Judith Lynch, well-known researcher, writer, and teacher on Victorian architecture, took thousands of 35mm color slides of San Francisco buildings in the 1970s, documenting styles, survivors, unsympathetic renovations, and successful restorations. With support from The Victorian Alliance of San Francisco, Western Neighborhoods Project is scanning and adding these images to OpenSFHistory.
With photographer Carol Olwell, Lynch created the influential book A Gift to the Street in 1976, authored Victoria's Legacy and American Victoriana, started San Francisco City Guides with Gladys Hansen, and was part of a movement to renew and increase appreciation of Victorian architecture in the city. Once described as "gothic horrors," demolished or heavily altered with stucco and asbestos shingles, the surviving Stick, Italianate, and Queen Anne buildings of the nineteenth century are now respected and admired as part of San Francisco's identity and charm. In these slides, Lynch captures the transition, with houses shown before and after work by the restoration firm of San Francisco Victoriana. The collection also documents details of buildings inside and out, the styles of local architects and builders, and provides an historical view of changes and renovations both unsympathetic and successful. Also seen in many of the more than four thousand slides are glimpses of neighborhood streetscapes, many starkly different in appearance today than in the 1970s.
Our great thanks to Judith Lynch for her generosity in allowing us to scan and post her photographs with the public, and to The Victorian Alliance of San Francisco for making this project possible with 2018 grants from its Victorian Alliance Preservation Trust Fund and Micki Ryan Education Trust Fund.
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