Back to the Future

240 Ways to See the San Francisco of Yore

None So, there was that little announcement this morning.

And while there’s something to be said for being an early adopter, it’s nice to be reminded of a time when nobody even knew what a smartphone was...

Welcome Time Shutter San Francisco, an augmented-reality, photo-based app that’s like a time-lapsed glimpse of iconic city landmarks as they were a century ago and how they are today, available now... on your iPhone.

Okay, so while we can see the irony in this scenario, we will point out that even Marty and Doc had to use modern-day technology for their experiment.

Basically, you’ll be able to pull up a Google map of the city marked with about 240 different photographs and illustrations of historic landmarks—the Presidio HQ, the de Young and City Hall, for example. With the turn-of-the-century image on the screen, you’ll tap the arrow button and it’ll scroll like a slideshow from the old shot to the present and back.

It’s hard to imagine a time when there was no Golden Gate Bridge, until you tap on image #226. Along with that vintage illustration, you’ll get some background history and nuggets of trivia to unleash at your next cocktail party—like that they had to create a special arch on the bridge so as not to have to demolish Fort Point.

If you want to immortalize each landmark on your own terms, you can physically go there and overlay your own photo over the antiquated shot, then upload the collage-like image on Facebook.

It’s no flux capacitor, but it’s a start...

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