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What is the history of San Francisco, California, USA?

People, Pictures, Old Postcards and Stories From the Past

Explore San Francisco, California, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures and genealogy.
San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA

"San Francisco, the commercial metropolis of California, and the queen city of the "far West," is situated on the western shore of the magnificent bay from which it derives its name. It stands in a plain about half a mile wide, gently inclined towards the bay, with numerous hills behind it. The soil on which this city is built is very sandy ; and in the vicinity, more particularly toward the north, are a number of sandhills. It is regularly laid out, the streets crossing each other at right angles. The houses till recently were mostly frame, but since the destructive fires that have occurred several times, laying the greater part of the town in ruins, brick and iron are becoming more extensively used. The city now contains many well-built fire proof stores and banking houses. The better class of frame houses are painted white, with green blinds, presenting the appearance of the houses in New England...

Population. — The inhabitants of San Francisco have been variously estimated from 60,000 to 60,000; but there is so large a mass of floating population that it would be impossible, even by taking a census, to state the number with any exactness. The vote polled September 7, 1853, was 10,113, being an in crease of 2127 on that of November 2, 1852. In the Atlantic states, the votes polled do not generally exceed one-sixth or seventh of the entire population ; but in California, where a much greater number of the inhabitants are adult males, it may be estimated that the votes will generally amount to one-fifth or one-fourth of the whole population. And although at first sight this may seem a very small proportion, it will scarcely appear too small when we take into consideration the immense number of those who are newly arrived, and are thereby excluded from the right of suffrage, (the law requiring a residence of six months in the state,) and the other vast multitudes who, having come to California for the sole object of accumulating gold, are unwilling that any political considerations, in which they expect to have at best but a temporary interest, should divert them from the great object of their desires. That the above estimate is not very far from the truth, is shown by the fact that it nearly corresponds with other estimates founded on different data, and made, in fact, previous to the recent election. All the estimates which we have seen, give the present population of San Francisco at near 60,000, and some above that number — that is, about six times the entire number of votes..."

A New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States: Giving a Full and Comprehensive Review of the Present Condition, Industry, and Resources of the American Confederacy ...
Thomas Baldwin (of Philadelphia.)
Joseph Thomas
January 1, 1854
Philadelphia : Lippincott, Grambo & Company 1854.

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  • 1776 - San Francisco founded

  • News 1847 - January 30 – Yerba Buena, California is renamed San Francisco.
    January 30, 1847

  • News 1850 - September 17 - Great fire in San Francisco
    September 17, 1850

  • 1850 - April 15 - City of San Francisco incorporated

  • News 1852 - July 3 - Congress authorizes US's 2nd mint (San Francisco, California)
    July 3, 1852

    San Francisco, Monday, April 16.

    A terrible explosion of what was supposed to be nitro glicerine, occurred at a 1:15 o'clock to-day, near WELLS, FA...Read MORE...

  • News 1868 - Built on Made Land
    San Francisco is so largely built on made land that the timbers of old wharves were recently exhumed half a mile from the present water front.
    St Joseph Herald
    Saint Joseph, Michigan
    June 13, 1868

  • News 1868 - In digging a foundation in San Francisco, a heavy barrel was exhumed, and great was the excitement when it became rumored that a barrel of gold dust had been hidden there some twenty years ago.
    When opened, it proved to be full of very putrid flour.
    St Joseph Herald
    Saint Joseph, Michigan
    August 22, 1868

  • News 1869 - Teaching Chinese Girls
    Teachers are to be employed to instruct the Chinese girls in San Francisco, where they are rapidly increasing. The work is undertaken by the churches.
    St Joseph Herald
    Saint Joseph, Michigan
    June 19, 1869

  • 1869 - First westbound train arrived in San Francisco webimage/ countrys/ namerica/ usstates/ catimeln.htm

  • 1873 - August 2 - A San Francisco cable car travels on Clay Street between Kearny and Jones Streets during its first trial run.

  • News 1874 - A Curious Clock
    A Thompson, Connecticut, clock company has shipped a curious clock to San Francisco, to be placed in the tower of the greatest hotel on the continent,...Read MORE...

  • San Francisco, California, USA
    The "Cliff House"
    Picturesque America... Oliver Bell Bunce, William Cullen Bryant
    New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1872-1874.

    "The Cliff House is a restaurant perched on the headland above the cliffs just north of Ocean Beach, on the western side... Read MORE...

  • News 1876 - June 4 - An express train called the Transcontinental Express arrives in San Francisco, California, via the First Transcontinental Railroad only 83 hours and 39 minutes after having left New York City.
    June 4, 1876

  • 1887 - San Francisco experienced its greatest snowstorm of record. Nearly four inches was reported in downtown San Francisco, and the western hills of the city received seven inches. Excited crowds went on a snowball throwing rampage

  • News 1889 - November 23 - Debut of 1st jukebox (Palais Royale Saloon, San Francisco)
    November 23, 1889

  • San Francisco, California, USA
    Cresta Gold Rum
    Bennett Distilling Co., San Francisco, California

    Found at The Way It Was Museum, Virginia City, Nevada
  • San Francisco, California, USA
    Scene at the Beach, San Francisco, Cal.
  • 1893 - August 10 - The first Chinaman was deported from San Francisco for non-registration.

    The World Almanac and Book of Facts, Volume 1894 Press Publishing Company. 1894

  • News 1900 - FELL ON MOLTEN GLASS. Scores Killed and Injured by the Collapse of a Roof. SEVERAL ROASTED TO DEATH.
    Disaster Occurred at a Football Game in San Francisco - Victims Were Hurled on a Red Hot Furnace - Bodies Drawn From the Retorts With Pokers - The Dea...Read MORE...

  • 1901 - February 22 - The Pacific Mail Steamship Company's SS City of Rio de Janeiro sinks entering San Francisco Bay, killing 128.
    February 22, 1901

  • 1901 - San Francisco - By the West Gate of the World by Edwin Markham
    If Xenophon had journeyed westward from Athens, pressing beyond the amber caverns of the Baltic, beyond the tin mines of Thule, out past the Gates of ...Read MORE...

  • 1905 - San Francisco - The popsicle was invented by 11-years-old Frank Epperson in 1905. Epperson (1894-?) lived in San Francisco, California.
    Epperson had left a fruit drink out overnight (with a stirrer in it), and it froze, making a new treat. His frozen treat was originally called the Ep...Read MORE...

  • News 1906 - Earthquake
    April 18, 1906 - An earthquake in San Francisco is followed by four days of a devastating fire. An estimated 3,000 lives are lost and damage is estima...Read MORE...

  • News 1906 - October 11 – A United States diplomatic crisis with Japan arises when the San Francisco public school board orders Japanese students to be taught in racially segregated schools.
    October 11, 1906

  • News 1915 - February 20 – In San Francisco the Panama-Pacific International Exposition is opened.
    February 20, 1915

  • News 1916 - July 22 – In San Francisco, California, a bomb explodes on Market Street during a Preparedness Day parade, killing 10 injuring 40
    July 22, 1916

  • News 1917 - January 25 – An anti-prostitution drive in San Francisco occurs and police close about 200 prostitution houses.
    January 25, 1917

  • News 1929 - March 2 – The longest bridge in the world at this time, the San Francisco Bay Toll-Bridge, opens.
    March 2, 1929

  • San Francisco, California, USA
    Fisherman's Wharf
  • News 1933 - January 5 - Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge begins in San Francisco Bay.
    Before the project began, many people thought building the bridge was impossible. And when the construction started, most thought that dozens would di...Read MORE...

  • News 1937 - May 27 – In California, the Golden Gate Bridge opens to pedestrian traffic.
    The next day, with a push of a telegraph button, President Franklin Roosevelt opened the bridge to cars, too.

    The area known as the Golden Gate is...

  • 1939 - February 18 – The Golden Gate International Exposition opens in San Francisco, California.
    February 18, 1939

  • San Francisco, California, USA
    Lower Gardens, Golden Gate State Park, San Francisco, Cal.
  • News June 26, 1945: United Nations charter signed, San Francisco, CA

    The Old Farmer's Almanac
    June 26, 1945

  • San Francisco, California, USA
    Great Highway and Beach Esplanade, San Francisco, Calif.
  • News 1949 - CHINATOWN FIRE DAMAGE $20,000.
    San Francisco, Sept. 9. (AP) - A three alarm fire his Chinatown early Thursday.

    The blaze broke out in the basement of a vacant three story buildin...Read MORE...

  • News 1956 - January 9 - First "Dear Abby" column appears in San Francisco Chronicle
    How Dear Abby column started at The Chronicle
    TODAY'S EXTRA: Her column of sage advice started at The Chronicle
    By Peter Hartlaub Published 4:00 am,...

  • 1962 - January 21 - Snow falls in San Francisco

  • 1989 - October 17 - An earthquake in San Francisco (6.9 on the Richter scale) kills 67 people and leads to the cancellation of game 3 of the World Series.

  • 1989 - October 17 - An earthquake in San Francisco (6.9 on the Richter scale) kills 67 people and leads to the cancellation of game 3 of the World Series.

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Updated: 5/17/2019 3:20:35 PM

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