Rarely Seen Maps From San Francisco’s Quirkiest Hidden Library

Map library

By Greg Miller from wired.com:

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Have you ever gone to a place you’ve always wanted to visit and found out it was even more awesome than you thought it would be? That’s how I felt last week when we visited the Prelinger Library, an eclectic collection run by Megan and Rick Prelinger (the folks in the photo below). I spent the rest of the day kicking myself for not getting there earlier, and a fair bit of the next day planning my return.

The library shares a building with a carpet store and a dance studio in a slightly ragged patch of San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood. There’s no sign, but if you know what you’re looking for, you step inside the lobby and press a button on the intercom to be admitted. It’s like a speakeasy of maps.

OK, so there’s lots more than just maps, but maps are what we were there to see. On the library’s website, the Prelingers describe it as “a collection of 19th and 20th century historical ephemera, periodicals, maps, and books, most published in the United States.” They specialize in collecting stuff not commonly found in other libraries.

Inside, the space is small, mostly taken up by shelves. There’s a desk at the front for visitors to read and work. The smell makes me nostalgic for the tiny public library my mom used to take me to when I was a kid.

The library opened in 2004 and now houses something like 75,000 items. “The rule is, it takes one of us to acquire something and two of us to get rid of it,” Rick said.

“Everything that’s here is here because we’re interested in it,” Megan added. “We started the collection because we’re both independent makers drawing on neglected historical material.”

One project is a series of atlases for the map room at the recently re-opened Exploratorium. The atlases are printed on large Tyvek sheets to withstand the onslaught of curious children.

The maps in this gallery are just a tiny sample of the Prelingers’ collection, and they’re certainly not the last ones you’ll see featured here at Map Lab. One thing that strikes me about this group of maps is how they evoke the times and places they came from, from the optimistic spirit of the 1939 New York World’s Fair and Golden Gate International Exposition to the fear and paranoia of the Cold War.

Prepare to be transported.

<< Previous | Click here for larger images and information about the thumbnails below the large map image above.

Photos: Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

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New Cloud Magically Appears Inside a San Francisco Room

"Nimbus Green Room"photograph

By alice from mymodernmet.com:


By now, you’re all familiar with the name Berndnaut Smilde, the Dutch artist who magically makes clouds appear inside rooms. His latest work took him to the Green Room of the Veterans Building in downtown San Francisco where he let Julia Wilczok and Maria Judice of Avant/Garde Diaries shoot him and his latest creation. The beautifully shot film, called Making Clouds, takes us behind-the-scenes with the artist where he discusses what his fascination is about clouds.

As he told Avant/Garde, “It’s not so much about the shape of the cloud but about placing it out of its natural context. It brings duality, because you can’t really grasp how to interpret the situation you are viewing. People have always had strong metaphysical connections to clouds as they symbolize the ominous.”

With hanging chandeliers and a reflection in the mirror, this latest piece, called Nimbus Green Room, is particularly enchanting. It’s almost like we’re watching a scene from a fairy tale.

[Making Clouds” (video)]

Disaster Preparedness: San Francisco Emergency Drinking Water Hydrants

Mapp of drinking water hydrants in San Francisco

In the spirit of Independence for July 4th, be independent in case of disaster by knowing your closest San Francisco hydrant with drinking water. Go here for an interactive map of all 67. Note: There doesn’t seem to be a Hydrant #19 for some reason.

SF-hydrants

  1. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #1
    Anza St. & 43rd Ave., San Francisco, CA
  2. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #2
    Anza St. & 37th Ave., San Francisco, CA
  3. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #3
    Clement St. & 44th Ave., San Francisco,
  4. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #4
    Anza St. & 30th Ave., San Francisco, CA
  5. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #5
    Geary Blvd. & 21st Ave., San Francisco, CA
  6. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #6
    Geary Blvd. & Funston Ave., San Francisco, CA
  7. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #7
    Arguello St. & Edward St., San Francisco, CA
  8. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #8
    Euclid Ave. & Collins St., San Francisco, CA
  9. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #9
    Divisadero St. & Pacific Ave., San Francisco, CA
  10. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #10
    Broderick St. & Bay St., San Francisco, CA
  11. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #11
    Ashbury St. & Waller St., San Francisco, CA
  12. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #12
    Irving St. & 12th Ave., San Francisco, CA
  13. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #13
    24th Ave. & Judah St., San Francisco, CA
  14. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #14
    45th Ave. & Kirkham St., San Francisco, CA
  15. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #15
    41st Ave. & Pacheco St., San Francisco, CA
  16. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #16
    24th Ave. & Pacheco St., San Francisco, CA
  17. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #17
    Quintara St. & Cragmont Ave., San Francisco, CA
  18. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #18
    Christopher Dr.& Clarendon Ave., San Francisco, CA
  19. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #20
    Taraval St. & 44th Ave., San Francisco, CA
  20. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #21
    Ulloa St. & 25th Ave., San Francisco, CA
  21. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #22
    Portola Dr. & Marne Ave., San Francisco, CA
  22. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #23
    Lakeshore Plaza & Ocean Ave., San Francisco, CA
  23. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #24
    Ocean Ave. & San Fernando Way, San Francisco, CA
  24. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #25
    Ridgewood Ave. & Flood Ave., San Francisco, CA
  25. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #26
    Ocean Ave. & San Jose Ave., San Francisco, CA
  26. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #27
    Plymouth Ave. & Minerva St., San Francisco, CA
  27. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #28
    Alemany Blvd. & St. Charles Ave., San Francisco, CA
  28. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #29
    Jackson St. & Gough St., San Francisco, CA
  29. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #30
    Buchanan St. & Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA
  30. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #31
    Hyde St. & Greenwich St., San Francisco, CA
  31. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #32
    Taylor St. & Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA
  32. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #33
    Kearny St. & California St., San Francisco, CA
  33. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #34
    Union St. & Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA
  34. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #35
    Broadway & Davis St., San Francisco, CA
  35. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #36
    Bay St. & The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA
  36. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #37
    McAllister St. & Fillmore St., San Francisco, CA
  37. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #38
    Bush St. & Octavia St., San Francisco, CA
  38. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #39
    Ellis St. & Leavenworth St., San Francisco, CA
  39. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #40
    Grove St. & Polk St., San Francisco, CA
  40. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #41
    Market St. & 4th St., San Francisco, CA
  41. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #42
    1st St. & Folsom St., San Francisco, CA
  42. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #43
    6th St. & Harrison St., San Francisco, CA
  43. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #44
    3rd St. & King St., San Francisco, CA
  44. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #45
    Castro St. & States St., San Francisco, CA
  45. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #46
    Bryant St. & 16th St., San Francisco, CA
  46. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #47
    Mississippi St. & Mariposa St., San Francisco, CA
  47. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #48
    3rd St. & 16th St., San Francisco, CA
  48. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #49
    Liberty St. & Church St., San Francisco, CA
  49. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #50
    20th St. & Dolores St., San Francisco, CA
  50. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #51
    23rd St. & Treat Ave., San Francisco, CA
  51. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #52
    Pennsyvania Ave. & 25th St., San Francisco, CA
  52. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #53
    Precita Ave. & Folsom St., San Francisco, CA
  53. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #54
    Castro St. & 30th St., San Francisco, CA
  54. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #55
    Mission St. & Richland Ave, San Francisco, CA
  55. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #56
    Industrial St. & Revere Ave., San Francisco, CA
  56. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #57
    3rd St. & Jerrold Ave., San Francisco, CA
  57. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #58
    Mission St. & Castle Manor Ave., San Francisco, CA
  58. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #59
    Brazil Ave. & Pr St., San Francisco, CA
  59. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #60
    Mansell St. & Dartmouth St., San Francisco, CA
  60. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #61
    3rd St. & Carroll Ave., San Francisco, CA
  61. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #62
    Ingalls St. & Quesada Ave., San Francisco, CA
  62. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #63
    Innes Ave. & Earl St., San Francisco, CA
  63. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #64
    Geneva Ave. & Moscow St., San Francisco, CA
  64. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #65
    Sunnydale Ave. & Hahn St., San Francisco, CA
  65. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #66
    Blanken Ave. & Tunnel Ave., San Francisco, CA
  66. Emergency Drinking Water Hydrant #67
    Jamestown Ave. & Harney Way, San Francisco, CA

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“Moon Gate” at the Burning Man Festival

"Moon Gate"

Moon gates symbolizing the full moon are common in classical Chinese buildings and gardens. For the 2012 Burning Man festival, I worked with nine other artists to design and build this 12-foot steel moon gate in San Francisco, then transport it in sections to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The gate is made of welded steel tubing, overlaid with a “skin” of steel perforated in patterns that create hypnotic moiré effects as they overlap. Scroll down to see more of these patterns, and some of my co-conspirators with the gate skeleton.

"Moon Gate" at sunset; moire patters; building the gate