These Newly-Discovered San Francisco Film Photos Will Take You Straight Back to the 1980s

From its colorful homes, to its blue-collar fishing past, to its charmingly-lit neighborhoods, San Francisco has always had a unique aesthetic.

Here at the Bay Area Telegraph, we love photographing San Francisco as it looks today. But we also love diving into the city’s past through historical analog film photos.

Recently, we discovered a small batch of stunning 35mm slides showing San Francisco, in full color, from the 1980s. They were bound for the landfill, but we were able to acquire, preserve and scan them.

They’re an amazing time capsule of a unique era in the city’s history. These shots will take you straight back to the 1980s!

Here’s how Fisherman’s Wharf looked at the time. Notice the iconic Fisherman’s Grotto restaurant.

Fishing boats moored at Fisherman’s Wharf with the storied Fishermen’s Grotto restaurant in the background, San Francisco, California, 1980.
Fishing boats moored at the docks of Fisherman’s Wharf with Fishermen’s Grotto restaurant in the background, San Francisco, California, 1980.

Several of the photos show architectural details highlighting San Francisco’s pastel-colored homes and its iconic Victorians.

Pastel-painted exterior with a double garage door and a single side door, showcasing residential architectural details, San Francisco, California, 1980.
Classic Victorian houses with iconic bay windows in San Francisco, California, 1975-1980 estimated.
Detail view of pastel colored San Francisco, California home, 1980.

San Francisco prides itself on being a city of neighborhoods. These newly-discovered film photos also capture small markets and street scenes around the city. The Pegasus food shop shown here persisted for decades after this photo was taken, but recently closed.

Street view of Pegasus Food Shop, a small neighborhood corner store with liquor signage, in San Francisco, California, 1980.
Street view of the “New Terrace Market” liquor store with vintage Coca-Cola signage, on a sloping street, San Francisco, California, 1980.
Street scene with pedestrians and a seated man on a green park bench, urban setting with brick buildings and storefronts, indicative of the 1980s fashion and urban design. 1985

We love sharing these kinds of historical film photos of San Francisco! We hope you enjoyed this little peek back in time.

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Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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