If you have any ancestors who lived along the central California coast from the mid-1800s to the end of the 20th century, you will want to check out a massive collection of photos placed online by California Views. Most of the images in their archives are from the central coastal region, especially in the Monterey district. However, they have added numerous other photos from other regions of California. In total some 81,900 photos are in their collection, but currently only a small portion, about 9,000, of those are presently online at their site. More are being placed online each month.
California Views with their historical photographs have made the images in their gallery very searchable names, locations or time periods. They have divided the photos into different categories. There are aerial shots, Spanish missions, panoramas, Big Sur, Native Indians, schools, Pacific beaches, industry, oil drilling, movie making, gold mining, military, transportation, San Francisco area, parks, Los Angeles along with some of the people who helped shaped the history of the state.
Now the site allows you to view any of the photos they have online and even enlarge them for better viewing. Each is marked with their logo across the image because they do offer copies of the images for sale. There are different prices depending on the size print requested.
For anyone with ties to the Monterey district they also have images of most of the residences besides government buildings, businesses, industries and shops over the decades. If there is a specific location or person you are looking for, they can be reached by email to see if they do have an image of what you are searching for. There might not be any other source for such a collection of historical photos.
The image above is from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, one of some 128 of that fateful event and its aftermath.