This short film was made over a hundred years ago along Market Street in San Francisco.  It’s been known to historians for years, but was only recently digitally restored on high-definition videotape.  And the true date of filming was only recently discovered.

Based on the state of building construction, the Library of Congress had dated it to September, 1905.  But a modern day sleuth, using rain puddles in the film, early car registrations, and an old theater advertisement, was able to show it was actually made in April, 1906,  just a week before the devastating earthquake and fire.  And he was able to determine who made it.

Fascinating detective work went into solving the mystery of this equally fascinating piece of visual history.   It’s even more fun if you’re familiar with Market Street today.

Here’s a link to the complete story on the CBS News page.