Edited by Gerald Boerner
On the west coast of this great country, if someone says that they are going to “the City”, the name that comes to mind is San Francisco. It is like traveling to Paris, France, without leaving this country. But a Paris with many extras — cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge, Haight-Ashbury, Fisherman’s Wharf, and numerous other sights unique to this city. Paris may have its Eiffel Tower, but “Frisco” has the Transamerica Pyramid. And while Paris is known for its unique neighborhoods (“arrondissements”), San Francisco has many neighborhoods that are just as unique. It is a visit to the world that is one hour away from me by plane!
But its origins is much more humble. Before the Spaniards, the local native American groups could be found here during certain seasons; when Sir Francis Drake first dropped anchor here, no local inhabitants were in evidence; it was not their season for this place. When The Spanish built their Presidio and Mission, the community was called Yerba Buena. In 1847, shortly before California became a U.S. territory at the close of the Mexican-American War, the name was changed to San Francisco.
And then the action really hit! The following year GOLD was discovered in Sacramento and the California Gold Rush was on. SF became the port of entry to the gold fields from the sea. Then, the big four (Charles Crocker, Mark Hopkins, Collis P. Huntington, and Leland Stanford) set about building the western half of the transcontinental railroad; the Chinese laborers entered through San Francisco and created Chinatown. Then, when San Francisco had grown into one the most sophisticated cities in America, the 1906 earthquake and fire wiped it out. It was rebuilt bigger and better. During the Great Depression, the most sophisticated bridge was built across the entrance of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge. When World War II began, San Francisco became the west coast port from where troops left and returned from fighting in the Pacific Theater. Once returned, many settled in the San Francisco area. And finally, it became the center of the counterculture activities during the 1960s: the Summer of Love, the Gay Rights Movement, and other liberal causes.
Not a bad history for a seasonal home for some of our local Native Americans! But let’s get started with our exploration of the great city on the bay… GLB
These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved
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Quotations Related to SAN FRANCISCO:
“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
— Mark Twain
“San Francisco is perhaps the most European of all American cities.”
— Cecil Beaton
“There may not be a Heaven, but there is a San Francisco.”
— Ashleigh Brilliant