October 20, 2005

History of San Francisco

Dr. Frank J. Collazo



Introduction:  San Francisco, city in western California.  Famous for its beautiful setting, San Francisco is built on a series of steep hills located on the northern tip of a peninsula at the entrance to San Francisco Bay.  The bay and its extensions, which include San Pablo Bay and Suisun Bay, constitute one of the great natural harbors of the world, embracing nearly 1,200 sq km (more than 450 sq mi) of water.  Because of this, San Francisco was once the major Pacific Coast seaport of the United States.  Today the city is an important center for finance, technology, tourism, and culture.  The city was named after San Francisco Bay, which in turn was named for Saint Francis of Assisi by early Spanish explorers.


Coextensive with San Francisco County, the city of San Francisco is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the north by the strait known as the Golden Gate, on the east by San Francisco Bay, and on the south by San Bruno Mountain.  San Francisco’s boundaries extend north and east to include Alcatraz, Treasure, and Yerba Buena islands in San Francisco Bay, and to the west to the Farallon Islands, 52 km (32 mi) out in the Pacific Ocean.


The cool waters of the ocean and bay surround San Francisco on three sides, moderating the climate, which is characterized by mild, rainy winters and cool, dry summers. Average daily temperatures in the city range from 5° to 13°C (42° to 56°F) in January and from 12° to 22°C (54° to 72°F) in July.  September and October are the warmest months in the city.  San Francisco averages 500 mm (20 in) of rainfall per year, most of it coming between November and March.  Temperatures rarely fall below freezing and snow is uncommon, although San Francisco is well known for the thick blankets of fog that often cover the city in the summer.


History:  The Ohlone Indians, who lived in the coastal area between San Francisco Bay and Point Sur, first settled The San Francisco area at least 15,000 years ago.  They thrived in a region where abundant wildlife, native plants, and fish provided sustenance for their villages.  After the Spanish conquered the Aztec Empire in 1519, they slowly pushed their control to the west and north, discovering Baja California in 1533 and sending ships north along the coast in the 1540s.


In 1579, Sir Francis Drake and his crew arrived on the Golden Hind, and spent five weeks repairing the ship and meeting with the natives.  The Spanish found the entrance to the bay in 1769, and by 1776, the first colonizing party arrived to found the Presidio of San Francisco and Mission Dolores.  Although they named and claimed California, they did nothing to settle the region.  After Russia began sending expeditions into the northern Pacific in the mid-1700s, the governor of New Spain (which at that time included Spanish islands in the Caribbean, most of Central America, Mexico, and California) ordered settlements to reinforce Spain's territorial claims.

Before the arrival of the first Europeans, people whom the Spanish called Costeños, or “coast people” inhabited the Bay Area.  Subsequent anthropologists called them Costanoans.  They may have called themselves Ohlone.  There were probably 7,000 of these people in the Bay Area in the mid-1700s living in 70 to 80 small villages.  They hunted deer and small game, fished, and gathered seeds, acorns, and shellfish.  Huge mounds of shells marked the outskirts of their villages, testimony to the central place of shellfish in their diets and to the centuries they had lived there.


Although they named and claimed California, they did nothing to settle the region.  After Russia began sending expeditions into the northern Pacific in the mid-1700s, the governor of New Spain (which at that time included Spanish islands in the Caribbean, most of Central America, Mexico, and California) ordered settlements to reinforce Spain's territorial claims.


In 1776 a military outpost and mission were established near San Francisco Bay, which had been named for Saint Francis of Assisi by Spanish explorers several years earlier.

The Spanish military post, located toward the eastern part of what is now the Presidio, was intended to guard the entrance to the bay.  Although officially named for Saint Francis of Assisi, the mission was usually called Mission Dolores because of its location near the Laguna de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores (Lake of Our Lady of Sorrows).  Most of the Native American inhabitants of the region fled when the Spanish arrived. Throughout the history of Spanish San Francisco, the fort was a poorly supplied outpost on the remote reaches of the imperial frontier.


Spanish authority gave way to that of Mexico in the 1820s.  Under Mexican rule, large ranches were established, including several in what is now San Francisco.  Californios—as the Mexican residents of California were called—developed a brisk trade in cattle hides and tallow with ships from New England that increasingly appeared along the coast.  Since the 1790s the bay had also attracted other British and American ships that needed to replenish their supplies.


In 1835 the village of Yerba Buena was established to trade with the ships that came to the bay.  The population of the new village was ethnically diverse from the beginning. Residents included not only Californios, but also immigrants from other lands who had converted to Catholicism and became Mexican citizens to get land grants.  American policymakers had long eyed San Francisco Bay, and President Andrew Jackson tried unsuccessfully to buy the region from Mexico in 1835.


In 1846 the United States declared war on Mexico in a dispute over the Mexico-Texas border.  On July 9, 1846, soon after war was declared, the U.S. Navy ship Portsmouth entered the bay and claimed California for the United States.  Washington Bartlett, a lieutenant on the Portsmouth, took over as Yerba Buena’s alcade, a position similar to that of mayor.


A few months later, in January 1847, Bartlett changed the name from Yerba Buena to San Francisco, naming the town after the bay.  A bit more than a year later the little village, numbering some 800 people, heard the news that gold had been discovered in the California interior.


Gold Rush:  In January 1848, James W. Marshall, a carpenter building a sawmill in partnership with John A. Sutter in California’s Sacramento Valley discovered gold.  Sutter made his workers promise to keep the discovery a secret.  However, the news leaked out.  Within a few months, a shrewd merchant, hoping to increase his business, set off the gold rush in earnest.  Samuel Brannan, one of the early Mormon settlers in San Francisco, owned a store near Sutter’s fort.  In early May, he returned to San Francisco from a visit to the diggings and spread the word of gold.  Within a few days, boats filled with townspeople were heading up the Sacramento River to look for gold.  Brannan, of course, had stocked his store with mining supplies and was doing a thriving business. 


San Francisco soon was a ghost town, as almost everyone was off to the gold sites.  During the summer of 1848, the news spread up and down the West Coast, across the border to Mexico, and even to the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii).  Word also reached the Mississippi Valley and the Eastern states.  Newspapers were filled with the accounts of men who claimed to have become rich overnight by picking gold out of California’s wondrous earth.  Then, in a message to the Congress of the United States in December, President James K.  Polk confirmed the presence of gold in California.  That winter, people from all walks of life set out for California.  Many pawned their possessions to get there.  The gold seekers, also known as Forty-Niners or Argonauts, joined the rush from as far off as Europe and Australia.  Many Chinese also flocked to San Francisco to join in the gold rush.


Between 1848 and 1900 San Francisco experienced not only rapid population growth and economic development, but also patterns of politics that set it apart from the cities of the eastern United States.  Twice in the troubled 1850s the new community's businessmen formed Committees of Vigilance (see Vigilantes), aimed at what they considered serious lawlessness that the legal authorities seemed unable or unwilling to control.  The first committee hanged 4 men and banished 14; the second also hanged 4 and banished more than 30.


San Francisco was a tiny settlement before the Gold Rush of 1849.  Seemingly overnight, people streamed in from around the world to get to the gold fields.  The Gold Rush brought a wild, boisterous crowd.  Places like the Barbary Coast, a notorious saloon and red-light district along the piers, flourished.  The Gold Rush of 1849 quickly transformed northern California, including San Francisco.  Thousands of fortune seekers began to arrive, the first by ship early in 1849.  The village grew from 800 to 8,000 in a year, then to 35,000 by 1852.  By 1860 San Francisco had 57,000 residents and was the 15th largest city in the United States.


Post Gold Rush and Growth:  In 1869, the first westbound train arrived in San Francisco, and in 1870, San Francisco had become the tenth largest city in the United States.  A large Chinese population of laborers recruited in the 1840s and 1850's had settled there.  Irish immigrants settled into the Mission area and French, Italian, German, Russian, Australian, Jewish and many other nationalities contributed to the city's international flair.


After the rush was over, many prospectors returned from the gold fields and settled in the city, realizing that fortunes could be made just as well there.  Mercantile establishments, small industries, and shipping to the Orient brought prosperity to the newcomers.  San Francisco grew and attracted a colorful array of characters.  Famous writers such as Jack London, Ambrose Bierce, and Mark Twain congregated here, and John Muir began the Sierra Club here in 1892.


In a city of unique individuals, one particularly stood out--Emperor Norton.  Having lost his mind along with his fortune through a bad investment, he had proclaimed: "At the pre-emptory request of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last nine years and ten months past of San Francisco, California, declare and proclaim myself the Emperor of These United States."  For the rest of his life, the city complied with his edicts, many of which were quite sound.  When he died in 1880, between 10,000 and 30,000 people were reported to have attended his funeral.


San Francisco, the major Pacific Coast port, quickly became the region's commercial and financial center.  Gold poured into the vaults of San Francisco's banks, as did silver from Nevada after 1859.  The banks financed economic development throughout the West in the form of railroads, steamship lines, cattle ranches, iron foundries, mines, wineries, and other ventures.  San Francisco emerged as an important center of manufacturing.  Mining, banking, railroads, and other enterprises produced a host of wealthy entrepreneurs, many of whom built extravagant mansions atop Nob Hill.  By 1900 San Francisco was the ninth largest city in the nation.


The 1890s marked an era of reform in San Francisco city government, led by James D. Phelan, who won election as mayor in 1896 and pushed through a new city charter.  In 1901 the use of city police in a long and violent strike by teamsters and maritime workers produced a new political party, the Union Labor Party (ULP).  Pledging to keep city government neutral during labor disputes, the new party elected its candidate for mayor in 1901 and 1903 and swept most city offices in 1905.  The following year, the mayor and the majority of the members of the board of supervisors were indicted for corruption and were removed from office.


On April 18, 1906, an earthquake estimated at 7.7 to 7.9 on the Richter scale rocked San Francisco, killing hundreds of people as it destroyed buildings, toppled trees, twisted streets, and broke gas and water lines.  Fires broke out and developed into a firestorm. Without water, firefighters dynamited buildings to create a firebreak and stop the fire from spreading.  The last flames were not extinguished until April 21.  The earthquake and fire destroyed 28,000 buildings, including the homes of three-quarters of the city's population.  More than 3,000 people died in the earthquake and its aftermath.  The 1906 Earthquake and fire devastated the city.  But with its characteristic spirit, the city rebuilt itself--into a grander city than even before.  It was no surprise that it would conceive and execute the impossible--the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge--one of the world's longest suspension bridges-- over icy-cold, shark infested waters.  It has the highest bridge towers ever made.


Civic mindedness, a tolerant spirit, and openness have continued to be the characteristic of the people of the city.  After World War II, returning gay soldiers found a safe haven here.  The heart of the 60's movement in the Haight-Ashbury brought talents like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, and Janis Joplin.  Today, new waves of immigrants, particularly from Russia and Central America, are changing the face of the city.


San Franciscans quickly set about rebuilding their city.  Mayor James Rolph, elected in 1911 in the city's first nonpartisan election, led efforts to build a magnificent City Hall and Civic Center, the Municipal Railway, and a new city water system based on damming the Hetch Hetchy Valley in the Sierra Nevada.  As the rebuilding neared completion, civic leaders planned a great international exposition to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal and, unofficially, to demonstrate the city's phoenix-like recovery from the devastation of the earthquake and fire.  The Panama-Pacific International Exposition opened in February 1915.  Nineteen million visitors toured the exhibit grounds, which were built on former marshlands that had been filled for the exhibition. The grounds were later developed as a residential district known as the Marina.


During the first few years following the end of World War I (1914-1918), San Francisco employers launched an effort to break the power of unions, as did employers across the country.  Under the leadership first of the Chamber of Commerce and later of the Industrial Association, they broke some of the city's oldest unions, and they rendered others powerless throughout most of the 1920s.  As a result of the nationwide depression that began in 1929 and the reforms of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal beginning in 1933, labor organizations revived in San Francisco.


In 1934 the city was at the center of a three-month strike by longshoremen all along the Pacific Coast that shut down most shipping.  When the Industrial Association tried to open the port of San Francisco on July 5, using strikebreakers under police protection, a daylong battle broke out between strike supporters and police, leaving two strike supporters dead.  Governor Frank Merriam dispatched the National Guard, armed with tanks and machine guns, to guard against further violence, and in the process, to permit the reopening of the port using strikebreakers. 


In the meantime, union after union voted to join a general strike intended to shut down the city in protest against the killings and the use of the National Guard.  The general strike began on July 16 and lasted four days. Both sides claimed victory, but the strike forever changed labor practices along Pacific Coast waterfronts.  It also led to the creation of the International Alongshore and Warehouse Union in 1937.  By the late 1930s San Francisco was once again a highly unionized city. 


After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the United States joined World War II on the side of the Allies.  San Francisco became a major embarkation point for troops headed for the Pacific, and San Francisco Bay emerged as a major shipbuilding center.  Shipyards sprang up or expanded all around the bay, and by 1944 they were producing one-quarter of all the ships built in the United States. 


The population of the region boomed as employers desperately sought labor all across the nation.  For the first time, significant numbers of African Americans moved to San Francisco, drawn by the promise of work in shipyards or other war industries.  Although labor was in such great demand, the federal government ordered the evacuation and internment of all Japanese Americans in the Pacific Coast states, emptying San Francisco's Japan town.  At the end of the war, representatives of the 50 nations fighting against Germany, Japan, and Italy converged on San Francisco for the founding conference of the United Nations.


During the 1950s and 1960s San Francisco politics saw the slow emergence of a liberal political coalition that brought together organized labor, ethnic minorities, and entrepreneurs promoting urban growth.  This coalition laid the foundation for liberal domination of the city government from the mid-1960s onward, notably during the mayoral administration of Joseph Alioto from 1968 to 1976.  San Franciscans were horrified in 1978 when Alioto's successor, George Moscone, was assassinated along with Harvey Milk, the first openly homosexual member of the board of supervisors.  The assassin was Dan White, a former policeman and fireman who had been elected to the board of supervisors and who blamed Moscone and Milk for his political failures.  Dianne Feinstein succeeded Moscone as mayor and served until 1987.


A sustained downtown building boom of the 1960s and 1970s raised increasing concerns about the "Manhattanization" of San Francisco, and in 1986 the citizens voted to limit future high-rises.  The Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 produced significant damage in some parts of the city, caused part of the Bay Bridge to collapse, and destroyed a large section of freeway in Oakland.  Centered south of San Francisco, near Santa Cruz, the quake measured 7.1 on the Richter scale.  It killed 62 people and injured almost 4,000.

San Francisco gained a reputation in the 1950s for being tolerant of social and cultural groups that often met hostility elsewhere.


In the 1950s it was the beatniks who attracted attention (see Beat Generation), and in the 1960s it was the hippies.  Throughout both of these decades a growing gay and lesbian subculture had been developing that increasingly refused to accept discrimination.  In the 1970s the homosexual movement seized headlines with the election of Harvey Milk to the board of supervisors.  Changes in federal immigration laws in the 1960s encouraged substantial numbers of new immigrants, and the city's population rapidly became more diverse.


In 1995 Willie Brown became the city’s first black mayor; he was reelected in 1999. Early in the 21st century, San Francisco was well known not only for its beauty and culture, but also for its social and ethnic tolerance and diversity.


San Francisco Metropolitan Area:  San Francisco initially developed as a port city, and its early growth was centered on its waterfront.  Almost from the beginning, Market Street has been the central thoroughfare of downtown San Francisco, running from the Ferry Building in the center of the waterfront to the foot of Twin Peaks, a high hill near the city’s center.  The Ferry Building was for many years the city's most famous landmark.  Built between 1895 and 1903, it features a 72-m (235-ft) tower designed after a cathedral bell tower in Seville, Spain.


Running inland from the Ferry Building along Market Street and to its north is the Financial District.  Their modern skyscrapers such as the 48-story Transamerica Pyramid (completed in 1972) and the 52-story Bank of America building (completed in 1969) share the skyline with those from the early 20th century.  These skyscrapers house financial institutions, corporate headquarters, and professional offices.  West of the Financial District is a shopping district containing major department stores and specialty shops, many of them centered on Union Square.  West of Union Square, primarily along Geary Street, is a theater district.  Hotels are scattered throughout these last two areas.  To the west of these areas is the Tenderloin, a district of inexpensive hotels and low-rent apartments.


There are several distinctive communities north of Union Square.  Chinatown has been the center of San Francisco's Chinese community since the 1850s.  Its boundaries have expanded significantly since the 1960s, and it is currently one of the largest Chinese communities in the United States.  The neighborhoods built on Nob Hill and Russian Hill are generally affluent.  Most apartments and condominiums in these neighborhoods are expensive, and because the two hills are very steep, many of them have dramatic views of the bay.  Northeast of Russian Hill is North Beach.  Once home to many of the city's Italian immigrants and their children, the area is still known for its numerous Italian restaurants.  Just east of North Beach is Telegraph Hill, at the top of which stands Coit Memorial Tower.  The tower, a memorial to San Francisco’s fire fighters, is 64 m (210 ft) tall and houses several well-known murals.


Directly north of North Beach are Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, areas with many seafood restaurants and tourist-oriented businesses.  Nearby are Ghirardelli Square and the Cannery, both former industrial buildings that have been converted into fashionable shops and restaurants, and Hyde Street Pier, with its historic ships.


The area south of Market Street was once a region of warehouses, light manufacturing, and working-class residences.  Since the 1970s much of the warehousing and manufacturing has left the region, and some parts of it have been incorporated into the Financial District.  The South-of-Market, or SOMA, area also includes museums, an entertainment district, and artistic, high-tech, and multimedia enterprises.


Further south is the Mission District, an area that began to develop in the 1870s as a working-class residential area.  Retail shopping in the district is centered along Mission Street.  Once home to large numbers of Irish immigrants and their families, the Mission District now houses a vibrant Hispanic community drawn largely from Mexico and Central America.  To the west of the Mission District, concentrated along Castro Street, is one of the world's largest and best-known gay and lesbian communities.  Parts of the Mission and Castro districts include examples of the late-19th-century Victorian houses for which the city is famous.  Many of these houses have been renovated or restored since the 1970s.


The areas west of the city center were long undeveloped because San Francisco’s many hills blocked easy access to them.  In the relatively flat area just east of Golden Gate Park, however, the Haight-Ashbury section evolved as a middle- and upper-middle-class residential district between the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  In the 1960s it became a center for the hippie movement and then descended into drugs and decay. 


Since the late 1970s much of the area has been renovated, including many of its Victorian houses.  The Sunset District embraces most of the city west of Twin Peaks and south of Golden Gate Park.  Most of the district was built as a middle-class residential area with many single-family row houses (houses that have only a very small space between their side walls).  A large part of the Sunset District west of 19th Avenue was built up after World War II (1939-1945).  Most of the southwestern part of the city, which includes the Lakeshore and Park side districts and San Francisco State University was also developed after World War II. 


North of Golden Gate Park lies the Richmond District, an area much like the Sunset District but with more multiple-unit residences.  Since at least the mid-20th century, parts of the Richmond District have been home to a growing Russian community.  In addition, an area along Clement Street in the district emerged as a "New Chinatown" in the last part of the 20th century by virtue of its many Chinese-owned businesses.


Between the Richmond District and the Tenderloin lies the Western Addition built in the late 19th century as a middle- and upper-middle-class residential district.  As families began to move to the suburbs after World War I (1914-1918), the large Victorian houses in the area were divided into apartments.  During World War II the Western Addition became home to a large African American community.  In the 1950s and 1960s large sections of the area were raised for urban redevelopment.  More recently, many Victorian houses have been restored and renovated.  Two of the city's most exclusive neighborhoods, Pacific Heights and the Marina, are north of the Western Addition. Pacific Heights lies along a range of hills, and the Marina is situated between Pacific Heights and the bay.


Until the mid-1930s traveling by land from San Francisco to the eastern side of San Francisco Bay entailed a long journey down the peninsula and up the other side.  Travel by water was more efficient, and ferries plied the waters of the bay in all directions from the Ferry Building.  Directly across the bay, the cities of Berkeley and Oakland grew up as suburbs, home to many people who commuted to San Francisco by ferry.  San Mateo County developed to the south of San Francisco, largely as a series of residential suburbs. At the southern end of the bay, San Jose grew from a small farm town into a city that surpassed San Francisco in population in the 1980s.


Construction of two large suspension bridges in the 1930s tied San Francisco to the mainland, enabling many more people to live outside the city and commute to work.  The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which opened in 1936, connects San Francisco to the East Bay area.  The Golden Gate Bridge, probably the most widely recognized symbol of the city, opened in 1937.  It connects San Francisco to Marin County to the north, one of the wealthiest suburban areas in the nation.


With the construction of the Bay and Golden Gate bridges and other links from the city to its suburbs, the San Francisco Bay area has become one large metropolitan region.  San Francisco itself is only 122 sq km (47 sq mi) of land area, but the city’s Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (defined by the Census Bureau as San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin counties) has a total area of 4,665 sq km (1,801 sq mi).



San Francisco grew rapidly throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, increasing in population from 57,000 in 1860 to 417,000 in 1910.  Although the population leveled off during the 1930s, rapid growth resumed in the following decade, fed by the huge demand for labor by war industries during World War II.  By 1950 the population had reached 775,000.  After 1950 the city's population slowly declined as the surrounding suburbs grew.  In 2000 the population of San Francisco was 776,733.  Some 1.7 million people lived in the three-county San Francisco metropolitan area, and 7 million lived in the Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area defined by the Census Bureau as centered on San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose.


Throughout most of San Francisco's history, the city’s population was largely white. Among the residents were large numbers of European immigrants and their children.  In the late 19th century the largest groups in the city were Irish, German, and British.  In the early 20th century Italian and Scandinavian groups also became prominent.  The population remained more than 90 percent white until World War II, when significant numbers of African Americans moved to the Bay Area to take jobs in shipbuilding and other wartime industries.


The city has long been home to immigrants from Asia and people of Hispanic descent. Some of the ancestors of these residents moved to California in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when it was a Spanish or Mexican province.  Others arrived during the Gold Rush of 1849 or in the early 20th century.  With changes in federal immigration law in the 1960s, immigration from Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific Islands began to increase, and many newcomers from those regions settled in San Francisco.  Other recent immigrants have come from the Middle East and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, producing significant Arab and Russian communities within the city.  By the 1990s San Francisco's population was both racially and ethnically diverse.


According to the 2000 census, whites are 49.7 percent of the people, Asians, 30.8 percent, blacks, 7.8 percent, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, 0.5 percent, Native Americans, 0.4 percent, and people of mixed heritage or not reporting race, 10.8 percent.  Hispanics, who may be of any race, are 14.1 percent of the population.

From its beginnings, San Francisco has been a heavily Roman Catholic city.  Immigration from Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries brought many Catholics and a large Jewish community; subsequent immigration has not greatly changed those patterns.  Smaller religious groups include various Protestant denominations (including many that conduct services in an Asian language or in Spanish), as well as Buddhists, Muslims, and members of Orthodox churches.


Education and Culture:  San Francisco is an important center for higher education and culture.  The largest university in the city, San Francisco State University, is part of the California State University system.  It had an enrollment of more than 27,000 students in 1998, almost one-quarter of them at the graduate level.  Other important schools are the University of California at San Francisco, which is a well-known medical school and medical research center; Golden Gate University; and the University of San Francisco, a Jesuit institution.  City College of San Francisco is one of the nation's largest community colleges.  It had a total enrollment of more than 90,000 students a year in the late 1990s. San Francisco is also home to several institutions of higher education that specialize in the arts, including the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a satellite campus of the California College of Arts and Crafts.


San Francisco has a wide variety of cultural institutions.  The San Francisco Opera, which plays at the War Memorial Opera House in the Civic Center, features well-known artists.  The internationally acclaimed San Francisco Symphony plays in nearby Davies Symphony Hall.  The San Francisco Ballet, which also performs at the Opera House, is the oldest professional ballet company in the United States and has established a strong national reputation.  A wide range of other music is performed at various halls and clubs. San Francisco musicians made important contributions to jazz, primarily following World War II, and to rock music, especially in the 1960s when groups such as the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead defined a San Francisco sound.  The American Conservatory Theater, whose home is the Geary Theater, is probably the best known of a number of theater companies.  The company’s performances range from lavish Broadway-type productions to experimental theater.


San Francisco is home to many important museums.  The M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, in Golden Gate Park, specializes in American art. The California Palace of the Legion of Honor, in Lincoln Park, is known for its collection of European art.  The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco is one of the largest museums in the world devoted to the arts and cultures of Asia.  Currently located in Golden Gate Park, the museum is scheduled to move to the Civic Center downtown in 2001.


In 1995 the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art moved into a dramatic new building designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta.  The building is one of the largest structures in the United States devoted to modern art. The area around the museum is rapidly developing into a major cultural center and includes the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the California Historical Society, and the Ansel Adams Center for Photography.

The Mexican Museum, which houses a collection of Mexican folk art, is one of four museums located in Fort Mason Center, northwest of downtown on San Francisco Bay. The center is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  The other three are the gallery of the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society, which exhibits African-American materials; the San Francisco Craft and Folk Art Museum, with extensive exhibits of craft and folk are from many different cultural backgrounds; and the Museo ItaloAmericano, which displays Italian and Italian American art.


The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park is one of the largest museums of natural history in the world.  The Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, also in Golden Gate Park, is a living museum of plants.  The Exploratorium, housed in the Palace of Fine Arts in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is an innovative science museum that features hands-on exhibits.


Several San Francisco museums offer exhibits on the rich history of the city and the West.  The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, located at the west end of Fisherman’s Wharf, includes exhibits, a fleet of historic ships at the Hyde Street Pier, a library, and an archive.  The Fort Point National Historic Site is a Civil War-era fort under the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge.  The Presidio, a former military post on the northern edge of the city, is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  It includes several historical sites as well as wooded open space. 


Mission Dolores, located in the Mission District, dates from the earliest Spanish occupation of the Bay Area.  The California Historical Society provides exhibits, a library, and a large research archive.  Other important research collections are to be found at the University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco State University, the University of San Francisco, the San Francisco Public Library, the National Archives branch in San Bruno, and the Sutro Library, a branch of the California State Library.


The diversity of San Francisco’s population is reflected in the large number of cultural organizations devoted to particular groups, such as the Chinese Historical Society and the Irish Cultural Center.  Many groups sponsor annual parades or festivals in conjunction with ethnic holidays, including Chinese New Year (January or February), Saint Patrick's Day (March), and the Italian Heritage Parade and Festival (October).  Carnival, a Mission District parade and celebration that includes many groups, especially Hispanics, is held in May.  The Juneteenth festival in June features a parade celebrating African American heritage.  Other major festivals include the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Pride Celebration Parade (June) and Fleet Week, which takes place during a visit by U.S. naval vessels in autumn.


Recreation:  In addition to its important cultural resources, San Francisco has many recreational and entertainment attractions.  Golden Gate Park is one of nation's great urban parks, stretching for 5 km (3 mi) between the Sunset and Richmond districts. Established in 1870, it houses the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and Strybing Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.  The park also features the famous Japanese Tea Garden (dating from 1894) and elaborate landscaping and plantings.  The AIDS Memorial Grove, a 6-hectare (15-acre) wooded area of the park, was designated in 1996 as a national landmark to memorialize victims of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).  Other parks in San Francisco range from tiny squares of green in the midst of apartment buildings to the large open spaces of McLaren, Buena Vista, and Lincoln parks.  None of the city's other parks can match Golden Gate Park in size or facilities, however.


In 1972 the U.S. government created the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  It now includes some 30,277 hectares (74,816 acres) of land and water embracing city, county, state, and federal parklands in three counties.  Far larger than the city of San Francisco, the recreation area is the largest urban national park in the world. Nearly 20 million visitors visit the park each year, making it one of the most popular federal recreational facilities.  Among its attractions are Muir Woods National Monument, which is located north of the Golden Gate on the coast and features old-growth redwood trees; Alcatraz Island, which is an abandoned federal penitentiary that once held gangster Al Capone; and many beaches.


The San Francisco 49ers, the city's professional football team, play in the Stadium at Candlestick Point in the southeast corner of the city.  The San Francisco Giants, the city's professional baseball team, play in Pacific Bell Park, which is located near downtown San Francisco just south of the Bay Bridge.


Economy:  San Francisco emerged as an important shipping and manufacturing center during the mid-19th century, when the Gold Rush of 1849 brought wealth to the area and caused the city’s population to skyrocket.  For more than 100 years, the city’s economy was centered on its waterfront.  Products from California and the West were loaded onto ships bound for the eastern United States or other parts of the world, and goods from the eastern United States, Europe, Hawaii, Japan, and around the Pacific were unloaded.  The city became an important center of manufacturing, producing sugar, canned fruits and vegetables, flour, beer, printed goods, clothing, and furniture.  San Francisco’s foundries and machine shops made a variety of metal products, including locomotives, large-scale farm equipment, ships, and some of the world’s most advanced mining equipment.


The importance of the port in San Francisco’s economy has declined, especially since the advent of containerized shipping in the 1960s and 1970s.  Around that time most traffic moved to other ports because San Francisco did not have sufficient space for the large open areas required for a container port.  Oakland is now the major port in the Bay Area. A similar transformation occurred after World War II in San Francisco's manufacturing sector, as many companies moved their operations to less expensive locations.  As a result, manufacturing is of limited importance in the city today. 


The remaining major industries include food processing, clothing manufacturing, and printing and publishing.  Though its importance as a shipping and manufacturing center has declined, San Francisco has remained a leading financial and business center.  The Federal Reserve Bank for the 12th District and the headquarters of Wells Fargo and Company are in San Francisco. 


Corporate headquarters for a variety of companies, including some of the world's leaders in their fields, are also located here, notably the construction company Bechtel and apparel manufacturer Levi Strauss and Company.  Commerce and tourism are other important economic activities.  By the 1990s the largest proportion of the city’s workforce was classified as service sector, accounting for 88.5 percent of the total and embracing a wide variety of occupations, from bank presidents to janitors.  Among those in the service sector, finance, insurance, and real estate accounted for about one-eighth of the workforce, and roughly two workers in five were employed in either the hotel and restaurant industry or in business services.


In the second half of the 20th century the region south from San Francisco to San Jose acquired the name Silicon Valley as a tribute to its key role in the emergence of the personal computer, software, biotechnology, and other high-technology industries. Important hardware and software innovators developed there, including Apple Computer, Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, Netscape Communications Corporation, and 3Com Corporation, along with biotechnology leaders such as Genentech, Inc. 


These developments just down the peninsula had a major impact on San Francisco as well.  During the 1990s, one part of the South-of-Market area became home to so many multimedia companies that it acquired the nickname Multimedia Gulch.  In addition, venture capital firms specializing in high-technology start-up companies have located in San Francisco as well as in Silicon Valley.


For much of the 20th century, San Francisco had a reputation for being a place where, in the words of a journalist in 1904, "unionism holds undisputed sway."  However, changes in the city's economy have greatly reduced the numbers of workers in unionized manufacturing or maritime jobs.  In the 1970s unionization increased among teachers, health-care workers, and public employees, but the overall proportion of union members in the workforce has declined.


The city of San Francisco has had a highly developed system of public transit since its early years.  The cable car was invented in San Francisco in 1873 as a way to provide efficient transportation on the city's steep hills.  Cables that run underneath the streets pull cable cars along.  In the early 20th century, privately owned streetcar lines served nearly every neighborhood in the city. 


In 1912 the city launched its first municipally owned streetcar line—also the first in any major city—marking the beginning of the Municipal Railway, known as the Muni. Eventually the Muni bought out the privately owned lines and merged them into its system.  The Muni now operates a variety of electric streetcars (both modern light-rail vehicles and vintage streetcars from the 1930s), cable cars, electric trolley buses, and diesel buses.  With some 216 million riders each year, the Muni is one of the largest transit systems in the nation.  More than a third of San Francisco’s workforce commutes using public transit.


In 1972 the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART), a light-rail system that ties the East Bay to San Francisco via a tunnel underneath San Francisco Bay, opened. BART now carries more than 75 million passengers annually.  Cal Train, a rail line that connects San Francisco and the suburbs to its south, carries some 8 million passengers each year.  The bay area is also served by San Francisco International Airport, one of the busiest in the nation.


Government:  San Francisco has been the only combined city and county government in California since 1856.  Legislative powers are vested in an 11-member board of supervisors, which acts as both city council and county board.  The supervisors are popularly elected to four-year terms.  They were elected at-large until 2000; that year, under a revision to the city’s charter, 11 districts were created for the purpose of supervisor’s elections.  The supervisors serve overlapping terms, with five or six elected every two years.  The candidate who receives the largest number of votes becomes the presiding officer of the board for the next two years and has the power to appoint committees and set agendas.  Supervisors are limited to two terms.  


The mayor is popularly elected to a four-year term.  He or she appoints a broad range of city officials, including the city administrator, the controller, and members of commissions and boards.  The mayor prepares an annual budget for submission to the board of supervisors and can veto items approved by the board.  The mayor is limited to two terms.


The city administrator serves a five-year term and is responsible for administrative services, waste disposal, and public works.  The controller, who serves a ten-year term, is the city's chief fiscal officer, responsible for disbursing funds and auditing departmental finances.  Commissions are responsible for matters such as supervising the airport, city planning, the fire and police departments, parks and recreational facilities, the port and waterfront, public housing, the public library, public transportation, public utilities, and social services.


San Francisco is a part of several regional governmental bodies.  Established in the 1950s, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) district includes Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties and is responsible for the BART system.  The Association of Bay Area Governments was established in 1961 as the official planning agency for the Bay Area, covering some 100 cities and nine counties.  The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission regulates developments along San Francisco Bay.  The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, which includes San Francisco and five counties to its north, manages the Golden Gate Bridge and runs ferry and bus systems designed to reduce automobile traffic over the bridge.  The San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District takes in all of the seven counties that border the bay and parts of two more.  Its aim is to reduce air pollution.


Contemporary Issues


Bay Area Rapid Transit System:  The people of San Francisco can take pride in their city's accomplishments.  San Franciscans, and in some cases their counterparts in the Bay Area, have successfully undertaken mammoth construction projects such as the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Bay Area Rapid Transit system.  Since at least the 1950s, San Franciscans have also earned a reputation for tolerance of and respect for diversity.  Despite such accomplishments, the city faces both infrastructure and social problems.


During the late 1990s the greatest problem in San Francisco’s infrastructure was the Municipal Railway.  Proportionately more San Franciscans rely on public transportation than do the people in any other California city, but riders complained of serious delays and overcrowding.  Some improvements were underway by 1999, and in that year city voters also approved major changes in the organizational structure of the city’s transportation departments.


Homeless:  The most serious social problems facing the city are not unique to San Francisco, but some have taken on greater dimensions in the city than they have elsewhere.  One such problem is homelessness.  During the administration of Mayor Art Agnos from 1988 to 1992, the plaza in front of city hall became an encampment for homeless people, rendering other use impossible and raising public health concerns. Agnos's political opponents dubbed it "Camp Agnos," and the situation contributed to Agnos's defeat in 1991.  The problem of homelessness persists despite the efforts of city agencies and private charities to provide shelter, health care, and drug, alcohol, and mental health treatment. 


In the mid- and late 1990s mayors Frank Jordan and Willie Brown both sought to discourage homeless people from living in public space in the downtown area and, in Brown's case, in Golden Gate Park.  However, residents of other areas complained that because of these projects, the displaced homeless had moved into their neighborhoods.


Other Social Problems:  In other areas the city has made some progress toward addressing social problems.  As was true across much of the nation, the crime rate in San Francisco dropped in the 1990s, as did the rate of drug-related violence.  In addition, some public housing projects in San Francisco that were especially prone to violence and drug-related activity were razed and rebuilt with designs considered less likely to encourage those activities.  Other public housing projects received stepped-up security patrols.


Some social critics have pointed to an increasing economic and social polarization of San Francisco's population.  Those who work in finance or high-tech fields are increasingly affluent, pushing rents and home prices to among the highest levels in the nation.  At the same time, people who labor in the service sector often work for minimum wage, cannot share the affluent lifestyles around them, and are hard-pressed to afford rising rents.  The disappearance of many unionized jobs in manufacturing and on the waterfront may have contributed to a reduction in opportunities for well-paying jobs for those without college degrees.  This economic polarization coincides in part with ethnic and educational patterns.  Workers in the low-wage end of the service sector (including many hotel and restaurant workers and many business service workers) are likely to have limited English proficiency and a high-school education or less; many workers in those areas are also disproportionately African American and Hispanic.  By contrast, those people who work in the finance and high-tech sectors are more likely to be white or Asian American and to have one or more college degrees.


Alcatraz:  Alcatraz Island, western California, in San Francisco Bay, near San Francisco. It rises 40 m (130 ft) above the surface of the bay and is 535 m (1,755 ft) long.  Spanish Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala explored the island in 1755; he named it Isla de los Alcatraces (Isle of the Pelicans), after the large pelican population there.  The United States Department of Justice used the island as a military prison from 1868 until 1933, when it became a federal prison for dangerous prisoners.  The prison was closed in 1963.


In 1969 a group of Native Americans occupied the island in an effort to win recognition of their claim to the island.  The Native Americans were forced off the island in 1971. In 1972 Alcatraz became part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  Former maximum-security federal penitentiary that held such notorious criminals such as Al Capone, "Creepy" Carpis, and Robert Stroud, the "Birdman of Alcatraz."  Closed since 1963 due to the high cost of maintenance, it was reopened in 1972 as a recreation area with a self-guiding trail, cellblock tour, slide show and ranger programs.


Golden Gate:  Golden Gate, strait in western California, at the entrance to San Francisco Bay, separating the bay from the Pacific Ocean.  This high level suspension bridge is the quintessential symbol of San Francisco.  Walk (dress warmly) or bike across its 3-mile arc connecting San Francisco with Hwy 101.  Watch speed limit--traffic fines doubled on bridge.


The strait is 8 km (5 mi) long and narrows to 1 km (0.6 mi) in width.  The famous Golden Gate Bridge crosses the strait to connect San Francisco, on the south, with Marin County, on the north.  Although the English explorer Sir Francis Drake visited the region of San Francisco Bay in 1579 and a scout for the Spanish colonial governor Gaspar de Portolá may have explored as far as the Golden Gate in 1769, the first Europeans known with certainty to have seen it were a party of soldiers sent by Portolá in 1772.  The American explorer John Charles Frémont gave the strait the name Golden Gate in 1846.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, established in 1972 by the National Park Service, extends north and south of the Golden Gate and also includes Alcatraz and Angel islands, and the Presidio of San Francisco.


San Francisco-Oakland Bridge:  Construction of two large suspension bridges in the 1930s tied San Francisco to the mainland, enabling many more people to live outside the city and commute to work.  The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which opened in 1936, connects San Francisco to the East Bay area.  The Golden Gate Bridge, probably the most widely recognized symbol of the city, opened in 1937.  It connects San Francisco to Marin County to the north, one of the wealthiest suburban areas in the nation.  With the construction of the Bay and Golden Gate bridges and other links from the city to its suburbs, the San Francisco Bay area has become one large metropolitan region. San Francisco itself is only 122 sq km (47 sq mi) of land area, but the city’s Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (defined by the Census Bureau as San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin counties) has a total area of 4,665 sq km (1,801 sq mi).

Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.


Across the northern arm of San Francisco Bay, between Richmond and San Rafael, construction of a 4-mile-long bridge was begun in March 1953.  This $62 million highway toll structure will replace a ferry, which has become progressively less adequate as automobile traffic has grown.  It will provide for 3-lanes of traffic on each of its two decks.  The principal features of this crossing are two identical, but separate, steel cantilever spans of 1,070 ft. providing 135 and 185 ft. of clearance over two navigation channels.  The remainder of the bridge will consist of 36 identical steel truss spans of 289 ft. and 38 identical steel girder spans. 


Provision for completing the lower deck of the bridge when traffic requires it is being incorporated in the design at estimated cost of an additional $10 million.  Water depth and the soft character of the mud on the bottom of the Bay convinced the designers of the California Toll Bridge Authority that the bridge piers should be founded on piles driven under water, supporting a bell-bottom concrete pier, a type of pier first developed for bridge piers in the deep waters of the Potomac River.


Golden Gate National Recreation Area:  Golden Gate National Recreation Area, 1972.  Located in northwestern California, adjacent to the city of San Francisco, the park stretches for 45 km (28 mi) along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, and includes beaches and inland areas both north and south of the strait known as the Golden Gate, which is the entrance to San Francisco Bay.  The island of Alcatraz, once the site of a high-security prison, is also a part of the park. 


Fort Mason, a cultural arts center, contains a number of museums.  Fishing, hiking, hang gliding, camping, and exploration of the area’s historical sites are among the varied activities here.  In 1994 the Presidio of San Francisco, a military fort dating back to 1776, became part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  This addition, totaling 600 hectares (1,500 acres), added greatly to the historical and recreational value of the park.  The Presidio, administered by a trust established in 1996, contains many old buildings, fortifications, and a golf course.  Area, 30,277 hectares (74,816 acres).


Fort Point National Historic Site:  Fort Point National Historic Site, national historic site established in 1970.  Located in San Francisco, California, Fort Point is beneath the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  The United States Army between 1853 and 1861 on the site of an Old Spanish fort called Castillo de Joaquín built the brick and granite fort.  Armed with 126 cannons, the fort was prepared for use during the American Civil War (1861-1865).  The San Francisco coast never came under attack and the cannons were never used in battle.  The fort was taken out of service in 1886 and the cannons were removed by 1900.  During the 1930s the fort served as a base of operations during construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. 


Soldiers were posted here as lookouts during World War II (1939-1945) to guard the submarine net protecting the entrance to San Francisco Bay.  The park includes a number of exhibits on U.S. military history and is administered by the National Park Service.  Area, 12 hectares (29 acres).


San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park:  San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park established in 1988.  Located in San Francisco, California, the park preserves vessels associated with the maritime history of the Pacific Coast.  It includes the National Maritime Museum, a maritime library, and an extensive collection of ship plans and photographs.  Historic vessels, many from the 19th century, include a square-rigged sailing ship, a variety of schooners, a ferry, a steam tug, a paddle-wheel tug, and many smaller craft.  The World War II Liberty Ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien is also moored here.  Administered by the National Park Service.  Area, 13 hectares (31 acres).


Museum of Modern Art:  Among modern art museums in the United States, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City has an unequaled collection representing every school of art from the late 19th through the 20th century.  The museum was the first to collect examples in diverse media such as photography, film, video, and design. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is as renowned for its architecture as for its masterpieces of modern and contemporary art.  Other notable modern art museums include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.


The Art Institutes International at San Francisco:  Private, coeducational institution in San Francisco, California.  The school was founded in 1939 as the Louise Salinger Academy of Fashion in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Ten years later the school opened a branch in San Francisco, California.  In 1952 the Pittsburgh location closed.  The Art Institutes International, a nationwide consortium of colleges, purchased the Louise Salinger Academy of Fashion in 1997.  It is now called The Art Institutes International at San Francisco.  The school confers associate and bachelor’s degrees in a variety of fashion-related fields.  Courses of study include fashion design and technology, fashion merchandising, textiles and clothing, and marketing, retailing, and merchandising.


San Francisco Art Institute:  San Francisco Art Institute, private, coeducational institution in San Francisco, California.  The school was founded in 1871.  The institute confers bachelors and master’s degrees in the fine arts.  It offers courses of study in the fine arts, studio arts, photography, film studies, and ceramic arts.  Notable alumni include photographer Annie Leibovitz.


Bank of America History:  The massive Bank of America traces its roots to the Bank of Italy, known as the “little fellows bank,” founded by A. P. Giannini in 1904.  Giannini, a produce merchant in San Francisco, inherited a seat on the board of directors of a savings bank in the city’s Italian neighborhood from his father-in-law.  Believing that the local banks excluded working-class consumers seeking smaller loans, Giannini resigned from the board and opened his own bank.  By making loans as small as $25, selling stock to a small group of loyal investors, and going door-to-door to solicit customers, Giannini launched what became the first network of branch banks serving local communities in San Francisco. 


After the devastating earthquake and fire that struck San Francisco in 1906, Giannini’s bank was the first to open for business.  Three years later Bank of Italy purchased San Jose Bank, beginning a process of acquisitions and expansion.  By 1918, the Bank of Italy had 24 branches.  In 1921 Giannini purchased the Bank of America of Los Angeles, with its 21 branches.  In this way Giannini sidestepped the order of the Federal Reserve Board prohibiting member banks from opening new branches (see Federal Reserve System). 


After the U.S. Congress relaxed the restrictions on branch banking in 1927, Giannini established Bank of America branches in several western states.  In 1928 Giannini formed the Transamerica holding company.  In 1930, under the Transamerica umbrella, he consolidated Bank of Italy and Bank of America as the Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association.  Giannini retired and traveled to Europe in 1931, but he returned to regain control of Transamerica that same year after he learned that his successor had begun selling off the company’s assets. 


Bank of America survived the Great Depression of the 1930s, when massive unemployment led to reduced deposits and large numbers of unpaid loans, and by 1936 ranked as the fourth largest financial institution and the second largest savings bank in the United States, with assets exceeding $2.1 billion.  In the wake of the nation’s banking system crisis during the depression, in 1937 the federal government forced Transamerica to divest (sell) its majority interest in Bank of America.


High Technology Research:  Factories in the United States build millions of computers, and the United States occupies second place in the world in the production of electronic components (semiconductors, microprocessors, and computer equipment).  Electronic equipment accounted for 10.5 percent of the yearly value added by manufacturing, and it was one of the fastest growing manufacturing sectors during the 1990s; production of electronics and electric equipment increased by 77 percent from 1987 to 1994. 


High-technology research and production facilities have developed in the Silicon Valley of California, south of San Francisco; the area surrounding Boston; the Research Triangle of Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham in North Carolina; and the area around Austin, Texas. In addition, the United States has world leadership in the development and production of computer software.  Leading software producers are located in areas around Seattle, Washington; Boston, Massachusetts; and San Francisco, California.


Charter of the United Nations:  In 1945 representatives from 50 nations met in San Francisco, California, and drafted the Charter of the United Nations (UN).  The so-called San Francisco Conference recognized the failure of the League of Nations, the UN’s predecessor, to contain the conflicts that led to World War II (1939-1945).  The conference sought to create an organization that could represent all of the world’s nations and deal effectively with a broad range of issues.  The charter provides the framework for the UN, which continues to work toward its primary goal of maintaining world peace.


Physiology or Medicine:  The Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine went to two cancer researchers at the University of California Medical School in San Francisco, J. Michael Bishop and Harold E. Varmus, for the discovery that normal cells contain genes that can be cancer-causing if they malfunction.  In the early 1970s some cancer researchers had theorized that viral genes, thought to be present in normal cells and to be provoked into triggering cancer by carcinogens, caused cancer.  But Bishop and Varmus demonstrated through their experiments that normal genes that have essential functions such as cell growth can malfunction by themselves and become cancer causing.  When carcinogens, radiation, or viruses damage them, such genes — known as proto-oncogenes — can spark the development of cancer. 


The two researchers' findings have opened up new avenues in cancer research; the genes, Bishop was quoted as saying, "are important in the hypothesis that there is a final common pathway in causing cancer."  The choice for this year's prize, provoked some controversy.  A French scientist, Dr. Dominique Stehelin of the Pasteur Institute in Lille, France, objected to having been left out of the award, arguing that he had worked as a postdoctoral fellow under Bishop and Varmus in San Francisco and had participated in the experiments.  No one disputed that Stehelin had made a contribution, but it was pointed out that other researchers had also participated and that awards are generally given to senior scientists who conceive and direct the research. 


John Michael Bishop, son of a minister, was born in York, Pa., on February 22, 1936.  He graduated from Gettysburg College, then received his M.D. from Harvard in 1962.  He started studying cancer viruses while still in medical school and began teaching at the University of California Medical School in San Francisco in 1968.  Born in Freeport, New York, on December 18, 1939, Harold Eliot Varmus originally went to Harvard as a graduate student of 17th-century English literature, but changed his career goals and entered medical school at Columbia, receiving his M.D. in 1966.  Varmus worked at the National Cancer Institute and then went to the University of California in San Francisco in 1970 where, Dr. Bishop recalled, he "walked through my office door one day and said he wanted to work in my lab.  Judging from the length of his beard, I figured he was the kind of free spirit who would do well."


San Francisco Bay:  San Francisco Bay, inlet of the Pacific Ocean, western California. The bay, which is bordered by several cities, including San Francisco and Oakland, is 100 km (60 mi) long and from 5 to 19 km (3 to 12 mi) wide.  It is entered from the Pacific Ocean by a strait known as the Golden Gate and stretches north and south parallel to the coast.  At the northern end it widens out into San Pablo Bay, which is connected on the northeast with Suisun Bay by Carquinez Strait.  Suisun Bay receives the waters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers.


Cable Car System


Inventor:  Andrew Smith Hallidie tested the first cable car at 4 o'clock in the morning, August 2nd, 1873, on Clay Street, in San Francisco.  His idea for a steam engine powered - cable driven - rail system was conceived in 1869, after witnessing horses being whipped while they struggled on the wet cobblestones to pull a horse car up Jackson Street.  As the story goes, the horses slipped and were dragged to their death.

Hallidie's father was an inventor who had a patent in Great Britain for "wire rope" cable. Hallidie immigrated to the U.S. in 1852 during the Gold Rush.  He began using cable in a system he had developed to haul ore from mines and in building suspension bridges.

Hallidie entered into a partnership to form the Clay Street Hill Railroad, which began construction of a cable line on Clay Street in May of 1873.  The contract to operate on city streets stated the line must be operational by August 1st.  They launched on the 2nd. Even though they were a day late the cable car trials received great approval.  Clay Street Hill Railroad began public service on September 1st, 1873.  It was a tremendous success.

Clay Street Hill Railroad was the sole cable car company for four years.  A former horse car company, Sutter Street Railroad, developed its own version of Hallidie's patented system and began cable service in 1877, followed by California Street Cable Railroad -1878, Geary Street, Park and Ocean Railroad -1880, Presidio & Ferries Railroad -1882, Market Street Cable Railway -1883, Ferries and Cliff House Railway -1888, and Omnibus Railroad and Cable Company -1889.

All totaled San Francisco companies had lay down 53 miles of track stretching from the Ferry Building to the Presidio, to Golden Gate Park, to the Castro, to the Mission.

By this time the electric streetcar, perfected in1888 by Frank Sprague, had become the vehicle of choice for city transit.  It only required half the investment to build and maintain, could reach more areas, and was quicker.  The cable cars were still able to traverse the steep hills better, so some of the lines were rebuilt.  However, as the streetcars improved, even those lines were in jeopardy.

By 1947, the lower operational costs of buses prompted Mayor Lapham to declare, "the city should get rid of all cable car lines as soon as possible."

In response, Friedel Klussmann founded the Citizens' Committee to Save the Cable Cars. The committee began a public campaign showing that the cable cars value to San Francisco was far greater than their operational cost.  They succeeded in placing an amendment on the November ballot, Measure 10.  Newspapers picked up the story and public support grew quickly.  Life magazine did a photo spread on grip men. Celebrities rallied for the cable cars.  Businesses realized tourists don't come to San Francisco to ride the busses.  Measure 10 passed in a landslide victory - ordering the city to maintain the Powell Street cable car system.

In 1997, a celebration was held at Victorian Park to name the Powell-Hyde line turnaround the "Freidel Klussmann Memorial Turnaround" in honor of the woman who saved the cable cars.

Cable Cars

SF Municipal Railway (Muni) maintains the current fleet of 28 Powell St. cars and 12 California St. cars.

California St. Car


Powell St. Car

The California Street cars are double open-ended and have 2 grips, one at each end.  To change direction on the California Street line, the car crosses over to the opposing track and the grip man uses the grip at the other end of the car.  This type of double-ended car has been used on California Street since 1891 when Leland Stanford's California Street Cable Railroad ( Cal Cable) began replacing their 2-car trains.

The Powell Street cars have one open grip end.  There are turntables built into the street to turn the car around at the ends of the Powell-Mason and the Powell-Hyde lines.  Henry Root for the Market Street Cable Railway developed this type of car in the early 1880’s. Called the "combination car" it combined the open grip dummy and closed car train into one car.  The Ferries and Cliff House Railway began service on the Powell-Mason line in 1888. Some of the original F&CH cars (extensively rebuilt) are still in use today.


Bell Ringing Contest:  In May of 1949 a contest was held in Union Square to select San Francisco's best cable car bell-ringer.  The winner, Cal Cable's Alexander Nielsen, along with two Muni grip men were sponsored by Western Pacific Railroad to operate Powell car No. 524 (now No. 24) on a section of track at the Chicago Railroad Fair.

Just two years earlier San Francisco's cable car system was on the brink of being shut down by Mayor Lapham who wanted to replace them with buses.  Friedel Klussmann's successful campaign to save them received national attention.  Life magazine did a photo spread on the grip men.  They were celebrities in the spotlight - the last of a kind. Chicago's own cable car system had shut down in 1906.  Their last running cars required police protection from mobs trying to strip off souvenirs.

It wasn't until 1955 that another contest took place.  In his 1954 election campaign, Mayor Elmer Robinson had promised a festival to promote cable cars as a visitor attraction.  Ironically, he was also responsible for cutbacks in the service.

Traditionally held in July in Union Square, the contest has become an annual event that San Franciscans and visitors alike look forward to.  It's an opportunity to come out, have a good time and appreciate our unique historic cable cars and the crews that keep them (us) safe.


Rebuilding of Street Cars:  By the mid-1970s, time and constant use were overcoming maintenance efforts for the cable car system, and it was obviously becoming badly deteriorated.  An engineering evaluation showed that a complete rehabilitation of the system would be necessary.  Beginning September 21, 1982, cable car service was suspended for nearly two years while work commenced under the Cable Car System Rehabilitation Program.  Sixty-nine city blocks were involved, as old tracks and cable channels were removed.  Heavier rails were introduced. Reinforced-concrete channels replaced the old brick ones.  New turntables were built.  The Washington-Mason car barn and powerhouse was almost completely rebuilt.  The exterior walls and chimney were retained and reinforced.  The powerhouse was equipped with new motors, gearboxes, and strand-alarm systems.


The cable car fleet was also improved.  Muni craftspeople repaired eleven.  One California car was rebuilt. The cars were repainted, rewired for 12-volt batteries, sides and ends were reinforced with sheet metal, trucks and axles were rebuilt, and braking systems were modified.  The rehabilitation was completed in June of 1984, in time for the Democratic Party's national convention that summer.  The California line re-opened Sunday, June 3rd.  The dedication ceremony for the cable car barn was held on the 4th.  On the following Sunday, June 10th, the Powell-Hyde line re-opened.

Thursday, June 21, 1984, was the first of four days of festivities celebrating the return of the cable cars.  These began with a ribbon cutting ceremony at noon in Union Square, followed by a parade of cable cars up Powell Street, led by the U.S. Marine Corps Band.


Earthquake-April 18, 1906:  This stunning account was one of the first to tell the rest of the nation about San Francisco's devastating earthquake.  The quake and the resulting tidal wave and fire destroyed nearly all of San Francisco's city center.  San Francisco, April 18, with the entire north section of the city in ruins and with the flames leaping from building to building in all directions, San Francisco seems doomed.


Unless the wind shifts to the west and blows the flames towards the bay, nothing can prevent the destruction of the city.  The Fire Department, working frantically without water, is dynamiting building after building in the path of the flames, but the wind is carrying a roaring river of fire across each gap and it appears impossible to check the conflagration.


One by one the finest structures in the business section are being reduced to wreckage. Every building surrounding the Palace Hotel is in flames.  Fire is eating its way into the 16-story building of San Francisco Call, a morning paper, and the rear section of the 11-story Monadnock Building has collapsed, spreading the fire in all directions.


The Postal Telegraph Company is preparing to vacate its building, and this will shut off all telegraphic communication with the outside world.  The death list is added to every moment.  Aside from those that lost their lives nearly 1500 are injured, it is estimated.  It is utterly impossible to care for the wounded as they should be, and many are lying in the streets breathing their last, with the people in their madness unable to get them to places of safety. 


Men, women and children with broken limbs can be seen vainly trying to reach medical aid.  Physicians from Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda and San Rafael have arrived on the scene and are doing good work in caring for the injured.  With no water to fight the flames and the town being gradually consumed and the moaning and cries of the injured, the city has been thrown into a panic.  The awful scenes of dead bodies lying around on the streets have caused widespread horror.  The Waterworks is destroyed.


San Francisco, April 18, 10:15 a.m.—There has just been another shock, which intensified the panic.  People have started to rush into the streets, but the shock was of short duration and alarm subsided.


The gas works, south of Market Street, has blown up and an immense fire rages in that vicinity.  The fire in the vicinity of the Palace and Grand hotels is rapidly approaching these buildings and from present indications they will fall prey to the flames within half an hour.


Plaza of Iglesia de San Francisco:  The graceful, baroque 17th-century Iglesia de San Francisco in Guadalajara suffered a disastrous fire in 1936.  It took decades to repair the damage, and in 1970 one of the original arcades was recovered and added to the restored structure.  Other architectural treasures in Guadalajara include the twin-towered cathedral and the churches of Santa Maria de Gracia, Santa Monica, and San Sebastián de Analco.


Aviation Records:  Pan American's new Boeing 707-321 jet clipper Liberty Bell set three commercial records within one month.  On August 25, the Liberty Bell flew 2,410 miles from Honolulu, Hawaii to San Francisco in 4 hours, 25 minutes.  On September 6, it cut the usual trip from San Francisco to Tokyo in half, reaching the Japanese city in 13 hours, 20 minutes flying time. The return trip on the following day took 15 hours, 13 minutes


San Francisco Giants:  Professional baseball team and one of five teams in the West Division of the National League (NL).  The Giants play at Pacific Bell Park.  The team was based in New York City until 1958 and was originally called the Gothams, after one of that city’s many nicknames.


Founded in 1883, the Giants organization is one of the oldest in major league baseball. The Giants captured NL titles and world championships in 1888, 1889, and 1894.  The 1904 Giants were so talented that they refused to play Boston for the world championship because they considered the American League (AL) champions unworthy opponents.  The next year the World Series became the official playoff between AL and NL champions, and the Giants defeated the Philadelphia Athletics for the title.  Under manager John McGraw, who managed the team from 1902 to 1932, the Giants won three World Series titles and ten NL pennants.


Slugger Bill Terry guided New York to a World Series victory in 1933 with help from home run hitting outfielder Mel Ott and pitcher Carl Hubbell.  In 1936 and 1937 Terry again led the Giants to pennant victories, but the team fell in the World Series before the new dominant power in major league baseball—the New York Yankees.


The team returned to the World Series in 1951 after a dramatic home run by Bobby Thompson—the fabled “Shot Heard Round the World”—won a playoff series with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  But the Giants fell again to the Yankees.  The club returned to the top in 1954, taking the World Series in a four-game upset of Cleveland that featured heroics by New York center fielder Willie Mays.


In 1958 the Giants moved to San Francisco. The 1962 Giants team, featuring Mays and Willie McCovey, won another playoff with the Dodgers and made the World Series only to lose to the Yankees.  The franchise would not make the Fall Classic again until 1989, when they met regional rival the Oakland Athletics.  The A’s swept the Giants in the series, which was interrupted by a major earthquake that struck the area just before the third game and postponed play for ten days.  In 2001 the Giants’ Barry Bonds set a new major league record for home runs in a season with 73, but the team missed the playoffs.


The San Francisco 49ers, professional football team, was one of four teams in the West Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL).  The 49ers play in the Stadium at Candlestick Point, often called Candlestick Park.  The team, which takes its name from the gold rushers who flooded California in the late 1840s, wears jerseys of scarlet and gold.


 Founded in 1946, the 49ers began as part of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), reaching the AAFC championship game in 1949.  After the AAFC folded in 1949, the 49ers joined the NFL.  San Francisco returned to the postseason in 1957 under head coach Frankie Albert.  That year quarterback Tittle captured the player of the year award and Billy Wilson won his third receiving championship in four seasons.

The arrival of head coach Dick Nolan in 1968, the development of a sophisticated defense, and the experience of quarterback John Brodie helped San Francisco reach the playoffs for three straight seasons beginning in 1970.  League passing champion Brodie was named NFL player of the year; cornerback Bruce Taylor, rookie of the year; and Nolan, coach of the year.


In 1979 new head coach Bill Walsh and a brash rookie quarterback from Notre Dame named Joe Montana ushered in an era of unprecedented stability and success for the 49ers.  Two years after the team posted a league-worst 2-14 record, Walsh won coach of the year honors for steering San Francisco to 13 regular season wins and a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI.  Carrying San Francisco into the Super Bowl was a last-minute touchdown pass from Montana to Dwight Clark that resulted in an NFC championship; it became known in football history as “The Catch.”


San Francisco returned to the playoffs in 1983, something they would do in 11 of the following 12 seasons.  Montana finished the year with a 93.1 quarterback rating—the highest in league history (the rating, which tracks passing efficiency, is based on completions, yards gained, touchdowns, and interceptions).  A season later the 49ers dominated the league with an 18-1 overall win-loss record (including the playoffs) and a victory over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX.


The 1985 season saw the arrival of Jerry Rice, who would go on to become the most prolific pass receiver in NFL history.  Rice was named NFC rookie of the year, while workhorse running back Roger Craig became the first NFL player to amass 1000 rushing and 1000 receiving yards in the same season.  First-round playoff defeats in the 1985, 1986, and 1987 seasons were followed by a last-minute victory over Cincinnati in Super Bowl XXIII in 1989.  Walsh, who had led the 49ers to three Super Bowl victories, retired at the season’s end.


George Seifert, the 49ers defensive coordinator since 1983, became head coach in 1989 and the second rookie head coach in NFL history to lead a team to the Super Bowl.  (Don McCafferty of the Baltimore Colts was the first, in 1970.)  Under Seifert’s leadership, Montana had his best season ever, winning an NFL most valuable player (MVP) award, his second of two league-passing championships, and his league-record third Super Bowl MVP award.  The 49ers set or matched 40 records in their defeat of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV.


Steve Young took over for Montana as San Francisco’s starting quarterback in 1991, capturing the NFL passing title for the first of a league-record four consecutive times. Young’s streak culminated in a Super Bowl XXIX victory over the San Diego Chargers, and his 112.8 rating in 1994 broke Montana’s league mark.  A year later, Rice broke the NFL’s career receptions record by catching his 941st pass and the career yardage record with 14,004 yards.  After the 1996 season coach Seifert retired.  Former Green Bay Packers assistant coach Steve Mariucci replaced him.


Few NFL teams can boast the individual stars and strong teams that made the 49ers a dominant power in the 1980s and 1990s.  While on their way to capturing five Super Bowl titles, the 49ers fielded such players as running back Roger Craig, wide receiver Jerry Rice, defensive end Fred Dean, and quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young. Earlier stars include Hall of Fame members quarterback Y. A. Tittle, and running backs Joe “The Jet” Perry and Hugh McElhenny.







































Web Site: http://www.museumca.org/goldrush/curriculum/8g/82202060.html

Mexicans and Californios and Time Line of California


Web Site:  http://sfchinatown.com History of Chinatown


Web Site: http://www.sanfranciscochinatown.com/history/1892gearyact.html

The Geary Act of 1862


Web Site: http://quake.usgs.gov/info/1906/ San Francisco 1906 Earthquake


Web Site:  http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/ New Perspectives on the West


Arcatraz, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Short History of San Francisco, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


History of San Francisco Contributed By: Robert W. Cherny, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Golden Gate Bridge, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


San Francisco Oakland Bridge, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Cable Car System, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


1989 Earthquake by By Thomas Y. Canby, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


April 18, 1906, the Great Earthquake ,Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


REbuilt the car Cable system, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Nobrl Prize Winners for Medici, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Bell ringing Contest,  Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


1989 Earthquake,May 1990, Prelude to The Big One? By Thomas Y. Canby, National Geographic Magazine, publised by Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


1906 Earthquake, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 18, 1906.


Modified Mercalli Scale by Bruce Bolt,  Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Historical Earthquakes, Source: U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center,  Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Tsunami, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Richter Scale, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.