Today, I’m very excited to announce the launch of the Pastmapper app for iOS. It’s the result of collaboration with the hard-working team at DoubleDutch, and provides an easily-accessible way to explore the existing set of digitized city directory data entries. Now, from your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, you can now browse and check in to historical locations in San Francisco. For today’s launch, every bar and restaurant from 1966 San Francisco is listed, representing over 2000 entries. This is the start of a much larger effort, as additional years’ data will be added, along with entries from other cities and other business categories.

Powell Street, from Bullitt (1968)

By exploring and checking in to the locations in the Pastmapper app, you can reveal the historical layers of the city as you go through your daily routine. In the last week since I’ve been actively using it, I’ve been able to do a quick history scan wherever I go throughout the city. Meeting up with friends at Finnegan’s Wake in Cole Valley, I saw that in 1966, it had been a bar by another name, The Study. Stopping for a burrito at El Farolito in the Mission, I saw that in 1966, it was the Smile Awhile Tavern, as featured in this post by Burrito Justice. Today there’s a jewelry store at 236 Powell, but in 1966, 236 Powell was home to the Golden Pheasant restaurant. Watch this part of Bullitt (1968), and you might spot it.


There’s great potential for historical discovery here, and things will get even more exciting as the database grows to include more years.

Download the app from the Apple App Store here and find out how your neighborhood has changed. I’m eager for feedback, so let me know what you think.

Watch a video (featuring yours truly) explaining the app, on the DoubleDutch blog here.


July 19, 2012 – Added Oakland taverns, cocktail lounges, and restaurants, 1967

August 2, 2012 – Added Minneapolis restaurants, 1960

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  1. […] limited to San Francisco at two different times (1853 and 1914), but they have just released an iOS mobile app with 1966 San Francisco […]