san francisco history

A brief history of San Francisco…


The City by the bay is rich with stories  of people who created and sometimes lost massive fortunes, people who made changes in the world through their innovation, beliefs and inventions.

Stories that include economic booms and busts that occurred right from the very start.

While some archaeologists believe that San Francisco was occupied at least from the 6th century by the Ohlone Indians, we will begin our brief sprint through time with the founding of the Mission de Francisco de Asís in 1776.

In the 1830s San Francisco had become a very active trading village.

By 1848 the town had grown to about eight 800 people.When Sam Brannan announced in his newspaper the discovery of gold in 1849, the news spread like wildfire and the world rushed in to seek its fortune.

Mission Dolores de Asís, founded in 1776

The population exploded with people from all parts of the globe, transforming the small town into an instant international city.

Nowhere before or since has a city been created so quickly and for the adventurous reason of searching for gold. The lure of such potential wealth was intoxicating.


By 1852 as a result of this gold rush the population had grown to 36,000 from a mere 800 just 4 years before!

In 1859 another discovery would provide yet more dramatic expansion. Known as the “Comstock Lode”, this was the beginning of the “Silver Rush”, more people rushed in, and the population grew exponentially again.  In the 1860’s, the building of the Central Pacific Railroad provided yet another boost bringing the population to just under 150,000 in 1870.

As we fast forward through time, San Francisco was part of countless events, including the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906, the Pan Pacific Exposition, the Great Depression and the many influences of the New Deal.

San Francisco Harbor, 1851

Sudden wealth in San Francisco created a demand for art in the City for the first time. This book is an entertaining insight into those early days and creation of our community.

The building of the Golden Gate Bridge, the World’s Fair at Treasure Island, signing of the United Nations Charter, Summer of Love, building of the Transamerica Pyramid,  and the dot.com technology boom.

The City has grown and evolves, however, it has not lost the powerful elements that made it so attractive in the first place.

As in those very early days, people from many cultures and countries continue to be attracted to San Francisco’s beauty and international character.

Rich with diverse geography, architecture and people, there are hills (43 of them to be exact), countless parks, over 350 stairways, its famous Victorian architecture, cable cars,  and let’s not forget our mystical Karl the Fog.


The ocean is minutes away, and the wilderness of the Marin Headlands is just across the Golden Gate Bridge.


It is anyone’s guess what the future will bring to San Francisco.

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