Photography was a new medium when the San Francisco firm of Lawrence & Houseworth began documenting the early development of Northern California and Nevada in 1852. For over 40 years the company produced hundreds of vivid landscapes, portraits and stenographs.
Many of these images were preserved by L&H in three catalog albums used for print sales. Fortunately for present-day historians digital scans are now available online in a photo database maintained by the Society of California Pioneers.
You can easily find items in the nearly 1,500-image collection via keyword searching or browsing. Browsing categories include topics, such as mining and railroads, as well as places such as Nevada and San Francisco. Sacramento is tagged on some 55 images (but note: some of these refer to Sacramento St. in San Francisco.) Included are some remarkable pictures of the city's riverfront, bridges, streets and buildings.
Founded in 1850, the Society of California Pioneers is the state's oldest historical organization. Today the group functions as "a not-for-profit museum, library, and cultural organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge and appreciation of early California history for the benefit of present and future audiences of all ages."
PHOTO CREDIT: Sacramento City from the new Capitol Building, looking northwest -- the Sacramento River in the distance, circa 1860-70. Lawrence & Houseworth collection. Courtesy Society of California Pioneers