Stanford University
CESTA
Animal City
Play
Animal City
This preliminary visualization offers a glimpse of how and where animals lived in nineteenth century San Francisco in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Using data from city directories, this time series shows where certain animal businesses listed their addresses from 1860 to 1900. Where did animals live in San Francisco? Do we see patterns and shifts in how city spaces were used as animal spaces? Do we see a growth in business offices downtown? Which decades show the biggest shifts in how animal businesses inhabited the city?

What emerges from these visualizations is a city full of animals, living and dead. But not all parts of the city were evenly inhabited. Dairies, for example, occupied almost entirely separate spaces as horse stables. Businesses involved in processing dead animals into products congregated in other parts of the city. While horses and cows shared little common space, sheep and cattle often shared many of the same spaces, if for a brief moment in their lives. San Francisco was not a singular or homogenous “Animal City,” but a series of animal spaces and zones that constituted multiple “Animal Cities.”

Click through to see how the animal zones of San Francisco changed over time.

Note: Business directories rarely published businesses owned by Chinese immigrants. While some records of Chinese businesses exist, the data is too sporadic and inconsistent to be included here. Chinatown is highlighted on the map to show this critical data gap and to recognize that Chinese owned animal businesses—-especially butchers and poultry dealers—-were important features of urban animal life.
RELATED VISUALIZATIONS:
Spatial History