Guides and Helpful Hints

How to Research a San Francisco Building

Professional Building Researchers Guides

Research Resources Useful for Researching Historic Buildings
William Kostura, 1997.
How to Research Your San Francisco Building
Jean Kortum, Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board, 1992.

Book Guides

Architectural Records in the San Francisco Bay Area: A Guide to Research
Waverly Lowell
The Guide to Architecture in San Francisco and Northern California
David Gebhard
House Histories: A Guide to Tracing the Genealogy of Your Home
Sally Light
Victoria’s Legacy
Judith Lynch Waldhorn and Sally B. Woodbridge

Where Else to Visit

Office of the Assessor-Recorder - (City Hall, Room 190, 415-554-5596).
Find ownership records and transfers of property from 1914 to the present. Locate block and lot numbers through the San Francisco Property Information Map.
Public Utilities Commission / Water Department - (525 Golden Gate Avenue, 415-551-3000).
Obtain copies of the original water applications.
San Francisco Planning Department - (1650 Mission Street, Suite 400, 415-558-6378).
Access the 1976 Department of City Planning Architectural Survey and San Francisco Property Information Map.
San Francisco Department of Building Inspection. Support Services, Records Management Section - (1660 Mission Street, 4th Floor, 415-558-6080).
Obtain building permit applications (1906 to present) and inquire about plans/blueprints through the Records Management Section. Before visiting, please follow the Records Management Section instructions of submitting a Records Request Form in order to view or obtain copies of building records.
California Historical Society, North Baker Research Library - (678 Mission Street, 415-357-1848).
Photographs and documents on California and San Francisco history, including some 1920s Sanborn maps; and Edwards Abstract, 1896-1977.
University of California, Berkeley
Bancroft Library - (510-642-6481). Photographs and documents on California and San Francisco history, including some 1920-30s Sanborn maps.
Environmental Design Archives - (510-642-5124). Access some San Francisco building plans and additional information on prominent architects.
San Francisco Architectural Heritage - (2007 Franklin Street, 415-441-3000).
Files of information on San Francisco buildings and architects.
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