Take a look at these amazing photos of San Francisco before the first tech boom

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Hundreds of people join hands across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in 1986, the same year IBM introduced its first laptop computer.
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Jim Gerberich/AP

These days, people think of San Francisco as a technology epicenter. But the City by the Bay has always had more to offer than splashy Apple events and overpriced apartment rentals.

In the ’80s and ’90s, the Grateful Dead played dozens of sold-out shows at the city’s Warfield venue. Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl championships, and the city rallied to aid and comfort those affected by the AIDS epidemic.

As investors, entrepreneurs, and CEOs continue to debate whether the tech industry is in a bubble – similar to the one dot-com companies experienced in the late ’90s – we decided to take a look back at a different time in San Francisco.


1982: San Francisco sports fans cheered on the San Francisco 49ers as the city’s most beloved team.


1982: People living in San Francisco in the ’80s won’t soon forget “The Catch,” when Dwight Clark made a winning touchdown reception off a pass from Joe Montana.

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49ers player Dwight Clark makes a winning touchdown reception at the NFC Championship Game between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers.
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Walter Iooss Jr./Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikipedia


1983: The AIDS crisis worsened, claiming the lives of thousands of San Franciscans before the decade was up. Survivors and allies rallied to provide aid and comfort to others.

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Timothy Hough, who is gay, holds up a candle during a march in San Francisco to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the death of Harvey Milk.
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Paul Sakuma/AP

Source: Gay Star News; San Francisco Chronicle


1984: A development boom known as “Manhattanization” replaced factories and warehouses with modern office buildings and high-rises. The city’s population flourished.

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Tourists view the city’s downtown center from the Twin Peaks overlook in San Francisco.
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Sal Veder/AP

1984: The median two-bedroom apartment set renters back $650 a month. Adjusted for inflation, that number rises to $1,505 — a steal in what is now the country’s most expensive rental market.

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Senator Gary Hart and his wife Lee take in the sights during a tour of San Francisco.
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Jack Smith/AP

1984: San Franciscans spearheaded both the recreational and medical marijuana movements.

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Two protesters take a drag on each other’s marijuana joints during a “taste-in” sponsored by the Northern California Marijuana Growers in San Francisco.
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Eric Risberg/AP

1984: Scenes like this became more common by the mid-80s as the technology industry gathered steam. Steve Jobs introduced the original Macintosh computer.

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Members of a local youth computer club try out keyboards of the new Apple IIC computer unveiled in San Francisco.
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Sal Veder)/AP

1985: A year later, Apple-branded seat cushions blanketed the stadium where the San Francisco 49ers faced off against the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX.


1986: Longtime public servants Dianne Feinstein and Willie Brown showed their city you don’t have to be a white male to rise to political office.

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San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein, left, and California Assembly speaker Willie Brown, center, hold hands during a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., march in downtown San Francisco.
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Paul Sakuma/AP

1987: The Gap started out with just one store on the city’s outskirts, selling records, tapes, and $7 pairs of Levi’s brand jeans. By now, the company began international expansion.

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People walk past a Gap store on Market Street in San Francisco.
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Tom Riggs/AP

Source: The New York Times; Gap, Inc.


1987: Nearly one million people marched across the Golden Gate Bridge to commemorate its 50th anniversary.

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A crowd estimated at 800,000 jams the deck of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, as a walk is kicked off to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the bridge.
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Doug Atkins/AP

Source: SF Gate


1987: The city’s homelessness problem became a full blown crisis as military veterans struggled to acclimate, cheap drugs became easy to find, and real estate prices climbed.

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A line of women forms outside St. Anthony’s Foundation in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District while waiting to be admitted into the women’s shelter for showers, hot meals, and mats to sleep on.
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Daniel Murphy/AP

Source: SF Gate


1988: “Before the 1980s, the only newspaper articles that mentioned ‘homeless’ in San Francisco were about earthquakes,” Fusion reporter Kashmir Hill writes.

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Vicki, who lives in a makeshift tent within sight of San Francisco’s City Hall, packs up clothes to take to the laundromat in San Francisco.
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David Weintraub/AP

Source: Fusion


1989: New startups popped up often and valuations soared. It was the precursor to a major bubble that some fear is doomed to repeat itself.

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Two people demonstrate the EyePhone system which uses special goggles and a “DataGlove” that allows them to see and move objects around in a virtual environment.
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Jeff Reinking/AP

1989: A 6.9-magnitude earthquake rocked Candlestick Park (and the rest of the Bay Area) as a World Series game between the A’s and the Giants got underway. The disaster leveled the Marina district.

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The Marina district became a disaster zone after the 1989 earthquake.
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Otto Greule Jr /Getty

Source: History.com


1994: Asian populations made up a majority of the immigration boom, as explosive job growth in Silicon Valley spilled into San Francisco and attracted top tech talent.

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A young visitor takes in the view from the top of the arched bridge in San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden located in Golden Gate Park.
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Matt Sumner/AP

1995: Grateful Dead fans congregated on the corner of Haight and Ashbury Streets in San Francisco to eulogize and celebrate the life of guitarist Jerry Garcia.

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Grateful Dead fans celebrate the life of guitarist Jerry Garcia, who died while under treatment at a drug rehabilitation facility in Novato, California.
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Lacy Atkins/AP

Source: University of Sydney, Australia


1996: California became the first state to legalize the medical use of marijuana for people with AIDS, cancer, and other illnesses.

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Dennis Peron, leader of the campaign for Proposition 215, smokes a marijuana joint in San Francisco.
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Andy Kuno/AP

1996: The San Francisco Symphony got a permanent home when the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall opened doors in 1980. It cost $28 million to build.

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San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. acknowledges the crowd’s applause at the Yerba Buena Gardens after conducting the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra during his inauguration ceremony in San Francisco.
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Eric Risberg/AP

San Francisco is ever-changing.

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Crowds jam Baker Beach in San Francisco to escape the 98 degree temperature.
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Eric Risberg/AP