|A. M. Robertson -> San Francsico One Hundred Years Ago …|
San Francisco One Hundred Years Ago
Early on September 20, 1816 (old style, October 2), we came within sight of the coast of New California. The land we first saw was what is known as Point Reyes, to the north of San Francisco. As the wind was favourable we soon passed the Farallones, which are dangerous rocks, and at four in the afternoon we entered San Francisco harbour. The fort, which is within the entrance and on the south shore, is thoroughly equipped for defense. The presidio of San Francisco is about one marine mile from the fort and on the same side; it is square in form and has two gates which are constantly guarded by a considerable company of men. The buildings have windows on the side towards the interior court only. The presidio is occupied by ninety Spanish soldiers, a commandant, a lieutenant, a commissary, and a sergeant. Most of these are married. The men and women are tall and well built. Very few of the soldiers have married Indians. They are all good horsemen and two of them can easily cope with fifty natives.Two leagues to the southeast of the presidio and on the southern shore of the harbour is the Mission of San Francisco, which makes a fair-sized village. The mission church is large and is connected with the house of the missionaries, which is plain and reasonably clean and well kept. The mission always has a guard of three or four soldiers from the presidio. The village is inhabited by fifteen hundred Indians; there they are given protection, clothing, and an abundance of food. In return, they cultivate the land for the community. Corn, wheat, beans, peas, and potatoes – in a word, all kinds of produce – are to be found in the general warehouse. By authority of the superior, a general cooking of food takes place, at a given hour each day, in the large square in the middle of the village; each family comes there for its ration which is apportioned with regard to the number of its members. They are also given a certain quantity of raw provisions. Two or three families occupy the same house. In their free time, the Indians work in gardens that are given them; they raise therein onions, garlic, cantaloupes, watermelons, pumpkins, and fruit trees. The products belong to them and they can dispose of them as they see fit.
In winter, hands of Indians come from the mountains to be admitted to the mission, but the greater part of them leave in the spring. They do not like the life at the mission. They find it irksome to work continually and to have everything supplied to them in abundance. In their mountains, they live a free and independent, albeit a miserable, existence. Rats, insects, and snakes, – all these serve them for food; roots also, although there are few that are edible, so that at every step they are almost certain to find something to appease their hunger. They are too unskillful and lazy to hunt. They have no fixed dwellings; a rock or a bush affords sufficient protection for them from every vicissitude of the weather. After several months spent in the missions, they usually begin to grow fretful and thin, and they constantly gaze with sadness at the mountains which they can see in the distance. Once or twice a year the missionaries permit those Indians upon whose return they believe they can rely to visit their own country, but it often happens that few of these return; some, on the other hand, bring with them new recruits to the mission.
The Indian children are more disposed to adopt the mission life. They learn to make a coarse cloth from sheep’s wool for the community. I saw twenty looms that were constantly in operation. Other young Indians are instructed in various trades by the missionaries. There is a house at the mission in which some two hundred and fifty women – the widows and daughters of dead Indians – reside. They do spinning. This house also shelters the wives of Indians who are out in the country by order of the fathers. They are placed there at the request of the Indians, who are exceedingly jealous, and are taken out again when their husbands return. The fathers comply with such requests in order to protect the women from mischief, and they watch over this establishment with the greatest vigilance.
The mission has two mills operated by mules. The flour produced by them is only sufficient for the consumption of the Spanish soldiers who are obliged to buy it from the fathers.
The presidio frequently has need of labourers for such work as carrying wood, building, and other jobs; the superior, thereupon, sends Indians who are paid for their trouble; but the money goes to the mission which is obliged to defray all the expenses of the settlement.
On Sundays and holidays they celebrate divine service. All the Indians of both sexes, without regard to age, are obliged to go to church and worship. Children brought up by the superior, fifty of whom are stationed around him, assist him during the service which they also accompany with the sound of musical instruments. These are chiefly drums, trumpets, tabors, and other instruments of the same class. It is by means of their noise that they endeavour to stir the imagination of the Indians and to make men of these savages. It is, indeed, the only means of producing an effect upon them. When the drums begin to beat they fall to the ground as if they were half dead. None dares to move; all remain stretched upon the ground without making the slightest movement until the end of the service, and, even then, it is necessary to tell them several times that the mass is finished. Armed soldiers are stationed at each corner of the church. After the mass, the superior delivers a sermon in Latin to his flock.
On Sunday, when the service is ended, the Indians gather in the cemetery, which is in front of the mission house, and dance. Half of the men adorn themselves with feathers and with girdles ornamented with feathers and with bits of shell that pass for money among them, or they paint their bodies with regular lines of black, red, and white. Some have half their bodies (from the head downward) daubed with black, the other half red, and the whole crossed with white lines. Others sift the down from birds on their hair. The men commonly dance six or eight together, all making the same movements and all armed with spears. Their music consists of clapping the hands, singing, and the sound made by striking split sticks together which has a charm for their ears; this is finally followed by a horrible yell that greatly resembles the sound of a cough accompanied by a whistling noise. The women dance among themselves, but without making violent movements.
Tremblingly and Mysterious
The Indians are greatly addicted to games of chance; they stake their ornaments, their tools, their money, and, frequently, even the clothing that the missionaries have given them. Their games consist of throwing little pieces of wood which have to fall in an even or in an odd number, or others that are rounded on one side and as they fall on the flat or on the round side the player loses or wins.
Upon the demise of his father or mother, or of some kinsman, the Indian daubs his face with black in token of mourning.
The missionaries have characterized the people as lazy, stupid, jealous – gluttons, cowards. I have never seen one laugh. I have never seen one look one in the face. They look as though they were interested in nothing.
It is reckoned that there are more than fifteen Indian tribes represented in the mission. The Kulpuni, Kosmiti, Bolbones, Kalalons, Umpini, Lamanes, Pitemens, and Apatamnes speak one language and live along the Sacramento River. The Guimen, Utchiuns, Olompalis, Tamals, and Sonomas likewise speak one language. These tribes are the most largely represented at the Mission of San Francisco. The Saklans, Suisuns, Utulatines, and the Numpolis speak different languages. Another tribe, the Tcholovoni, differ considerably in feature, in general physiognomy, and in a more or less attractive exterior from all the others. These live in the mountains. They have formed an alliance with the Spaniards against all the Indian tribes. They make beautiful weapons, such as bows and arrows. The tips of the latter are furnished with pieces of flint fashioned with great skill.
Severe fevers occur constantly among the Indians. These maladies commonly carry off a very great number. Several missions in Lower California have gone out of existence in the past twenty years by reason of the extinction of the Indians.
The Indians at the missions to the south of San Francisco – particularly that of Santa Barbara – make charming vessels and vase-shaped baskets, capable of holding water, from withes of various running plants. They know how to give them graceful forms, and also how to introduce pleasing designs into the fabric. They ornament them with bits of shell and with feathers.
The Indians build their canoes when they are about to undertake an expedition on the water; they are made of reeds. When they get into them they become half filled with water so that the occupant, when seated, is in water up to the calves of his legs. They propel them by means of long paddles having pointed blades at both ends.
The Missions of San Francisco, Santa Clara, San José, and Santa Cruz depend upon the presidio of San Francisco which is required to succour and assist all the fathers and to furnish them with soldiers when necessary – particularly to accompany them upon excursions into the country. One such expedition, consisting of two fathers and twelve soldiers, returned a short time before our arrival. It had been their intention to ascend the Sacramento River, which empties into the bay to the northeast of the mission. But the Spaniards met parties of armed men at every turn; nowhere were they well received. They were compelled therefore to return after fifteen days without having made any progress towards the end in view.
The rocks near the bay of San Francisco are commonly covered with sea-lions. Bears are very plentiful on land. When the Spaniards wish to amuse themselves, they catch them alive and make them fight with bulls.
Sea-otters abound in the harbour and in the neighbouring waters. Their fur is too valuable for them to be overlooked by the Spaniards. An otter skin of good size and of the best quality is worth in China. The best grade of skins must be large, of a rich colour, and should contain plenty of hairs with whitish ends that give a silvery sheen to the surface of the fur.
Russians from Sitka (Norfolk Sound), the headquarters of the Russian-American colony, are established at Bodega Bay, thirty miles north of San Francisco. Their chief in this new settlement is M. Kuskof, an expert fur-trader. They are thirty in number and they have fifteen Kadiaks with them. They have built a small fort which is equipped with a dozen cannon. The harbour will admit only vessels that draw eight or nine feet of water. This was formerly a point for the selling of smuggled goods to the Spaniards. M. Kuskof actually has in his settlement horses, cows, sheep, and everything else that can be raised in this beautiful and splendid country. It was with great difficulty that we obtained a pair of each species from the Spaniards because the government had strictly forbidden that any be disposed of.
M. Kuskof, assisted by the small number of men with him, catches almost two thousand otters every year without trouble. When not so engaged the men are employed at building and in improving the settlement. The otter skins are usually sold to American fur-traders. When these fail of a full cargo, they go to Sitka where they obtain skins in exchange for sugar, rum, cloth, and Chinese cotton stuff. The Russian company, not having a sufficient number of ships, sends its own skins to China (or only as far as Okhotsk) as freight on American ships.
Two hundred and fifty American ships, from Boston, New York, and elsewhere, come to the coast every year. Half of them engage in smuggling with enormous profit. No point for landing goods along the entire Spanish-American coast bathed by the Pacific Ocean, from Chili to California, is neglected. It often happens that Spanish warships give chase to American vessels, but these, being equipped with much sail, having large crews, and having, moreover, arms with which to defend themselves, are rarely caught.
The commodities most acceptable to the Indians of the coast of Northwest America are guns, powder, bullets, and lead for their manufacture, knives, coarse woolen blankets, and mother-of-pearl from the Pacific which they use to make ornaments for the head and neck.
Ships are often attacked with the very arms that they themselves sold, and even on the same day that they were delivered. Most of them, however, carrying from eight to fourteen guns, are able to defend themselves. Such occurrences are frequently turned to profit, for, should they carry off one of the chiefs, they are certain to get a great deal of merchandise as ransom, and gain greater facilities for trading.
May Heaven defend a ship from being wrecked on this coast! It is said that the barbarous habit of eating their prisoners survives among several of the tribes that inhabit it. When they build a house, or when they carry out some matter of importance, they put to death a number of slaves as is done when a war is ended. Upon a man’s death, they bury with him his wife and the slaves to whom he was most attached.
Natives of California (1816)
A Residence (1913)
Natives of California (1816)
A Shop (1913)
Head-Dresses Worn by the Natives of California in Their Dances (1816)
A Shop (Courtyard and Show-windows) (1913)
A Dance of California Indians at the Mission (Dolores) of San Francisco (1816)
Mission Dolores (1913)
A Game of the Natives of California (1816)
A Club Interior (1913)
Point Reyes, the Golden Gate, and the Farallones (1813)
A Residence (1913)
Weapons and Utensils from California (1816)
Masonic Building (1913)
Indians of the Tcholovoni Tribe Hunting on the Shores of the Bay of San Francisco (1816)
A Hotel Bar (1913)
A Theatre (1913)
Union Square (1913)
An Hotel (1913)
DISCOVER SAN FRANCISCO From Sparkletack
San Francisco History, Photo Archives, Map Archives, Walking Tours, Museums, Online Resources, Running Tours and Historical Organizations
- “What’s on the 6th floor?”The official blog of the San Francisco Public Library’s San Francisco History Center and Book Arts & Special Collections!
- April 18, 1906“Exploring San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake and fire through the photographic archive” — A new and interesting project, which pulls out individual period photos and digs in deep.
- Bay Time Reporter
A series of smart, funny and insightful columns on a staggering array of Bay Area historical (and contemporary) subjects, written by the inimitable Paul Potocky. Highly recommended… the man can write.
- California Business History
Don’t be put off by the awkward design; this site is actually packed with timelines, photographs and histories of California (and San Francisco) businesses.
- California Historical Society
The grand-daddy of California history in its physical incarnation, the Society’s website features an online guide to over 300 years of California history. This resource includes over 400 images from their fine arts, library, and photography collections.
- Library of Congress
The “American Memory Project” — just type “San Francisco” into the search bar and jump back at the flood of photos and historical artifacts… this is the Library of Congress, after all!
- Market Street Railway
All things “streetcar”, packed with historical articles and photos — the home of the brand new “San Francisco Railway Museum”
- Mister SF
Long time chronicler of the city’s faces and places. This website features countless short takes on aspects of life in our favourite city — local joints, the vanishing of favourite haunts, literary/cinematic history and more.
- Noehill – San Francisco Historic Landmarks
A mixed bag, featuring a great photographic listing of San Francisco registered historical landmarks, as well as some nice stuff on the Eureka Valley, Russia Hill, & Alta Plaza neighborhoods. (California historical landmarks also have listings here)
- Online Archive of California
A part of the “Digital Library of California” — over 1,000 texts available. These include transcripts of oral histories, personal narratives, letters, press releases, newspaper articles, and other types of documents.
- Russian Hill Neighbors
Small site — couple of nice walking tours and a guide to neighborhood architectural styles, run by a non-profit neighborhood association.
- San Francisco Genealogy
An incredibly rich and comprehensive collection of historical sources — always my first stop on quests for information. Many primary sources, maps, and a forum where host Ron Filion helps answer your San Francisco history questions.
- San Francisco Memories
A loving tribute to our fair city from a passionate collector of San Francisco ephemera — photo intensive and quite lovely.
- San Francisco Virtual Museum
A long running and deep archive dedicated to historical accuracy, curated by the energetic Gladys Hanson. A terrific source for primary texts & photos, currently featuring major exhibits on the Gold Rush, Golden Gate Bridge, and ’06 Quake.
- SF Genealogy’s Research Resource List
This list is not comprehensive, but seems pretty close to it! A fantastic resource for researchers.
- The Western Neighborhoods Project
“Preserving the history of San Francisco’s West side” — An excellent site featuring photos, memories, and passionately in-depth essays documenting the lesser-known half of San Francisco.
- Up from the Deep: The Hotel Project
San Francisco’s downtown SRO hotels – past, present, and future
I know it isn’t San Francisco, but the West is the West! (don’t miss the link to their image galleries)
- America Hurrah!
A little treasure trove of California historiana with a San Francisco slant — click on a link and a map, reminiscence, or who knows what may result. Good fun…
- April 18, 1906
“Exploring San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake and fire through the photographic archive” — A new and interesting project, which pulls out individual period photos and digs in deep.
- Calisphere – University of California
A part of the “Digital Library of California” — More than 150,000 digitized items, including photographs, documents, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, advertising, and more…
- Central Pacific Railroad – Photographic History Museum
Not only photos — there’s all kinds of great stuff here, essays, articles, and historical data too — but what great photos! A sprawling site, and a joy to get lost in.
- Charles Cushman Photograph Collection
Charles Cushman, amateur photographer, bequeathed 14,500 Kodachrome color slides to Indiana University. Hundreds are of San Francisco in the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s.
- National Archives at College Park, MD
These National Archives holdings cover the whole history of photography, and a few subjects are well represented in their digital collection.
- Old SF
Interactive map of the SF Public Library’s Historical Photograph Collection, which contains 40,000 digitized images from San Francisco’s past.
- Online Archive of California
A part of the “Digital Library of California” — access to tens of thousands of photographs, paintings, graphical materials and other images, which can be organized by topic.
- Rails Around the Bay
Frank Caron is an Amtrak engineer and passionate rail buff. His website focuses on railroads operating in and around the greater San Francisco Bay Area, including the history of operations in the area, maps, drawings and historical diagrams.
- Rumsey Historic Map Collection
This stunning collection of cartographic ephemera from the 18th and 19th centuries includes atlases, globes, school geographies, books, maritime charts, and more. Insanely cool.
- San Francisco Public Library Historical Photo Collection
Searchable collection featuring more than 250,000 photographs of San Francisco and California, from 1850 to the present day. Wow.
- SF Images
Images of the past and present day, people and places, structures and landscapes. Large collection of historical photographs, from pre-Gold Rush times to today, all digitally mastered at high resolution.
- SF Library Sanborn Maps
1867-1970 Sanborn Insurance maps — San Francisco Library card required!
- SFGate.com “The Great Quake 1906-2006″
Multimedia and photo galleries from the archives of the San Francisco Chronicle
- Shorpy – The 100-Year-Old Photo Blog
Not San Francisco-centric, but a wonderful and growing user-driven collection of visual treasures from the previous century.
- Zpub – Historical Map Collection
Random collection of scans of historical maps
- Zpub – San Francisco History Archive
Photo-intensive collection of San Francisco-related material — collected generally from other online sources.
- “Emperor Norton’s Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine”
Tour of historic San Francisco led (of course!) by Emperor Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.
- Barbary Coast Trail
The famous self-guided walking tour — follow the bronze medallions in the sidewalk!
- Oakland Walking Tours
Free walking tours of historic downtown Oakland — explore the Railroad Era, Chinatown, Art Deco Uptown, the Jack London Waterfront, Preservation Park and so much more. Sponsored by the City of Oakland.
- Pacific Heights Walking Tour – San Francisco Architectural Heritage
(see “Walking tour reviews” link in right column)
- San Francisco City Guides
The wonderful free walking tour organization, all volunteer, sponsored by the SF Public Library.
- San Francisco Tour Guide Guild
“A professional, non-profit corporation of experienced tour guides and members of the travel industry.” They maintain the prefessionalism of the industry through tour guide certification, but also offer their own tours.
- Walking in San Francisco for Health and History
“Meet other locals interested in walking for fitness and in learning about the history of San Francisco. Most Saturdays we go on long walks that have great variety in distance, stair climbing, and amount of history information. Walks are free.”
- Explore SF
Explore SF offers unique tours that from a local perspective that for the most part avoid anything touristy. Each tour offers something above and beyond a normal tour, be it lunch and a spa visit in Japantown, Wine Country in the City, 1970’s Folsom District Tour, Sin Francisco to the SF Armory or a WIld Parrot Safari, “These tours are not to be missed.”
- SF Scenic Running ToursThe newest trend in staying in shape and meeting new people. Running
tours led by professional trainers and experienced guides, all of whom are
locals, and they take you on the most beautiful runs through the most
breathtaking city in the world. We challenge you to find a more positive way to see San Francisco. If you can find one, we’ll pay your way…
- “What’s on the 6th floor?”
The official blog of the San Francisco Public Library’s San Francisco History Center and Book Arts & Special Collections!
- Bancroft Library
California’s memory bank on the UC Berkeley campus, one of the largest special collections in the U.S. Includes the Mark Twain Papers, Regional Oral History Office, UC Archives, History of Science & Technology Program, & Pictorial Collection.
- San Francisco Fire Department Museum
Comprehensive website of San Francisco’s fabulous Fire Department Museum.
- San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum
Documenting and preserving the Bay Area’s rich performing arts heritage from the Gold Rush to today – and making it available to us! Programs, events, exhibitions, and the fabulous library. Based on dancer Russell Hartley’s private collection, ca 1947.
- Treasure Island Museum
Once upon a time there was a museum on Treasure Island. Someday it may return, but ’til then, enjoy the museum’s website, featuring a “Memory Book” message board, info about the collections in storage, and “Treasures”, an illustrated history of the Fair.
- Wells Fargo History MuseumThis colorful museum features a beautiful stagecoach, piles of real gold, and many other exhibits focusing on San Francisco’s Gold Rush history. Even cooler, it’s located on the very spot in which Wells Fargo opened for business in 1852!
- FunCheap SF
“Finding fun and cheap stuff to do San Francisco and around the Bay Area.” Yahoo group dedicated to having fun in the Bay Area on the cheap. Good stuff!
- San Francisco Virtual Tour
“An interactive photo documentary Walking Virtual Tour” — and that’s just what we have here, a staggering amount of work. Kudos!
- SF Cityscape.com – Transportation & Urban Design
Forum, maps & photos — SF Bay Area city and regional land-use and transportation planning, architecture, development and urban design issues.
- SF Journey (German language)
A German-language travel guide to San Francisco and the West Coast: “Ihrem ReisefÃ¼hrer nach San Francisco an der WestkÃ¼ste der USA”
- Wells Fargo History Museum
This colorful museum features a beautiful stagecoach, piles of real gold, and many other exhibits focusing on San Francisco’s Gold Rush history. Even cooler, it’s located on the very spot in which Wells Fargo opened for business in 1852!
- Sacramento Historical Society
A thorough listing of all things related to Sacramento history.
- San Francisco History Association
A group “Dedicated to Remembering San Francisco’s Past” — they sponsor regular talks, slide shows, and guest speakers on a fantastically diverse array of subjects.
- San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Historical Society
Often referred to as San Francisco’s “queer Smithsonian,” the GLBT Historical Society houses one of the world’s largest collections of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender historical materials. The society’s GLBT History Museum is the first full-scale, stand-alone museum of its kind in the United States.
- San Francisco History Museum and Historical Society
The San Francisco Museum and Historical Society is dedicated to preserving, interpreting and presenting the historical heritage of San Francisco.
- Treasure Island Museum
Once upon a time there was a museum on Treasure Island. Someday it may return, but ’til then, enjoy the museum’s website, featuring a “Memory Book” message board, info about the collections in storage, and “Treasures”, an illustrated history of the Fair.
San Francisco Archipelago
MARCH 20, 2012
tags: climate change, future history, islands, map, sea level
March 20th, 2072 (AP), Northern California Association of City States:
With the surprising acceleration of sea level rise due to the melting of both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets over the past decade, the San Francisco canal system was officially abandoned this week. Additional ferry service has been announced between the new major islands of the San Franciscan Archipelago while the boring machines make progress under the Van Ness Passage and Richmond Pass for new transit tunnels.
Unlike most coastal areas of the former United States, the population of the archipelago has dramatically increased despite the 200 foot rise in sea level over the past 60 years. Pundits debate whether this is due to the increasingly tropical temperatures or the creative and cultural explosion due to density. Regardless, the 4 million people now living on the SFA are demanding expansion of the San Andreas airport — studies are underway to build three more runways on the former 280 right of way.
However, the new class of supersonic Clippers will be in service by 2074 and Pan Am claims they can provide direct service to both Haight Inlet and Excelsior Lagoon, much to the relief of the Juniper Serra Conglomeration. (The JSC clearly prefers repurposing the old road to construct a rail gun space launch system with the help of Stanford Alto.)
The cruise ship berths along Divisidero Harbor continue to be upgraded, while negotiations are underway with Port Orinda and Caldecott Harbor to handle the cargo from the outdated facilities at Geary Sound. With the addition of the 6th high speed rail tube to the mainland, the original tunnels (completed in 2025) will be dedicated to cargo.
Development of high rises along the Sunset Coast and Cape Dolores has not been without controversy. The SHSFPA (Submerged Historic San Francisco Preservation Association) has once again protested and filed an environment historic review. “Old San Francisco is still alive in our hearts and minds, even if only the tops of the buildings can be seen! Look at the Flickr archive! Viva La Décimonovena! Viva El Vigésimocuarto!” While the SHSFPA frustrate many, all agree that their work floating Victorians and Italinate era homes and converting them houseboats has been a grand success, and has fueled a tourist boom along the Noe, Bernal and Dolores docks. The historical reenactments of life in the Mission District of the early 21st century have proven particularly popular.
While the submerged ruins of the Sunset and the Mission have always been popular diving attractions, many have already forgotten the locations of long-flooded streets and avenues. The SHSFPA recently published this overlay map showing early 21st century streets (double-blink to zoom, triple-blink for 3D):
While other islands have embraced both bridges and tunnels — the 150 year old bridges across Glen Narrows are scheduled for destruction once the new suspension bridge to Bernal Isle is complete — Potrero Island continues to be a holdout. Residents have yet again rejected the bond measure for a floating pontoon bridge crossing Beronio Reef and Market Shoals. Ask any Potreran and you will get the same response: “We were the first island, and we will be the last island. The cable gondola to Sutro Tower and Bernal is too much as it is.” Unfortunately, with sea levels increasing, they will very likely be flooded out by the turn of the century as this animation shows (GIF2023 support required, gesture for higher resolution holograph):
Is the future of the San Franciscan Archipelago doomed? Some environmental experts from the NOAA in the Washington DC SeaDome think so. “With sea levels continuing to rise at over three feet per year, the continued investment in the Archipelago is foolish. The failure of the Los Angeles seawall in 2049 is proof of this. And just look at the projection at 300 feet. Potrero’s all but gone and Bernal Isle is cut in half.”
As usual, San Franciscans are undeterred. “We won’t let those waterlogged Morlocks who pretend the United States still exists try to tell us what works. Even if we have to build a dozen more mile high Sutro Towers, we will stay here. We’ll anchor a floating city to the serpentine and chert if we have to.”
- Greenland: 6.6 meters (21 feet)
- West Antarctic: 8.1 meters (26 feet)
- East Antarctic: 65 meters (213 feet)
120,000 years ago, SF Bay was 20 feet higher than today.
Five Beautiful Places to See a California Sunset and One Great Place to Run…
Photo via jonathandinh on Flickr.com
Theres a certain wonder from watching a sunset that captures our imaginations. You don’t hear people going around loathing about what an eyesore sunsets are. But as timeless and universal as they are, there are some destinations that just seem to have better sunsets than others. With miles of expansive coastline along the Pacific Coast, the argument could be made that California is one of those places. Today I spotlight five of the most beautiful places to watch the sunset in California.
Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur. With such a dramatic coastline, its hard to narrow down Big Sur to just one locale to view the sunset. Pfeiffer Beach may be one of the more challenging places to access on this list, but I believe you’ll like the view youre greeted with. Keep your eyes peeled though, as the turnoff for Pfeiffer Beach comes up quickly off the Pacific Coast Highway, and then you have to drive down a narrow road for what seems like miles until you arrive at public parking for the beach. Whats so unique about Pfeiffer Beach is the large rock that sits just beyond the crashing waves. Its no ordinary Pacific Coast rock, but has a large opening at the bottom that the sun shines through before it drops behind the horizon.
Malibu Pier, Malibu. No, not Santa Monica Pier, but Malibu Pier. You’ll have to head just a little further up the coastline to Malibu for this pier. There are tons of popular piers up and down the coastline near L.A., but many of them get busy during the summer months and don’t exactly have the serenity that you’ve probably come to expect from sunsets. While Malibu Pier can in fact get busy during the summer months, its somewhat of a California icon. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk down the pier at sunset or photography lovers can set up on the beach to snap sunset photos with the pier in the foreground.
The Presidio, San Francisco. Its hard to believe that such wilderness and natural beauty is so close to downtown San Francisco. Occupying a large portion of the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, there are several great spots in the Presidio to watch the sunset, including Crissy Field, which provides a view of the sun setting behind the Golden Gate Bridge. However, my favorite is around the bend near Baker Beach along the Batteries to Bluffs Trail. Visitors can find a rock along the trail or sit atop one of the military batteries while watching the sunset straight ahead across the Pacific Ocean. This also provides great views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
How to run to The Presidio: A great way to see The Presidio, San Francisco is on a running tour with SF Scenic Running Tours. These runs have grown in popularity as more people find out about the natural beauty that exists in San Francisco. One person on a recent running tour was quoted as saying that she thought it was the most fantastic run she had ever been on and found it hard to believe she was still in San Francisco. “They showed us places we never would have found on our own”, she continued. SF Scenic Running Tours can be found here. Their tours can even be taken in combination with Alcatraz Tours. Many people across the nation have started taking running tours as a way to meet people while keeping fit. “Running was such a solitary activity for me until I started these fantastic tours”, said Lisa, “Now I know lots of people in the city and am more fit than I was in my early 20’s!”
Carmel Beach, Carmel. Carmel Beach is one of California’s most popular beaches and for good reason. Its just blocks from downtown Carmel and features a long, dramatic and rugged coastline that looks out over Carmel Bay. Heres your chance to impress that special someone. On a clear night, arrive early and grab a spot south of 10th Avenue and light a bonfire. Grab a bottle of wine and chocolate and marshmallows for smores, but dont forget a blanket as the chill and wind picks up as the sun starts to set.
Joshua Tree National Park, Joshua Tree. While beach sunsets are a California icon, I couldn’t talk sunsets and not mention at least one destination that is further inland. While you wont see the sun setting over the large expanse of the Pacific Ocean, what you will instead see is a vast sky gleaming with bright colors for as far as the eye can see and no sights or sounds to interrupt it. Sunsets here are expansive and offer a sense of serenity that the other places on this list dont quite produce. For a more perched view above the park, take the turn-off on the northwestern side of the park for Keys View.By Spencer Spellman on May 31, 2012 2:00 PMunder Travel
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Solar Eclipse Viewing Guide for May 20th 2012 Tonight!
First time in 18 years!!!
See the sun and moon align in a “Ring of Fire” Sunday night for the first time in 18 years.
By Johnny Funcheap – posted 5/19/2012
Just a few weeks after the supermoon made an appearance in the San Francisco Bay Area, you’ll get a chance to see the first annular solar eclipse since 1994 on Sunday, May 20, 2012 when the moon will cover up all but a sliver of the sun just before sunset.
The eclipse, which will cover more than 90% of the sun in in the Bay Area, will be viewable from around 5:15pm to 8:18pm with the peak being around 6:32pm
Although the Bay Area is just south of the “full eclipse” zone, you should still get a spectacular view of the partial eclipse in the Bay Area – especially from Point Reyes. The further north you drive, the more “full” the eclipse will be.
Want to celebrate with others? Attend the “Solar Eclipse Meditation” at Ocean Beach at 6:30pm – it’s free!
>> You can find tons of great info on watching the eclipse on the National Park Service website
How to safely view a solar eclipse
Duh… be smart when viewing a solar eclipse – never looking at it directly. Always make sure you use special solar glasses or other protection – here’s a how-to-guide for viewing the solar eclipse safely and tips to build your own pinhole projector.
Rugged Land’s End Lookout Deserves It’s Own Look
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Michael Macor / The Chronicle
The two stone lions that guard the main entrance off Point Lobos Avenue are replicas of relics from Sutro Heights across the way.
The resonant ruins above Baker Beach 04.29.12
Trampoline park, library earn architecture awards 04.27.12
Richard Meier & Partners tower planned in S.F. 04.26.12
More John King »
It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate building for aptly named Lands End than the confident outpost of concrete and glass that officially opened Saturday.
Assertive and inviting at once, the compact structure commands one of San Francisco’s best sites – a cliff above the ruins of Sutro Baths, up from the Cliff House with a forested backdrop on three sides. The architectural response is tough rather than meek, and it enriches a location that already is one-of-a-kind.
Lands End has been a destination since the 1860s, when the first of several predecessors to today’s Cliff House restaurant could be reached by a toll road that is now Geary Boulevard, 50 cents a ride on a horse-drawn omnibus from Portsmouth Square. Tycoon Adolph Sutro opened his Sutro Baths in 1896 with seven indoor pools as well as an amphitheater and later an ice skating rink.
The crowds kept coming after fire destroyed the Baths in 1966. What greeted them for the next 30 years were stunning views of the Pacific Ocean – and threadbare trails, a dirt parking lot and the tangle of tour buses outside a Cliff House that included a cramped visitors center.
The new building designed by San Francisco’s EHDD is the latest in a series of upgrades that follow the 1993 master plan for the Sutro Historic District done by the National Park Service and implemented in partnership with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
Another key player has been the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, which has donated $8.6 million to the Lands End efforts up to and including the Lookout.
As with other improvements, which include a rebuilt Cliff House and paved trails accessible to people in wheelchairs, the offering here is aimed at both one-time tourists and devoted regulars.
There are bathrooms for the public, and storage areas for conservation programs. A small food counter offers to-go items. The centerpiece of the 4,100-square-foot structure, though, is a central space with educational exhibits amid merchandising kiosks, learning and commerce both geared to the locale.
The flat-topped modern building hunkers down on an exposed perch where the salty fog and winds “will beat a building to death if you’re not prepared,” says Jennifer Devlin of EHDD. Four thick walls of concrete run east to west, separating the building’s functions and extending into an inland plaza. The long bars tie the buildings into the landscape of low freshly planted dunes; they should also help deflect the often-brutal gusts.
On the side that faces the Pacific, the emphasis is exactly where it ought to be – the shop and cafe are lined by 14-foot-high panels of floor-to-ceiling glass. The public rooms angle slightly northwest, making the Marin Headlands part of the show. Clerestory windows above the concrete walls reduce the glare within the handsome space with its exhibit and sales areas designed by the small local firm Macchiatto.
Other touches make the connection to place without making a fuss.
Some are obvious, such as the two stone lions that guard the entrance off Point Lobos Avenue and are replicas of relics from Sutro Heights across the way. Some are subtle: The reclaimed redwood siding on the building’s east side has the raw simplicity of what critic Lewis Mumford dubbed the “Bay Region Style” in 1947.
It all comes together
The final cultural overlay is a quest for sustainability that extends beyond the solar panels on the roof. The structure is naturally ventilated, restrooms included. Recycled materials are used throughout, including oyster shells for mulch along the dunes.
Inevitably, the Lookout’s presence has stirred a reaction. It’s snug against the paved esplanade along the cliff; it pops into the view of drivers as Geary Boulevard becomes Point Lobos Avenue. The architecture doesn’t try to echo the long-gone Victoriana of the Cliff House that existed from 1896 to 1907.
But that’s part of what makes the experience so special. The siting, the materials, the design philosophy – all are attuned to a remarkable urban encounter with the natural forces that still shape this region.
Lands End is not a timid location. How fitting that the final building likely to rise here isn’t timid, either.
King is the San Francisco Chronicle‘s urban design critic. firstname.lastname@example.org
This article appeared on page C – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
Dolores Park Playground Parents Now Want A Fence To Keep Out Gays & Dogs
We’ve discussed before our trepidation about the infringing upon gay space that happened when that new Dolores Park playground got renovated and drastically enlarged. Though most of the gay beach remains intact, there have been complaints that motorcycle cops have been making the scantily clad sunbathers feel uncomfortable lately — if there are too many reports like this, we don’t want to see how mad and in-your-face Anna Conda will get. Cops have also handcuffed and cited the cold-beer-cold-water dude, which is just sad, even if he is mean. And now Mission Local and Uptown Almanac report on some complaints from parents that with their ridiculously outsized new toddler terrarium they now think they need a fence to keep out the big scary dogs running around. COME ON. There has always been a playground, and there have always been dogs in the park. Basically you give San Francisco’s three dozen parents an inch and they want to take a mile!
Supervisor Scott Wiener says he’s gotten “several dozen” calls from concerned parents who want the playground fenced off, but he supports the original design which uses plants to form a natural barrier to discourage dogs from running in. Then again, Rec and Parks manager Eric Andersen is allegedly keeping the option open of adding a low fence at some point.
And yes, commenters, we know there are more than three dozen parents in this city, but not a lot more! As mentioned before, this is a city with an ever-dwindling number of children and families with children, and building a playground isn’t going to keep them here — improved schools and cheaper rents, however, might be a start. We prefer our parks full of adults, and unruly animals, and people selling booze and pot edibles.
PREVIOUSLY: Dolores Park To Be Half-Closed, Generally Unpleasant, For A Really Long Time
Contact the author of this article or email email@example.com with further questions, comments or tips.
Partiers Leave Behind Massive Fort Mason Mess
: Andrew Dalton/SFist
Happy Earth Day, everybody! Just when we thought our faith in the drunkards had been restored, we spotted this disaster area left behind after throngs of Marina District revelers took their overconsumption outdoors yesterday afternoon. After a brief stop at the Marina Dateway, where the neighborhood grocery store was experiencing a run on domestic beer and ladies were overheard discussing the caloric content of various vodkas, we found this scene on the grass at Fort Mason around 7 p.m. Saturday evening.
What looked something like this during the afternoon, by sunset looked like a good place to catch Hepatitis. That’s also when the seagulls started swooping in, probably looking for beer can rings to choke themselves to death with. (Because of how disappointed in humanity they were.)
Not to get all hippie-preachy or anything, but this is kind of an offensive amount of trash, right? Do normal and reasonable human beings not look at that mess and say, “…maybe we ought to like, I don’t know? Take some of this trash with us? To a trash can?” or “Maybe we should bring that coffee table back home?” We’ve seen our share of litter-y days in Dolores Park and some embarrassing trash pileups in Golden Gate Park, but leaving actual pieces of living room furniture is a whole new level of prickish park use.
“Those trash picker guys are going to be stoked about this!” was one justification we heard for the mess. We tried to get someone from the neighborhood recycling center on the phone to settle that bet, but they are unfortunately not open on Sundays, so we’ll have to follow up on that later.
Anyhow, much of the mess was still around this morning, even after the recyclers had picked it over. Which is disheartening in that “this is why we can’t have nice things” sort of way. Enjoying scenic vistas around every corner is one of the nicest parts about living in San Francisco. And Fort Mason has one hell of a Bridge view, so why would you just throw a piece of garbage in front of that, you know?
Anyhow, in the interest of fairness, if anyone took any similar photos in Dolores Park or any other public park this weekend, please do share. We’d love to find out which park has San Francisco’s messiest crowd.
Note: Misson Local has a look at the state of Dolores Park this morning. The Mission looks like it had its own share of litterbugs this weekend, but considering the huge crowds we saw at Dolores Park yesterday afternoon, we’re still calling this one for the Marina.
FAUX (FOX) NEWS UPDATE (April 24): Fox Nation picked up the trashy item, using it to fabricate an entire story to blame green activists.
About Old S.F. (One our favorite sites here at ExploreSF)
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the San Francisco Public Library in any way.
This site provides an alternative way of browsing the SFPL‘s incredible San Francisco Historical
Photograph Collection. Its goal is to help you discover the history
behind the places you see every day.
And, if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll even discover something about San Francisco’s rich past that you never knew before!
Where did these images come from?
The images all come from the San Francisco Public Library’s San Francisco Historical
Photograph Collection. They were culled from many sources, including the
Francisco News-Call Bulletin.
The creators of this site did not collect or digitize any of these images
— credit for that massive undertaking belongs entirely to the
Who built this site?
What did this site do?
The creators of this site associated latitudes and longitudes to the images in
the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection at the San Francisco Public Library, located in the Main Branch on the 6th floor. This process is known as geocoding. Doing this
allows the images to be placed at points on a map, which enables new ways of
exploring this collection.
How were they geocoded?
The geocodes are based on two sources:
- Photo Subjects. All photographs in the “City Hall (old)”
series presumably belong in the same place. We manually geocoded several
- Addresses and Cross-Streets. The photo descriptions often contain
either an address, block number or set of cross-streets. These were
converted to coordinates using the Google
What’s the story of this project?
Several years ago, I searched for my cross-streets
on the Library’s San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection and found the
photo on the right. The image was mislabeled — the intersection in the
foreground is actually Waller and Fillmore, not Waller and Webster. Which
meant that this photo from 1945 was taken from my roof!
I put together a now-and-then
shot, but it always bothered me that the mislabeling of the image was so
crucial to my finding it. This led to the idea of putting the images on a
And now, years later, we have that map!
What fraction of the images have been geocoded?
The library’s collection contains about 40,000 images. Many of these
photographs have little geographic context (e.g. they’re portraits) and
cannot be located. In all, about 20,000 of the images could be placed on a
map. We’ve geocoded about 65% of the possible images: 13,000.
How can you help?
If you’re technically minded, here’s a JSON file containing all the image
descriptions, as well as geocodes for the records on the map (including the
reason I thought they were at that location): records.js.zip (2MB download).
If you improve on my geocoding or do something else interesting with the data,
please share your results!
via About Old S.F..
To see this collection in person or to order reprints please come to The San Francisco Library, Main Branch, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 Telephone (415) 557-4567, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection, located in the San Francisco History Center on the 6th floor, contains photographs and works on paper of San Francisco and California views from 1850 to the present. The Collection is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-5 and Saturdays 10-12 & 1-5
Explore the Library’s Geocoded Images On Old S.F.!
- View Digital Images
- Browse Digital Images
- Order Images
- Featured Galleries
- Photo Collection Frequently Asked Questions
- What’s New Online
- September 18, 1935
- Photo ID#
About the Photo Collection
The San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection contains photographs and works on papers of San Francisco and California scenes ranging from 1850 to the present. This collection includes views of San Francisco street scenes, buildings, and neighborhoods, as well as photographs of famous San Francisco personalities. The collection consists mostly of the photo morgue of the San Francisco News-Call Bulletin, a daily newspaper, ranging from 1920s to 1965. The collection also contains albums, slides, postcards, cabinet cards, stereoviews, and lantern slides of San Francisco and California subjects.
Copies of images may be ordered with the Reproduction of Images Form (PDF 31K). Many of the photographs are available for commercial use when a Permission to Publish Form (PDF 40K) has been submitted.
The collection may be viewed in two ways: through the online database on the San Francisco Public Library website, which contains 40,000 digitized images from the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection, or in person during photo desk open hours.
When viewing the collection in person, only a limited number of photographs may be examined at one time. Library users will be provided with gloves to wear while examining the photographs. The photographs are to be handled by the edges only and held securely on two sides. The following items are not to be used in contact with the photographs: pressure sensitive tapes, all types of glues, paper clips, elastic bands, staples, pins, pens or pencils. Photocopying of photographs is harmful to the image and is not allowed. Photographs may be reproduced through a photo lab of the Library’s choice, through the Library scanning service or through a scheduled photo shoot. See Order Images for details.
For further information about the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection please call 415-557-4567 during open hours.
- Pedestrian hit, seriously injured by car in S.F. (sfgate.com)
Spring fairs and festivals
The Bay’s got it all, from garlic to tango fests — here’s your handy guide to spring happenings
03.20.12 – 5:39 pm | Ali Lane | (0)
Trash Mash-Up is just one of the colorful crewes to hold down SF‘s Carnaval (May 26-27)
PHOTO VIA TRASH MASH-UP
SF Flower and Garden Show, San Mateo Event Center, 495 S. Delaware, San Mateo. (415) 684-7278, http://www.sfgardenshow.com. March 21-25, 10am-6pm, $15–$65, free for 16 and under. This year’s theme is “Gardens for a Green Earth,” and features a display garden demonstrating conservation practices and green design. Plant yourself here for thriving leafy greens, food, and fun in the sun.
The Art of Aging Gracefully Resource Fair, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California, SF. (415) 292-1200, http://www.jccsf.org. March 22, 9:30am-2:45pm, free. Treat yourself kindly with presentations by UCSF Medical Center professionals on healthy living, sample classes, health screenings, massages, giveaways and raffles.
California’s Artisan Cheese Festival, Sheraton Sonoma County, 745 Sherwood, Petaluma. (707) 283-2888, http://www.artisancheesefestival.com. March 23-25, $20–$135. Finally, a weekend given over to the celebration of cultures: semi-soft, blue, goat, and cave-aged. More than a dozen award-winning cheesemakers will provide hors d’oeuvres and educational seminars.
15th Annual Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting, Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, Buchanan and Marina, SF. (800) 467-0163, http://www.rhonerangers.org. March 24-25, $45–$185. The largest American Rhone wine event in the country, with over 2,000 attendees tasting 500 of the best Rhones from its 100 US member wineries.
Whiskies of the World Expo, Hornblower Yacht, Pier 3, SF. (408) 225-0446, http://www.whiskiesoftheworld.com. March 31, 6pm-9pm, $120–$150. The expo attracts over 1400 guests intent on sampling spirits on a yacht and meeting important personages from this fine whiskey world of ours.
Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair, SF County Fair Building’s Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, SF. (415) 431-8355, bayareaanarchistbookfair.wordpress.com. March 31-April 1, free. This political book fair brings together radical booksellers, distributors, independent presses, and political groups from around the world.
Monterey Jazz Festival‘s Next Generation Festival Monterey Conference Center, One Portola Plaza, Monterey. (831) 373-3366, http://www.montereyjazzfestival.org. March 30-April 1, free. 1200 student-musicians from schools located everywhere from California to Japan compete for the chance to perform at the big-daddy Monterey Jazz Festival. Free to the public, come to cheer on the 47 California ensembles who will be playing, or pick an away team favorite.
Argentine Tango Festival, San Francisco Airport Marriot Hotel, 1800 Old Bayshore Highway, Burlingame. http://www.argentinetangousa.com. April 5-8, $157–$357. Grip that rose tightly with your molars — it’s time to take the chance to dance in one of 28 workshops, with a live tango orchestra, and tango DJs. The USA Tango championship is also taking place here.
Salsa Festival, The Westin Market Street, 50 Third St., SF. (415) 974-6400. http://www.sfsalsafestival.com. April 5-7, $75–$125. Three nights of world-class performances, dancing, competition and workshops with top salsa instructors.
www.sresproductions.com/union_street_easter. April 8, 10am-5pm, parade at 2pm, free. A family festival with kids rides and games, a petting zoo, and music.
45th Annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, Japan Center, Post and Buchanan, SF. (415) 567-4573, www.sfjapantown.org. April 14-15 and 21-22, parade April 22, free. Spotlighting the rich heritage and traditional customs of California’s Japanese-Americans. Costumed performers, taiko drums, martial arts, and koto music bring the East out West.
Bay One Acts Festival, Boxcar Theatre, 505 Natoma, SF. www.bayoneacts.org. April 22 — May 12, 2012, $25–$45 at the door or online. Showcasing the best of SF indie theater, with new works by Bay Area playwrights.
Earth Day, Civic Center Plaza, SF. (415) 571-9895, www.earthdaysf.org. April 22, free. A landmark day for the “Greenest City in North America,” featuring an eco-village, organic chef demos, a holistic health zone, and live music.
Wedding and Celebration Show, Parc 55 Wyndham, 55 Cyril Magnin, SF. (925) 594-2969,www.bayareaweddingfairs.com. April 28, 10:00am-5:00pm. Exhibitors in a “Boutique Mall” display every style of product and service a bride may need to help plan his or her wedding.
San Francisco International Beer Festival, Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion, SF.www.sfbeerfest.com. April 28, 7pm-10pm, $65. The price of admission gets you a bottomless taster mug for hundreds of craft beers, which you can pair with a side of food from local restaurants.
Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show, Half Moon Bay Airport, 9850 Cabrillo Highway North, Half Moon Bay. www.miramarevents.com/dreammachines. April 28-29, 9am-4pm, $20 for adults, kids under 10 free. The annual celebration of mechanical ingenuity, an outdoor museum featuring 2,000 driving, flying and working machines from the past 200 years.
San Francisco International Arts Festival Various venues. (415) 399-9554, www.sfiaf.org. May 2-20, prices vary. Celebrate the arts, both local and international, at this multimedia extravaganza.
Cinco de Mayo Festival, Dolores Park, Dolores and 19th St, SF. www.sfcincodemayo.com. May 5, 10am-6pm, free. Enjoy live performances by San Francisco Bay Area artists, including mariachis, dancers, salsa ensembles, food and crafts booths. Big party.
A La Carte and Art, Castro St. between Church and Evelyn, Mountain View. May 5-6, 10am-6pm, free. With vendors selling handmade crafts, micro-brewed beers, fresh foods, a farmers market, and even a fun zone for kids, there’s little you won’t find at this all-in-one fun fair.
Young at Art Festival, De Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, SF. (415) 695-2441.www.youngatartsf.com. May 12-20, regular museum hours, $11. An eight-day celebration of student creativity in visual, literary, media, and performing arts.
This article is courtesy of and continues at Spring fairs and festivals | SF Bay Guardian.