Talk:National Register of Historic Places listings in San Francisco

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WikiProject National Register of Historic Places (Rated List-class, Mid-importance)
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Discussion moved from WP:NRHP Talk page to another page, now moved here[edit]

The following discussion happened mostly on the WP:NRHP Talk page, was moved to Wikipedia talk:WikiProject National Register of Historic Places/Photos of NRHP sites, and now I just moved it here. It mostly relates to San Francisco RHPs. Perhaps it will pick up where it left off. If it is no longer relevant, i suggest it can be moved into an archive attached here. doncram (talk)

All ... One of my WP hobbies over the past week has been to map all of the NRHP locations in San Francisco at Google Maps (if you care, here's a link to my map ... fair warning ... it will chew up some computer memory). My intention had been to make the rounds and photograph each location and then to post them on WikiCommons. But I now have such a headache from trying to understand what is and what is not permissible that I'm just about to give it up. Can someone here with some experience in this area tell me if I'm allowed to upload photos that I've taken. I've read over the recent discussion of plaques, so I know those are no-no's (although it's beyond me why since they're paid for by our tax dollars). What about the photos of the buildings I took today? Does it matter whether or not they're private property? What if there happen to be statues or other art objects in the photos?

Is the process really as onerous as it seems here? If I need a lawyer to upload my own photos to WP, I think I'll pass. Step 2 asks "can you point to a Wikipedia article that would benefit from this file's inclusion?" Does this mean I shouldn't upload a photo until I (or someone else) creates an article about the location?

Thanks in advance for any and all counsel. --Sanfranman59 (talk) 05:09, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for you interest and the work you have done. The process is much easier than it may seem. I'll try to parse the requirements
  • Step 1: Is it really your own work? If you took the photo of a building, bridge, pasture, whatever, it is your own work - no problem.
  • Step 2: Is it suitable here? All properties on the NRHP are notable and therefore suitable for recording and uploading - no problem.
  • Step 3: File format. Most people use jpg for typical pictures taken with a digital camera
  • Step 4: Uploading. Create a Wikimedia Commons account if you haven't already. Uploading is pretty easy; feel free to ask if you have troubles.
  • Step 5: Describing the file. I'd encourage you to spend more than the minimum required time to fully describe the subject of the photo. e.g. The Transamerica Pyramid, located at 600 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, USA, photographed on February 1, 2008 by Joe Smith from street-level on the corner of Jackson Street and Montgomery Street. (This is my personal preference; please don't feel dissuaded from the task if you don't want to give so much detail.)
  • Step 6: Choosing a license. Any of these would be fine:
    • {{self|GFDL|cc-by-sa-all}}: "Own work, copyleft, attribution required (Multi-license GFDL, all CC-BY-SA)"
    • {{self|GFDL|cc-by-3.0}}: "Own work, attribution required (GFDL, CC-BY 3.0)"
    • {{PD-self}}: "All rights released (Public domain)"
  • Step 7: Adding categories or galleries. There are certainly categories for San Francisco and NRHP. Don't worry - these can be fixed later if you subsequently find better categories.
  • Step 8: Use the file in Wikimedia. This should be easy for NHRPs. If an article exists for the site, you can add a photo to the article. If not, go ahead and add a thumbnail in List of Registered Historic Places in California. Then someone will be inspired to write an article about it and include your picture.
To answer your other questions, feel free to take pictures of public and private property from a street or sidewalk. Owners of nrhp are especially accustomed to people's interest in their property. Evidently even plaques are OK as long as they aren't the subject of the photo (which boggles my mind, but I'd encourage you not to worry about it). And if the plaque was erected by a branch of the U.S. government, you're absolutely fine. Artwork (statues and such) is OK if it was created before 1923. Newer artwork should be avoided, however I doubt if it's a problem if it is an incidental portion of the photo (e.g. the statuary in Image:DIAfront Detroit USA.jpg).

And WP:Be Bold. The worst thing you'll encounter is that your uploaded picture will be deleted. By the way, if you get a warning about an nrhp, put a note here, and we'll help oppose any unjust deletions. Thanks again, and I hope this helps.--Appraiser (talk) 14:57, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Nice advice by Appraiser. Second that we would respond to any notices of pending deletion, if that happened, but I also think that would be unlikely. The plaques deletion business was/is very dismaying to me and others, but really is an aberration. Besides that and some more-or-less-appropriate questions on whether fair use of a non-free image was justified, I have not seen other pic deletions for NRHP pics. I really hope you will upload your photos! Your Google map and list of the photos is great. Of those you mention, I note that pics for the following are needed for List of National Historic Landmarks in California and for the articles on each one:
  1. Alma (1891), for which we currently have 1 old pic, need new pics
  2. Aquatic Park Historic District, have 1 pic, need more
  3. Bank of Italy, have no pic
  4. Balclutha (1886), have some pics, can use others
  5. James C. Flood Mansion, have no pic
  6. Eureka (ferryboat), have partial pics, not a single one of the whole boat, more pics would be helpful
  7. C.A. Thayer (1895), have old pics and one undated color pic labelled "C.A.Thayer today" and labelled NPS asserted to be from a webpage that is not a valid URL. Need recent pics with dates included. The NPS pic may not be appropriate for wikipedia use; a self-taken pic with clear permission to use would be preferred.
  8. Hercules (1907), we have no pic
  9. SS Jeremiah O'Brien, we have some pics but could use better ones, the main one is very dark
  10. San Francisco Mint, we have old pics and 1 from 2007 labelled "today", need interior pics, other angles. Is it really an ugly place?
  11. Swedenborgian Church, we have no pic
  12. Wapama (steam schooner), we have no pic. Date on pics taken would help to pin down when it was/is in San Francisco vs. in Richmond, possible current location.
By the way, I am a firm believer that several pics are better to illustrate any article about an NRHP / NHL place. I am pretty excited to hear you have pics of the above NHL ones in particular. PLEASE upload and link into these articles, or upload and let us know so that we can link them. For ones that are NRHPs without articles yet, please let us know so we can start those articles.... Cheers, doncram (talk) 15:42, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for all the encouragement. After reading seemingly endless guidelines, policies and how-tos about uploading files to WikiCommons, I bit the bullet and uploaded this image to add to my first stab at an NRHP-related article. Since it was my first go at it, the process was a bit cumbersome, but I muddled through and think I'll find it much easier from here on out.
Unfortunately, Doncram, I don't yet have photos of each of the locations. In fact, yesterday marked my first foray into the field from which I returned with about 20 photos of 10 sites. The only site I visited on the list you so graciously provided was the Swedenborgian Church. The minister happened to be leaving just as I arrived and was kind enough to allow me to take some interior pictures. Among these are interior photos of the sanctuary, one of four William Keith murals (which I have now learned depict the subtle changing of the California seasons) and one of two circular stained-glass windows designed by Bruce Porter. Since Keith died before 1923 and I think the stained-glass went in when the building was erected (1895), I think they should pass muster. However, I seem to recall reading somewhere yesterday that exterior photos are generally okay, but maybe not interior photos. What's the scoop here?
I think I'll go ahead with uploading all of the pictures I took yesterday (except maybe the plaques, at least for now) and will take the suggesting of adding them as thumbnails to List of Registered Historic Places in San Francisco, California.
Good idea. It would be nice, further, if you would add your geocode info to that list, so that you can have the Google map display as an external link from that list-article, as is done in several of the NHL list-articles such as List of National Historic Landmarks in Minnesota. doncram (talk) 20:00, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
By the way, since First Methodist Episcopal Church (Massillon, Ohio) is my first NHRP-related article, I'd appreciate any feedback the regulars here might have. As of right now, it's the only article at Unassessed National Register of Historic Places articles and I've added it to this list. I didn't give it an assessment because it seems to me that that one shouldn't assess one's own work, but if it's preferred that users assess their own work on this project, I will do so as I become more familiar with the standards.
Thanks again to all for tutoring the newbie (and for making your way through this rather verbose message). --Sanfranman59 (talk) 17:59, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't recall a Wikipedia rule about exterior vs interior, but in the USA you can legally photograph almost any building (might be exceptions for military or port sites, and "building" does not include a privacy-violating telephoto shot through a window). In the USA one might not legally be able to enter a building (trespassing laws), although you do own copyright on photos taken anywhere. I recently took photographs on a sidewalk within a private university and I might technically have been trespassing although the campus is open to the street on all sides; if I were prosecuted for trespassing I'd have to pay a fine, but that does not affect my ownership of the photos. Being invited in or allowed to photograph does simplify matters. Keep in mind that while some churches have restrictions regarding non-members, most churches do allow entry by the public (although there may be restrictions on participation in a worship service by non-believers), and the church office staff is present during some daytime hours. If you're at a church during the day try stopping by the office and ask permission (at a minimum they then won't be concerned about hearing odd noises). I expect most will say to go ahead, and if there are restrictions they're likely to mention them. If you prearrange a visit with them you might find more assistance offered, which can be helpful because there are situations such as the original sanctuary appearing to be just a meeting room on the side of the complex. -- SEWilco (talk) 19:18, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Oh, rats about not having those pics yet, but glad u r on the case, and u see which are the ones I personally am most interested in (the NHLs). About the Swedenborgian Church, especially as you were let in to take those photos, i think it is okay to use the interior shots although if of artwork they could be challenged later. I myself am wondering about what kind of release form plus cover letter to take with me when I go visit any site to take pictures, in case i could get someone there to sign it on the spot, or so that I could leave it with someone to make the request to someone with the authority to follow up by postal mail later (or to follow instructions to use the on-line release ticket system). So that pics of plaques and pics of artwork would be covered properly. It might be easy to get releases signed upfront or by such proactive requests; it certainly is a pain/impossible to deal with later if/when a pic is challenged. doncram (talk) 20:00, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Can you suggest to the ORTS that they provide a printable form with instructions? I don't remember noticing one last time I looked. Then we could give such a form to someone and they would have instructions for granting permission. There are probably many small organizations who would like to donate information if they can figure out how to do so. -- SEWilco (talk) 21:28, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

I think your new article looks fine. In my opinion, it's OK to assess your own articles at either Start or Stub, but if someone later has a different opinion I wouldn't argue about it. I don't know anything about exterior vs. interior pictures. Bruce Porter lived until 1953, but there's overlap between architecture and art and I wouldn't hesitate to post photos of his stained glass; I'm sure photographs of them were published before 1923 anyway, which would put them in the public domain.--Appraiser (talk) 18:51, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

I just rated it Start, because the article seems higher than a Stub to me: all the information is sourced (from several references, all covered by in-line citations), it has NRHP infobox, it has a pic, it really meets the general criteria for a Start article that it provides a good start for any reader interested in the site. A really minor comment is that I would lose the blank line between the NRHP infobox and the text, so that the text of the article will be lined up with the infobox instead of starting below it. I agree with Appraiser you certainly can rate your own articles Stub or Start (technically anyone, yourself included can rate Stub or Start or B). I automatically rate all of mine as stubs to start, but mine are often more minimal than yours is now. I often have the official NRHP documents included as references, but I see those are not available on-line for this site. I usually do not have a pic and I usually don't have several other references like ur article does. Yours is certainly Start, IMO. Nice job, keep up the good work! doncram (talk) 19:32, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
For it to get a B-rating or higher, I personally would look for it to have use of the official NRHP documents and photo sets available for any NRHP site. I notice the Ohio Historic Preservation Office link states that a PDF of the NRHP registration document for the site can be obtained for $.50. You could get a hard copy for free by request to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places reference office, by email request to nr_reference at, provide ur postal mail address and expect an email reply telling u how long it will be before u receive the hard copy (i was told 2-3 weeks recently). doncram (talk) 19:32, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I sent an email to OHP last evening requesting PDFs of the registration docs for all of the Massillon, Ohio sites (in case it's not obvious by now, that's the town where I was born and raised). --Sanfranman59 (talk) 19:57, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Sanfranman, if you're feeling extra ambitious, you could check out the table that I've been adding to List of Registered Historic Places in Washington, and transfer it to the California list. One reason I really like this is it gives room for photos of all the site, instead of just as many as will fit on the side as thumbs. Good work so far! Murderbike (talk) 20:14, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I guess I'll post this here (although I'm not sure why this discussion was removed from the main talk page) ... I've made a bunch of progress on the San Francisco NRHP table in my user space and think it's pretty close to ready to replace the current list in the main space. Please take a look and see what you think.
I found old photos for 18 of the SF sites at the Library of Congress HABS/HAER "Built in America" website. I see that others have successfully uploaded photos from this collection at WikiCommons, so I assume that it should be safe for me to do also. If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know. I'll probably do the uploads tomorrow and add the photos to the table in my user space. By my count, there are 50 photos of 163 sites. If I add the ones I downloaded from the LOC site, I think we'll be up to 68. --Sanfranman59 (talk) 09:23, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
If the photos are from 1923 or before, they are public domain, and if they were taken by a federal government worker, they are public domain. beyond that, it gets more complicated. were these buildings that you couldn't get photos for? Murderbike (talk) 17:37, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
Aside from a few missing coordinates, and the need for summaries, it's looking pretty good. I would go ahead and move it. Though, one thing, I'm pretty sure that the Nightingale House is NOT on the register. It's definitely on the SF register, but this link just lists it as local, not National. I tried to google search to find any info saying it was on the national list and came up with nothing. Otherwise, good work SFM! Murderbike (talk) 17:46, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Nice work[edit]

Nice work, SanFranman, to have brought the list into table format and to have added so many pictures. The geo-coding that allows one to bring up Google map showing many if not all sites is especially great. doncram (talk) 07:37, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Naming convention for sites[edit]

The only naming convention that makes sense to me is to use the NRHP program name for a site, and to state that up front. In this list, some sites are named differently. E.g. the ship Eureka is given a helpful parenthetical explanation. To me that explanation should be in the description column not the site name. (Note, there are National Historic Landmark ships, and perhaps non-NHL ships, which do have parenthetical expressions as part of their NHL program names. So, in a list of NHL sites, it is appropriate to use those, consistently applying NHL program names for all sites in a list.) If the NRHP name is no longer the common name for a site, e.g. Farallone Islands rather than current common usage Farallon Islands, I think it is best to show the NRHP name here but link to the article under the common name. As done in most of the NHL list-article pages. doncram (talk) 07:37, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

New photos[edit]

Sanfranman -- Thanks for shooting and posting the new pics of the James C. Flood Mansion and of the Old United States Mint building. For the first we had no pic before; for the second I think for the latter your new pic replaced a pic of the new (wrong) building in the list-article here and in List of National Historic Landmarks in California. No wonder the pic in place could be ugly and yet an NHL, it was the wrong building. I updated the Old United States Mint (San Francisco) article to use the new pic of the old building, and also added NRHP text and photo set PDF documents. doncram (talk) 10:01, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Happy to contribute. The pic I replaced in both list articles actually is a photo of the Old Mint (in fact, I think it's the same one as is currently in the infobox of the San Francisco Mint article. I would think that we'll eventually want two San Francisco mint articles—one for the old mint and one for the new mint—since they're both NRHP buildings (although only the old mint is an NHL). Incidentally, I uploaded two other photos of the old mint and three others of the Flood Mansion in case you want to check them out. Maybe we could use different photos in the two list articles and/or the articles about the sites? Here's a link to my Commons gallery. --Sanfranman59 (talk) 01:53, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Photos needed[edit]

Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap · Google Maps
Download coordinates as: KML · GPX

Just 4 left - 3 might be archive search, 1 should be easy!

[1] Name on the Register[2] Image Date listed[3] Location Neighborhood Description
52 Frederick Griffings's (ship) Upload image February 1, 1982
Address Restricted
37°48′11″N 122°24′08″W / 37.803°N 122.4021°W / 37.803; -122.4021 (Frederick Griffings's (ship))
Fisherman's Wharf

84 KING PHILIP (ship) and REPORTER (schooner) Shipwreck Site Upload image May 8, 1986
Address Restricted
San Francisco King Philip and Reporter shipwreck sites.

93 The Lydia Upload image July 16, 1981
Address Restricted
San Francisco Whaling bark

169 U.S. Appraisers Stores and Immigration Station Upload image August 13, 2013
630 Sansome St.
37°47′47″N 122°24′06″W / 37.796278°N 122.401764°W / 37.796278; -122.401764 (U.S. Appraisers Stores and Immigration Station)
Financial District


  1. ^ Numbers represent an ordering by significant words. Various colorings, defined here, differentiate National Historic Landmarks and historic districts from other NRHP buildings, structures, sites or objects.
  2. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  3. ^ The eight-digit number below each date is the number assigned to each location in the National Register Information System database, which can be viewed by clicking the number.

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:National Register of Historic Places listings in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RMCD bot 06:17, 23 November 2016 (UTC)

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