30 PM
SFHS Museum, 608 Commercial Street

Lorri Ungaretti

Lorri Ungaretti will lead a visual journey of more than 50 places and items that were once found in San Francisco but are gone now. Items include the Embarcadero Freeway; the Montgomery Block; a building erected in 1853 that survived the 1906 earthquake and fire; two-toned fog horns; the Sweeny Observatory in Golden Gate Park; and a butterfly that went extinct.

San Francisco native Lorri Ungaretti has written five books about the west side of San Francisco. She is the author of various articles on the city’s history and has given historical talks and led history tours. She is a longtime member and volunteer of SFHS. Lorri’s new book, Vanished San Francisco, will be available for sale.

* REGISTRATION FOR PROGRAM *

* To reserve your spot as an SFHS member please CLICK HERE.
* To purchase a non-member ticket ($10, free for 13 and under) please CLICK HERE.
* View online live stream during the event on YouTube: CLICK HERE TO WATCH STREAM.


How Dry I Ain’t—The Story of How San Francisco Outwitted National Prohibition Rules and Prospered

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 6:30 PMSFHS How Dry I Aint
SFHS Museum, 608 Commercial Street

John Freeman

Between 1920 and 1933, the United States tried the “Noble Experiment” of banning alcoholic beverages. But the Volstead Act legislation never prohibited consumption! Locally, imbibers enjoyed a most relaxed attitude toward the consumption of alcohol. The San Francisco region took advantage of all the loopholes to skirt the federal laws and rake in the profits from tourism and stealthy distribution.

John Freeman is a native San Franciscan, and member of SFHSfor 24 years. His passion is pursuing local historic topics that were seemingly forgotten, or inaccurately told, and sharing them. John has consulted for museum exhibits and written numerous rticles in print and online sites. He has also taught courses in regional lifelong learning programs.

* REGISTRATION FOR PROGRAM *

* To reserve your spot as an SFHS member please CLICK HERE.
* To purchase a non-member ticket ($10, free for 13 and under) please CLICK HERE.
* View online live stream during the event on YouTube: CLICK HERE TO WATCH STREAM.

Doors open at 5:45 PM for socializing and snacks.
Presentations begin at 6:30.


In-Person Walking Tours

Our three revamped Barbary Coast Trail Walking Tours begin at the SFHS Museum, 608 Commercial Street. These walks explore “ground zero” of early San Francisco. Barbary Coast Trail tours are free for members, $20 for non-members (under 13 is free), but you must register in advance. Limited to 15 people or less. Rain cancels.

historical SF harbor

*** SIGN UP FOR WALKING TOURS ***

*** Current SFHS Members please RESERVE your spot for any tour: CLICK HERE! ***

*** Non-members please PURCHASE your tickets for any tour: CLICK HERE! ***
$20 per person (under 13 free)
* In case of rain, tours will be rescheduled. Tours approximately 90 minutes. More info: erys.gagnez@sfhistory.org

* see Unspeakable Vice Tour info below for special tour tickets and prices 


1906 Earthquake and Fire: Chinatown’s Devastation and Renewal

Before dawn on April 18, 1906, the San Andreas Fault ruptured, sending shock waves racing across San Francisco. The city

SF Earthquake 1906 was abruptly wakened to witness a firestorm that would last three days and destroy almost everything within sight. Vibrant and densely populated Chinatown was swiftly engulfed by a raging fire on Day One, its inhabitants dispersed like embers in the wind. With Chinatown destroyed, city politicians and power brokers decided that this was an opportune time to relocate the Chinese community. Powered by an irrepressible resilience, the Chinese community reimagined Chinatown and built it back better.

  • Saturday, February 18 at 11:00 am
  • Saturday, March 18 at 11:00 am

(tours led by Jack Grippi)


Secrets and Stories of San Francisco’s “Wall Street of the West”

Secrets and Stories of San Francisco Wall Street of the West

Travel back in time to discover the stories and significance of the companies and people whose names adorn Financial District buildings. In addition to Silver Kings, the Big Four, and renowned bankers, this tour will introduce you to many others who “mined the miners” to create wealth beyond any normal imagination.

Tour Dates, Times, and Guides:

  • Friday, February 3 at 11:00 am
  • Friday, March 3 at 11:00 am

(All tours led by Thom Jackson)

Maximum attendees: 15


Walking-tour-san-francisco-historical-society-barbary-coast-gold rush sunken shipsGold Rush and Sunken Ships

Experience how San Francisco went from a trading village to a metropolis. You’ll learn about the hidden remains of sunken ships and artifacts from the Gold Rush.

Tour Dates, Times, and Guides: 

  • Saturday, February 4 at 11:00 am
  • Saturday, March 4 at 11:00 am

(All tours led by Thom Jackson)

Maximum attendees: 15


Barbary Coast and Jackson Square: Pleasure Seekers and Merry MakersBarbary Coast and Jackson Square Pleasure Seekers and Merry Makers

Explore the beginnings of the “anything goes” city through its culture, food, and vice. Is it so different today? Discover how the City by the Bay reflects its glorious past and continues as a trend-setting urban playground.

  • Saturday, February 4 at 11 am
  • Saturday, March 4 at 11 am

(All tours led by Carolyn Moniz)

Maximum attendees: 15

(led by Carolyn Moniz)


Unspeakable Viceunspeakable-vice-san-francisco-historical-society-walking-tour

Starting at the San Francisco Historical Society, we’ll zig zag our way by more than a dozen lost queer bars, concluding with a round of drinks at the site an infamous lesbian hook-up spot on Grant. Hear how the “unspeakable vice” of the Victorians found its place and, through the process, gained a voice. Starts at 608 Commercial St. and ends at Maggy McGary’s pub at 1353 Grant Ave in North Beach. This exciting new tour includes a free drink at Maggy McGary’s, included in the tour price.

Notes: 21+, Limit 1 free drink per guest, Maggy McGary’s end 1353 Grant Ave

Tour Dates and Times:

  • Saturday, February 18 at 11:00 am
  • Saturday, March 25 at 11:00 am

    (tour led by Shawn Sprockett)



Visit Our Museum Exhibit!

SF Lost Landscapes SFHS exhibit

San Francisco’s Lost Landscapes

This special exhibit showcases an extensive assemblage of rare maps, lithographs, photographs, and paintings of early San Francisco from three private collections.

SF Lost Landscapes SFHS exhibit sponsors


Gold Rush Walks for KidsWalking-tour-san-francisco-historical-society-barbary-coast Gold Rush Walks for Kids

Our trained guides offer free walking tours for elementary school focused on the Gold Rush. This walk directly addresses grade 4 social studies standards, but students in grades 3–6 are welcome to attend. Please call 415-537-1105, Ext. 6, for more details.


Self-Guided Walking Tours

Tours of ‘Old Town’ SF
Not up for an in-person event yet? Give our self-guided walking tours a try. These walks also begin at 608 Commercial Street. You can download them for free on the App Store or Google Play. Search for “City Explorer San Francisco” and look for the walks with the SFHS logo. Or, scan the QR code with your smartphone or tablet.

SFHS Virtual Walking Tours


Self-Guided Tours Led by SF High School Students

Walking Tours of Golden Gate Park!
Walking tours of Golden Gate Park led by San Francisco high school students, the winners of the 2020 Fracchia Prize, are now available as mobile apps. Download the walks for free and start exploring “Everyone’s Park,” with freshly minted historians as your guide. Choose from:

  • “Botany and Horticulture: Symbols of Flourishing Against the Odds” by Winnie Quock, George Washington High School (1st Place Winner)
  • “Horticultural History: Learning About San Francisco’s Past Through the Garden Gems of the City’s Favorite Park” by Indigo Mudbhary, Lick-Wilmerding High School (2nd Place Winner)

* COMING SOON * “It’s a Ringer! One Perfect Day in Golden Gate Park” by 3rd Place Winner Luke Zeponni, Abraham Lincoln High School

SFHS Virtual Walking Tour - Golden Gate Park

*  Special thanks to SFHS Volunteer Gloria Lenhart for creating our mobile history apps. *