Time travel is always fun, and Google Earth now makes it easy to do. The newest version includes a button that allows users to to view historical imagery to see how a place has changed through the decades.
I tried it out with San Francisco, where Google Earth offers views of the city dating back to 1946. Sometimes the changes are subtle, but at other times they are very stark.
The image at top, for example, shows SOMA and the original Bay Bridge approach on Fifth Street. Notice all the ships tied up at San Francisco’s then-active wharves.
Here’s the site of the former Seals Stadium, at 16th Street and Bryant, as it looked in 1946, before the elevated 101 freeway went in, and before it became today’s Potrero Safeway:
Here’s the Panhandle, with extensive redevelopment happening in Laurel Heights and the neighborhood just east of the University of San Francisco campus:
And here’s the former Southern Pacific rail yards, now home to AT&T Park and the emerging UCSF biomedical campus:
Have fun procrastinating.