Guides and Helpful Hints

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 - (49 South Van Ness Avenue, Suite 1400, 628-652-7600).

Planning staff can assist with land use information, design consultation, and other resources. The 1976 Department of City Planning Architectural Survey  is available via APN on the San Francisco Property Information Map.


San Francisco Department of Building Inspection. Support Services, Records Management Section - (49 South Van Ness Avenue, 628-652-3200).

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.

Photograph of house at 1464 McAllister Street, 19963
Photograph of house at 1090 Page Street, n.d.
Photograph of house at 1588 Fell Street, 1964
Photograph of house at 1111 Pine Street, ca. 1890