Ever wondered what the Castro neighborhood looked like from its early days when San Francisco was relatively young and unformed and how it transformed into what you see today? All answers revealed when you pick up the amazing book, Images of America, San Francisco’s Castro.
Written by famed Castro resident, Strange de Jim, in 2003 the book spans the neighborhood from 1860 before the arrival of the street car when cows idly graze on nearby hills keeping the Swedish, Irish and German immigrants settling in the area in milk and cheese through the turbulent 1990′s when the community rallied to combat AIDS.
Author Strange de Jim, 69, has been a fixture in the City since the 60′s using his wit and humor to carve an indelible mark upon the neighborhood and City that s garnered him worldwide attention through his books and contributions to the late Chronicle newspaper columnist of note, Herb Caen.
In addition to this brilliant photo history of the Castro he’s the author of Visioning (Ash-Kar Press, 1979), The Strange Experience (Ash-Kar Press, 1980), and Billions of Virgins in Ecstasy, the Memoirs of Strange de Jim (Ash-Kar Press, 2007).
This history about the Castro, arguably the most famous of all San Francisco neighborhoods, is an intimate walk through time and captures the feel of each era perfectly as a result of Mr. de Jim’s diligent and exhaustive research. He poured through multiple university archives, private collections, City records and enlisted the help of the GLBT Historical Society all who generously supplied information.
He spends a good deal of time looking at the Castro post Queer revolution when the neighborhood witnessed a massive influx of LGBT people all looking to live a life of freedom and equality. His first hand account of the rise of Harvey Milk, his murder, the riots that followed, the onset of AIDS and how the nieghborhood rose to combat it are exact in every detail.
The book is a treasure trove of information loaded with over 200 black and white pictures from every all big moment and every day common events in the neighborhoods timeline and peppered with Strange de Jim’s excellent humor and poignant observations.
You can pick the book up here from the publisher.