Friday, July 31, 2009

Same house, 103 years later?

While I was writing my 18 April 1906 - San Francisco - They Were There! last night, I got to wondering about the house in my picture below.

Is the house still there? If so, what does it look like? I realized that I didn't know where 4135 19th Street in San Francisco was located. So I used Google Maps to find the neighborhood and saw:

Ah, it's just south of Market Street and just west of Castro Street, on the south side of 19th Street, in the Castro District. Google Maps has the Street View available for this neighborhood, so I clicked on that and was able to see the houses on the block.

After a bit of playing around with the Street View, I managed to get this screen shot (full screen by the way) of a house currently 4131 19th Street:

The house at 4131 19th Street is the light blue house just to the right of the beige/brown house on the left. It is a two-story house, with a garage and entry built in front of the older two-story structure.

In the top photo of the house in 1906, you can see the bottom two-pane windows on the right with another two-pane window above, the entry door up a staircase on the left with a smaller window with a small porch above the entry door. In the bottom 2008 (?) photo, you can see the same features, but the entry door is probably now a window. The staircase, entry door and first-floor windows are hidden by the garage and new street-level entry.

It appears that they have added another "slice" of building between the 1906 building and the beige/brown building on the left that includes the new entry to the house on the first floor.

I have absolutely no doubt that this is the same building! I can hardly wait to go visit it the next time we are in San Francisco. My brother-in-law told me that the house had been replaced - he will be surprised to see this!

Have you used Google Street Maps to find ancestral homes of your families? Are the homes still there? Do they still look similar to what they did many years ago? Try it - have fun!


unyg said...


That is absolutely brilliant! What a great idea to use with new technology. Another source for areas where street view is not available I have been using which will let you look at an address from low flying aerial photography and you can go all the way around the house to see it from 4 different directions.

Dick Hillenbrand

Kathryn Doyle said...

I'm so glad you found it! Last night when I read your post I was thinking we might want to do some city directory look ups to start but obviously I was thinking "old school." Great find! I'm going to link to your posts in the CGSL eNews for August.

Unknown said...


I have virtually cruised down a street in Waukegan, IL (near Chicago)to discover that there is so much flora and fauna that you can barely see the houses. Also with Google Maps, street view, I also tried to find some farm land where a living relative lives and got a feel for rural Indiana where the streets are a compilation of numbers and directional indicators. I did find my grandmother's house in Racine, WI.

Finding things on Google Maps in Chicago is a big problem in that they changed all the streets and numbering (I think it was in the 1920s or so) so they would not match the current street and numbering system in that you would need the right year of the Chicago city directory for the street and numbering conversions. I will look at this more in detail and get back to you on it if you are interested.

Miriam Robbins said...

When you visit, you should bring a copy of the photo to give to the current residents...they'd probably love it! I know I would enjoy any old photos of my home.

Taneya said...

Yes, I too have done this and it is a wonderful thing! See my posts at,, &

Tim Cox said...

Hi Randy,
I'm not too far from that block! When I take my dog out for a walk today, we'll go by there and take some photos for you!

Kathryn Doyle is publishing this in the CGSL eNews and while I'm proof reading it, it caught my eye. It's all about networking!

Tim Cox

Tim Cox said...

Randy, how do I email you? I've searched and searched and cannot locate your email address nor a link to email you. I have info for you about 4135 19th St in San Francisco.

Tim Cox

Anonymous said...

I have done this, too. I was so excited to find a building in the historic North End of Boston that I believe was where my great-great-grandparents lived. It's great to have a way to look at current places when we can't spend the time and money to actually be there.

What a fantastic find to learn that this house in your family is still there.