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History of San Francisco, California

History of San Francisco, California

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The San Francisco area was settled in 1776 by the Spanish officer Juan Bautista de Anza. The original reason for settling there was the construction of a Presidio (fort) designed to guard the entrance to the San Francisco Bay. The fort was a large structure designed to intimidate incoming belligerants.Housing was needed for soldiers stationed at the fort. Father Junipero Serra was assigned to provide a portion of its housing. The area is now called Mission Dolores.Nearly 75 years after the fort was built, the United States seized control of the area in 1846.It was not long after the U.S. In 1848, gold was discovered in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains about 100 miles to the east. People arrived from throughout the country to try their luck at making it rich.Two people of note in San Francisco history are Levi Strauss, inventor of denim blue jeans; and the sculptor Beniamino Benvenuto Bufano.San Francisco also is blessed with historic places that define its uniqueness. They include, but are not limited to:

  • the Presidio of San Francisco,
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area,
  • California Palace of the Legion of Honor,
  • National Maritime Museum of San Francisco,
  • California Academy of Sciences Museum,
  • and the Mexican Museum.
  • San Francisco boasts numerous historic artistic venues and contributors:

  • Davies Symphony Hall
  • War Memorial Opera House
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Geary Theater
  • American Conservatory Theater
  • San Francisco Opera
  • San Francisco Art Institute
  • San Francisco Ballet
  • San Francisco Symphony
  • San Francisco Conservatory of Music
  • Other venues of historic significance are the San Francisco City Hall, George R. Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco Chinatown, Granite Lady, Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, and the Transamerica Pyramid.Higher education has played a significant role in San Francisco history. Institutions of high learning include, but are not limited to, the New College of California, Academy of Art College, Golden Gate University, University of California - San Francisco, University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and University of California Hastings College of Law.Two tests of San Francisco’s civic resolve can be seen in the wakes of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and Loma Prieta, the 1989 earthquake.Though some said it could not be done, San Francisco's ingenuity triumphed when the imposing San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge was built.

    History of UCSF

    One of the world’s leading health sciences universities, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), dates its founding to 1864, when South Carolina surgeon Hugh Toland founded a private medical school in San Francisco.

    Toland had come west in 1849 to seek his fortune in the California Gold Rush, but after a few discouraging months as a miner, he set up a surgical practice in booming San Francisco. As his wealth and influence grew, he purchased land in North Beach and opened Toland Medical College.

    The Affiliated Colleges, initially located at various sites in San Francisco, were united on a site overlooking Golden Gate Park — known today as Parnassus Heights.

    The college prospered, and Toland sought to affiliate with the University of California, which had opened its campus in Berkeley in 1868. UC President Daniel Coit Gilman, who strongly supported science education, set a precedent for the young university by affiliating in 1873 with both Toland Medical College and the California College of Pharmacy. Eight years later, the UC Regents added a dental college.

    The three Affiliated Colleges — also called UC departments — were located at various sites in San Francisco, and after several years there was strong interest in bringing them together. San Francisco Mayor Adolph Sutro donated 13 acres on a site overlooking Golden Gate Park — known today as Parnassus Heights — and the new Affiliated Colleges buildings opened in fall 1898.

    Establishing an Academic Medical Center

    When the great San Francisco earthquake destroyed much of San Francisco and the city’s medical facilities in April 1906, more than 40,000 people took shelter and sought treatment in a tent city in Golden Gate Park, where makeshift outdoor hospitals were set up. The Affiliated Colleges, located on the hill above the encampment in what was then the far western section of the city, suddenly were situated close to a significant population. Faculty sprung into action treating those injured from the earthquake and subsequent fire.

    More than 40,000 people took shelter and sought treatment in a tent city in Golden Gate Park after the great 1906 earthquake in San Francisco.

    Previous interest in establishing a UC teaching hospital on the Parnassus site took on momentum as a civic responsibility to provide care in an area where it was needed. This type of commitment to community service had been put in motion through an 1873 agreement struck by leaders of the Affiliated Colleges with the city to provide patient care at its public health hospital (later named San Francisco General Hospital).

    One of the Affiliated Colleges buildings at Parnassus Heights was renovated as a facility for inpatients, outpatients and dental services, and opened in April 1907 with 75 beds.

    With this new facility came the need to recruit nurses and the opportunity to train nursing students. In 1907, the UC Training School for Nurses was established, adding a fourth professional school to the Affiliated Colleges. To make room for expanded clinical services and instruction on Parnassus, the medical college basic science departments — pathology, anatomy and physiology — moved to the Berkeley campus.

    In 1911, the last member of the American Indian Yahi tribe began living on the Parnassus campus. He was starving when he walked out of the wilderness in Oroville, Calif., capturing the attention of UC anthropologists who brought him to San Francisco. They named him Ishi, for “man” in the Yahi language. Over the next few years, UC physicians and anthropologists learned about Yahi culture from Ishi, and on weekends, hundreds flocked to the anthropology museum to watch him demonstrate arrow-making and other life skills. He continued to live on Parnassus until 1916, when he died of tuberculosis.

    Geology and Natural History of the San Francisco Bay Area A Field-Trip Guidebook

    A National Association of Geoscience Teachers Far Western Section (NAGT-FWS) field conference is an ideal forum for learning about the geology and natural history of the San Francisco Bay area. We visit classic field sites, renew old friendships, and make new ones. This collection of papers includes field guides and road logs for all of the Bay-area trips held during the NAGT-FWS 2001 Fall Field Conference and supplemental chapters on other aspects of the area&rsquos natural and human history. The trips touch on many aspects of the geology and natural hazards of the Bay area, especially urban problems associated with living on an active tectonic plate margin: earthquake faults, coastal erosion, landslides, and the utilization of land and natural resources. We hope this conference not only provides a two-day learning opportunity for conference participants but that students and educators will use this field guidebook for future teaching and research.

    Many thanks are due to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and San José State University (SJSU) for cohosting the conference. We are grateful to each of the field trip leaders for preparing the trips and writing the accompanying guides. We especially appreciate the many hours put in by the guidebook reviewers, Robert I. Tilling (USGS) and Paula Messina (SJSU), and to the USGS Western Publications Group for editing, layout, and web posting. Additional guidebook contributions include articles by John Galloway, Scott Starratt, Page Mosier, and Susan Toussaint. During the conference guest speakers include Robert I. Tilling (USGS Volcano Hazards Team) and Ross Stein (USGS Earthquake Hazards Team). Workshops prepared for the conference include GIS in the classroom, using USGS data by John Vogel (USGS) and Paula Messina (SJSU), and The Best of BAESI (Bay Area Earth Science Institute), a teacher training organization under the direction of Ellen Metzger (SJSU) and Richard Sedlock (SJSU). The conference provides an opportunity to showcase USGS scientific and education resources with self-guided tours of the USGS Library, the Earth Science Information Center (ESIC), the Visitor Center, and various laboratories on the USGS campus and includes a half-day participatory tour of the USGS research vessel the R/V Polaris and the USGS Marine Facility at the Port of Redwood City under the direction of Cynthia L. Brown, Francis Parchaso, and Tara Schraga. Beyond the names mentioned above, a host of USGS and SJSU staff, SJSU students, and NAGT-FWS members contributed to the preparation and orchestration of the conference. We couldn&rsquot have done it alone. Leslie C. Gordon (USGS), Philip W. Stoffer (USGS), and Deborah Harden (SJSU) NAGT-FWS 2001 Fall Field Conference Organizers

    Satellite image of San Francisco Bay area processed by Michael J. Rymer, USGS. Data from Landsat 5, path 44, row 34, bands 7, 4, and 2 in a respective red, green, and blue (RGB) assemblage. Date of imagery November 30, 1991.

    This report consists of six field trip guides and five articles available here as Portable Document Format (PDF) files. Each guide and article can be downloaded separately or the entire field guide can be downloaded as one document.

    The Beginning of Chinatown

    The first Chinese arrived in San Francisco in 1848: a man and two women. And only two years later, 20,000 Chinese arrived in "Gold Mountain".

    Eureka! Gold in the Hills

    In January of 1848, gold was discovered in the Sierra foothills, and The Gold Rush was on.

    When word of the gold discovery reached China, many men left their homes and took ship for California. San Francisco was the port of entry, and the place where miners got provisions before heading inland to the gold fields. Chinese merchants began building shops in what is now Chinatown this area used to be about a block from the bay and was essentially the first port of San Francisco.

    History of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission

    Fifty years ago, three remarkable women convinced the State of California to create the world&rsquos first coastal protection agency – BCDC. Kay Kerr, Sylvia McLaughlin, and Esther Gulick looked west from their East Bay living rooms and saw a shoreline and wetlands being defiled by garbage and development. The Bay was endangered – an average of four square miles of the Bay had been filled during each of the previous 110 years. Action was needed, and the three women founded the Save San Francisco Bay Association (now known simply as Save the Bay).

    Filling the Bay certainly was not a new endeavor. For years, the Bay had been filled to provide more space for ports, industry, airports, houses, and garbage dumps (both formally and unofficially). Three factors make San Francisco Bay especially susceptible to being filled: much of the Bay is very shallow (about two thirds of it is less than 18 feet deep) large portions of the Bay bottom along the shoreline are in private ownership and, political control of the Bay is fragmented among scores of public agencies and jurisdictions. In 1849, as California&rsquos Gold Rush was beginning, the Bay was 787 square miles in size. Today it is approximately 550 square miles. One plan, promoted by the U.S. Department of Commerce in the late 1950s looking forward 75 years, would have resulted in about 325 additional square miles of fill. The Bay would have become little more than a broad river.

    At Save the Bay&rsquos urging, the McAteer-Petris Act was enacted in 1965. It established BCDC as a temporary state agency, designated the San Francisco Bay as a State-protected resource, and charged the Commission with preparing a plan for the long-term use of the Bay and regulating development in and around the Bay while the plan was being prepared. BCDC was established as the Nation&rsquos first coastal zone management agency. For purposes of clarity, it should be noted that the estuary known as San Francisco Bay – which comprises BCDC's Bay jurisdiction – actually is comprised of eight separate bays: Suisun Bay San Pablo Bay Honker Bay Richardson Bay San Rafael Bay San Leandro Bay Grizzly Bay and, finally, San Francisco Bay itself.

    BCDC&rsquos initial San Francisco Bay Plan was approved in 1968 and BCDC was made permanent one year later. The Bay Plan is updated regularly so that the Bay and its shoreline are used responsibly and to address new issues as the Bay Area changes. The Plan includes policies on issues critical to the Bay ranging from port activities and public access to urban development and transportation. The Bay Plan maps the entire Bay and designates areas for water-related purposes such as ports, industry, public recreation, airports, and wildlife refuges.

    The McAteer-Petris Act is the key legal provision in California state law to prevent indiscriminate Bay fill. BCDC has permitting responsibility to ensure that appropriate and environmentally sound development provides public benefits and economic development for the entire region. BCDC was not created to obviate or supersede the authority of cities, counties, and special districts that are located along the Bay and its shoreline. Instead, its role is to view the Bay as an entire system, which is impossible for more narrowly focused governmental bodies. Throughout its history, BCDC has learned that its most notable successes are produced by coordinating, collaborating, and/or partnering with governments at all levels and with a wide variety of other stakeholders. This cooperation is vital given that BCDC&rsquos jurisdiction for public access issues extends 100 feet from the Bay through immediate shoreline starting at mean high tide.

    In 1977, California expanded the Commission's authority to provide special protection for the Suisun Marsh. The Marsh is the &ldquomixing zone&rdquo that connects the Bay with the Delta. It is the largest contiguous brackish marsh on the west coast of North America more than 10% of California&rsquos remaining wetlands and more than 300 species, including 80% of the State&rsquos commercial salmon fishery, are found in the marsh. Therefore, BCDC has a great incentive to work closely with the organizations and interests that are associated with Bay and Delta water issues. The environmental, economic, and social connections between and among the Bay, the Suisun Marsh, and the Delta should be understood as assets to all residents of the greater Bay Area and California, and they are all subject to climate change.

    Today, BCDC&rsquos accomplishments are evident all around the Bay and within its shoreline. Before BCDC was created, families didn&rsquot stroll on bayside trails because none existed. The shoreline was filled with garbage dumps, industrial development, and little else. The Bay&rsquos wetlands and wildlife were vanishing.

    After fifty years of groundbreaking stewardship, the size of the Bay has increased significantly. The Bay hosts the nation&rsquos largest urban wildlife refuge and thousands of acres of permanently protected diked former Baylands. The Bay shoreline is now fringed by hundreds of miles of trails, parks, beaches, promenades and restoration projects – even in heavily urbanized and industrial locales. In 1965, opponents of the proposed McAteer-Petris legislation argued that saving the Bay could only be achieved at the cost of sacrificing economic growth. Contrary to this fear, the Bay Area economy has continued to expand, in part because the Commission has approved billions of dollars of construction and worked with local governments on special area plans to encourage appropriate new development.

    BCDC is the federally-designated state coastal management agency for the San Francisco Bay segment of the California coastal zone. This designation empowers the Commission to use the authority of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act to ensure that federal projects and activities are consistent with the policies of the Bay Plan and state law.

    Twenty-seven individuals sit as Commissioners. They represent a wide variety of public, private, and nonprofit sector interests. The Governor appoints the Chair and Vice-Chair, along with three other individuals. County Supervisors represent each of the nine counties that touch the Bay, elected officials represent four bayside cities, and other Commissioners represent state and federal agencies with an interest in Bay issues.

    History of San Francisco, California - History

    State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

    “I think,” continued Mr. Semple, “that here, above all places in the Union, we should have, and we possess the resources to have, a well regulated system of education. Education, sir, is the foundation, sir, is the foundation of republican institutions the school system suits the genius and the spirit of our form of government. If the people are to govern themselves, they should be qualified to do it. They must be educated they must educate their children they must provide means for the diffusion of knowledge and the progress of enlightened principles.”

    Such was the vision of the one of the leaders in that body of wise men who drafted the original organic law of California accepted by Congress as the basis for admission into the Union in 1850. That splendid vision is being realized today in the great school system of California, which stands pre-eminent among the school systems of the world.

    Today, the public school system of California which had not come into being at the time Semple spoke so eloquently in its behalf, now enrolls more than a million people in all its branches. It offers opportunity to all human beings who are capable of being educated, and aims to train each to serve himself and his community to fullest and best advantage, according to his capabilities and to enjoy life while serving. Over one-fourth of the population of the state was enrolled in various branches of the school system during 1924.

    No other state can boast of the enrollment of so large a proportion of its population. No other people has been so generous in its support of education as the people of California. The vision of Semple and other pioneer statesmen has been realized.

    Americans who came to the Golden West in the great gold rush did not wait, however, for the adoption of the constitution in order to establish schools. A love for public education seemingly is inborn in Americans, and this love manifested itself in California even before Marshall’s great discovery at Coloma.

    Before California became American territory at least one American school had been established within the confines of what has become our state. In the autumn of 1846 a band of American immigrants straggled into Santa Clara county after a tedious and hazardous journey across the plains. With the band was a young woman who afterward became Mrs. Olive M. Isbell. It was she who opened the first school for American children in California, in an old adobe near Santa Clara Mission in December, 1846. She must have been a patient service-loving soul.

    Before her death some years ago in Ventura county she told how, in the absence of slate, a blackboard or paper, she wrote the alphabet on the backs of her pupil’s hands in order that they might learn the rudiments of our language. A few months later she moved to Monterey, where she opened a school in the old custom house, later to become historic as the place where Sloat and Larkin first raised the American flag to mark the beginning of American occupation of California.

    Shortly after Mrs. Isbell opened her little school at Santa Clara a Mr. Marston opened a private school in San Francisco. It was held in a little shanty located on the block between Broadway and Pacific streets, west of Dupont [Grant Ave.]. However, inasmuch as the teacher was not attentive to his duties, the school lasted less than a year.

    To forestall a lapse in education, the ayuntimento, or town council, late in 1847, erected a one-room school house on the town plaza, now Portsmouth Square. The school was under public control, but was supported almost entirely by tuition fees. The school opened in April 1848, with Thomas Douglas as teacher, but it was ill starred. Word soon came from up the river that gold had been discovered at Coloma and Mr. Douglas, singularly thoughtless of his little flock of children, deserted overnight to seek his fortune in the “diggin’s.”

    In October, 1849, John C. Pelton opened a school in the old Baptist Church in San Francisco, depending entirely upon voluntary subscriptions for its support. It was free only to poor children. In the spring of 1850 the city council came to his assistance and adopted an ordinance making it free public school, the first in California. The school continued under the original ordinance until September, 1851, when it was reorganized under an ordinance providing for a city board of education and a city superintendent. The first superintendent, T.J. Nevins outlined the organization for the first city school system in the state. It was he who proposed the establishment of the San Francisco high school, the grading of the school, the grading of schools and the adoption of a uniform course of study.


    The sporadic local attempts at education which I have mentioned gave way to the beginning of a comprehensive state school system under the Constitution of 1849, which enjoined the legislature to encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral and agricultural improvement.

    The Constitution set aside a vast domain of public lands to be sold for the benefit of the permanent public school fund, which now amounts to over $9,000,000, and required the maintenance of a public school in each district of the state for at least three months each year.

    The provisions of the California Constitution relating to education were borrowed, almost word for word, from the Constitution of Michigan, which had been admitted to the Union only 12 years before and had established a splendid school system for that time.

    The legislature of 1849-1850 was kept so busy laying the foundations of law and order in California that it found no time for enacting a school code. Near the close of the session the committee on education reported taxes were so heavy it was deemed inadvisable to tax the people still further for the support of schools-- an argument which persists in some sections of California even to this day.

    The legislature of 1851, however, which was revised by the succeeding legislature under the direction of John G. Marvin, the first superintendent of public instruction. It was under this law that the early schools were organized in the state. The law, still imperfect, served fairly well for a full decade.


    It was not until John Swett became superintendent of public instruction in 1863 that the California school system got its stride. No statesman produced by California is entitled to greater honor than John Swett. Other statesmen have achieved great things in the field of politics, but Swett achieved great things in behalf of children who had no votes to reward him for his faithful service.

    In 1862 war feeling ran high in California and the loyalists organized themselves into the Union party. The party convention met in Sacramento to nominate a ticket. Some of Swett’s friends urged the young man’s name for the office of state superintendent and he finally consented to the presentation of his candidacy.

    The representatives of the mining and agricultural counties did not respond to his candidacy at first. they were skeptical about him, first because he came from San Francisco, and second because one of his opponents pointed out that Swett hadn’t a “classical education.”

    Like William Jennings Bryan at Chicago in 1896, John Swett won the nomination by making a speech to the convention, in which he showed those hard-fisted miners that he had grit as well as capacity. He was elected by an overwhelming majority and entered into the discharge of his duties at the age of 33.

    Swett found the laws relative to schools were a patchwork. Teachers were underpaid and most of them had little professional training. With little assistance in the office, Swett found the task of reorganization a heavy one. He was obliged to make long journeys to distant part of the state to visit schools and acquaint himself with the school situation.

    In the days of the stage coach the time spent in necessary travel was very great, while the hardships of travel were such as only a young man could endure without breaking under the strain. How he found time to do the constructive work that marked his term is almost a marvel.

    During his term Swett secured the passage of laws creating a state board of education, providing for teachers’ institutes where poorly equipped teachers might get help, organizing the schools into grades, establishing school libraries, providing for the certification of teachers and laying a splendid financial basis for the support of public education.

    Before the close of his term he had secured the abolition of rate bills under which parents were charged tuition and made the schools absolutely free in all districts for at least five months each year. He succeeded in having school boards build better school houses, secured necessary increases in teachers’ salaries and lengthened the school year. Since the time of Horace Mann, the public schools had found no more ardent champion than John Swett.

    Since the days of Semple and Swett the California schools have developed by leaps and bounds. No layman has had an adequate conception of the extent or complexity of our school system. The lowest division of the school system in point of age is the kindergarten, and California’s kindergarten enrollment is larger than that of any other state. However, some of the larger cities have found it necessary in working districts to go beyond the kindergarten and establish days nurseries for the care of children of working mothers.

    The elementary schools are represented in every district of the state. High schools enrolling over 300,000 students offer unparalleled opportunities to young people, while their evening classes enroll over 30,000 adults or near adults. The State University and teachers’ colleges enroll over 30,000 students.

    California believes in education and has manifested her faith in schooling in very substantial ways. She has carried out the promise of Semple and Swett by supporting a school system that provides in full measure “means for the diffusion of knowledge and the progress of enlightened principles.” The Bulletin
    Diamond Jubilee Edition
    September 1925

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    History of San Francisco, California - History

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    San Francisco Music and Culture - 1965-1969

    Welcome! The San Francisco Historical Society exists to uncover, preserve, and present,
    in engaging ways, the colorful and diverse history of our city from its earliest days to the present.

    We plan to re-open our museum at 608 Commercial Street on July 1st.
    Thursday, Friday, Saturday
    10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    We plan to re-open our museum at 608 Commercial Street on July 1st.
    Thursday, Friday, Saturday
    10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Press Release – 10/28/20: San Francisco Historical Society Opposes Renaming Schools
    In a letter to the Board of Education, dated October 29, 2020, the San Francisco Historical Society has
    stated its opposition to the renaming of the city’s schools as proposed by the Names Advisory Committee
    of the Board of Education as authorized in Board Resolution No. 184-10A1. More…

    Peonage & Indentured Servitude

    The slave labor of Black and Indigenous people were far from the only forms of unfree labor that built early American California.

    During the gold rush, a dizzying array of people from around the world came to California under a huge variety of circumstances. “The gold fields are one of the most ethnically and racially diverse places on the globe,” says Smith. “The expectations that people from the Eastern United States have, that there are two kinds of labor, slave and free, collide with all of these regionally distinctive labor systems from other parts of the world.”

    Chilean and Sonoran (people from northern Mexico) peones were brought by patrones, essentially feudal lords, to work in the gold fields. While these laborers came under less than free conditions, it was difficult for patrones to control their subordinates once they arrived in California. There are reports of ships from Latin America sailing through the Golden Gate and passengers jumping ship and swimming ashore to go seek their own fortune.

    Hawaiian laborers were leased to American companies to work in California for three-year periods by their aristocratic ruling class, the Ali’i, who would then get a cut of the workers’ earnings. While their contracts stipulated that the workers must be brought home after their work period, many ended up staying on in California, working in the maritime trades or inter-marrying with California Indians.

    In the early part of the Gold Rush, Chinese “coolies,” an anachronistic British term describing indentured laborers from Asia, were brought under similar arrangements, with American or Western companies paying for their travel and then forcing them to work off the debt. But after 1851, most Chinese men came by way of their own countrymen, through the credit-ticket system, facilitated by the Chinese Six Companies in San Francisco. These men were in a form of debt bondage, but it was not as vicious or strict as other forms, particularly the coolie labor taking place in Cuba, where conditions in some cases resembled those faced by enslaved Black people.

    Many Chinese men came to California, which they called Jinshan, Gold Mountain, of their own volition, similar to migrants from across the United States and elsewhere in the world. Guangdong (Canton), where most of the early Chinese migrants to California originated from, was in a turbulent moment, suffering from natural disasters, colonialism, and the Opium Wars, leading many able-bodied men to leave the homeland.

    Still, labor conditions for Chinese workers in America were often extremely exploitative and unjust, especially during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s. Chinese laborers were paid 30 percent less than their white counterparts, and unlike them, had to purchase their own food, according to Stanford’s Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project. While railroad company records didn’t include the names of individual Chinese laborers — a sign of the way they were treated — historians believe anywhere from 150 to 1,000 Chinese men died during construction of the railroad.

    A History of UCSF

    Well before individual practitioners succeeded in organizing themselves into professional societies, the needs of the public’s health prompted official government action on behalf of the San Francisco citizens. The task of removing the seriously ill or indigent from the streets and the threat of major epidemics prompted the city to provide for hospital care, first in tents and board sheds under supervision of contracting physicians. In 1850 a state bill appropriated $50,000 to build a State Marine Hospital in San Francisco.

    Meanwhile, in 1851 the U.S. Congress created a U.S. Marine Hospital in San Francisco, which was completed in 1853 and provided accommodations for an additional 500 patients. In 1855 the State Marine Hospital building was transformed into the City and County Hospital of San Francisco, supported by fees collected by a public health officer who inspected every vessel that entered the port.

    In 1854, six Sisters of Mercy arrived from Ireland. They won praise for cleaning up the hospital environment after a series of scandals over poor care and for nursing patients through cholera and smallpox. The Sisters of Mercy stayed in San Francisco and continued to provide hospital care in a setting that eventually became St. Mary’s Hospital. By 1857 the City and County Hospital was located in the former North Beach School at the southwest corner of Francisco and Stockton Streets. In order to help relieve crowding, in 1867 the city of San Francisco built a large almshouse near Laguna Honda on eighty acres of city-owned land on the western side of Twin Peaks. The following year the city created a 24-bed smallpox isolation hospital on the Laguna Honda grounds.

    In 1858 California surgeon Elias Samuel Cooper organized the Medical Department of the University of the Pacific with a board of trustees consisting of ten clergymen and three physicians. The first session opened in May 1859, with a class of ten attending lectures in materia medica, chemistry, physiology, anatomy and medical jurisprudence. Dr. Cooper's death in 1862 brought confusion to the new school, and in 1864 the Pacific Medical faculty "suspended" activities and joined Dr. Hugh Toland in his efforts to found a viable medical school in San Francisco.

    As San Francisco's population continued to grow, Hugh Toland's influence and wealth also increased, earning an estimated $40,000 per year. In 1864, he decided to establish a medical school in San Francisco and purchased land for that purpose in North Beach, at Stockton and Francisco, opposite the San Francisco City and County Hospital. A handsome building was soon completed, and Toland Medical College was open for enrolment. Clinical instruction and dissecting experience were the centerpieces of Toland's educational program, reflecting his training and experience in Parisian hospitals where clinical findings were carefully correlated with autopsy results.

    The school catalogue reflected Toland's insistence on the importance of clinical instruction. Lectures were given at San Francisco City and County Hospital

    where a "senior student examines the patient announces the diagnosis and prognosis and views about treatment before class, discussion follows, complete clinical histories are kept and there are broad opportunities for autopsies." Just a month after classes began, the state of California approved a dissection law permitting pauper bodies to be studied by accredited physicians, thus opening the way for Toland students to gain experience doing dissection.

    Toland's first class consisted of eight students, mostly drawn from the Cooper Medical College. The faculty of this lapsed medical college were asked to serve on the Toland roster, and Drs. Levi Cooper Lane, Henry Gibbons, Sr., and John F. Morse joined the faculty with some ambivalence. Significantly, R. Beverly Cole, the Dean and professor of obstetrics and diseases of women and children at Cooper, was not asked by Toland to join his new faculty.

    The Toland Medical College quickly prospered. Its faculty of eight offered two four-month courses costing $130 and leading to the degree of doctor of medicine. In the valedictory address to the first graduating class of Toland Medical College in 1865, Toland urged his graduates to devote a portion of every day to the study of monographs and medical journals to remain professionally competitive. While boasting that he had built and furnished the school with his own resources, Toland also made a direct pitch to the new alumni to help their alma mater by supplying medical books. "When success crowns your efforts," he urged, "contribute in proportion to your ability and prepare a niche in this institution which will bear your names and transmit them to posterity."

    R. Beverly Cole returned from a tour of Europe in 1867 and was appointed Surgeon General of the State of California in recognition of his valuable public health efforts. As a member of the Outside Lands Committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Cole became a well-known figure in the city's political arena. He supported the establishment of Golden Gate Park on the western edge of the city. Cole simultaneously persuaded the local health board to condemn the old City and County Hospital building, and a new institution was planned at Potrero Nuevo, a site nearly four miles southeast of Toland's College. The impression among San Francisco's medical fraternity was that Cole had finally achieved his revenge for Toland's past rebuffs by weakening the College's vital link to the world of clinical medicine. Eventually, however, Dr. Cole would join the Toland medical faculty and become instrumental in the affiliation negotiations with the University of California.

    By 1870, Toland Medical College had a class of thirty students and had already granted diplomas to forty-five graduates. In that year, Toland sought to affiliate his medical school to the University of California, which itself was not yet two years old. In March 1873, the trustees deeded the Toland Medical College to the University of California Regents and the faculty minutes for the first time bore the heading, "The Medical Department of the University of California."

    R. Beverly Cole became the dean and twenty-seven students were enrolled in the first class. Toland's donation was appraised at the time at $100,000 in buildings, lands, and instructional equipment, a gift that substantially increased the holdings of the young state university. On September 15, 1874, the regents adopted a resolution stating that "young women offering themselves for admission and passing the required examination must be received to all the privileges of the Medical Department." Responding to this new policy, schoolteacher Lucy Wanzer matriculated and in 1876 became the first female graduate of the Medical Department of the University of California. Many other young women followed her precedent, among them Mayor Adolf Sutro's daughter. In the subsequent five decades, roughly 10 percent of each graduating class was female, far in advance of the national average of 4 percent.

    History of San Francisco, California - History

    Early drawings and paintings of San Francisco

    On July 31, 1846, a weary company of about 220 Latter-day Saints passed through the rocky portals of the Golden Gate, anticipating the end of a difficult six-month voyage which took them around the southern tip of South America . --The Voyage of the Brooklyn - By David R. Crockett

    On July 9, 1846 Commander J. B. Montgomery raised the American Frag

    What a strange town was that, the San Francisco of 1856, its 30,000 people in speedy transition from a city of tents and shacks to one of brick and stone buildings. --San Francisco in 1856 [SF Museum]

    Ferry Building built. Ferry transit has played a significant role in San Francisco Bay for almost 150 years. Vessels which brought people during gold rush days were utilized for San Francisco-Sacramento and cross-bay service. Eclipsed by highway and bridge construction during the 1930's, a faster generation of ferries are once more becoming valuable cross-bay connectors offering alternatives to congestion in some corridors, and as emergency alternatives to these same highways and bridges.

    Transbay ferry service began in 1850, with the establishment of a route between San Francisco and the Oakland Estuary, served by the "Kangaroo". In 1852, Oakland granted what was to be the first Bay ferry franchise to a "reliable" operator of a public ferry. Over the last century and a half, up to thirty major cross-bay ferry ah existed, serving 29 destinations. The great period of ferry transit reached its peak in the 1930's, when 60 million persons crossed the bay annually, along with 6 million autos. (26)

    The Ferry Building was the second busiest transportation terminal in the world in the early 1930s. Each day, some 250,000 persons travelled through the Perry Building to work or other destinations. Ferries made approximately 170 landings a day at this time, and the Ferry Building was served by trolley lines which left every 20 seconds for city destinations. Ferries to Oakland could carry 4,000 persons, and were designed to incorporate restaurants, shoe shine parlors, and luxury surroundings, including mohair hangings, teak chairs, hammered copper lighting fixtures, and leather chairs in the ladies lounges. The highly efficient Key Route ferry/train transfer at the Oakland Mole enabled 9,000 commuters to load and unload in . --Regional Ferry Plan San Francisco Bay Area - Final Report - September 1992

    History of San Francisco, California - History

    Colombus' voyages to the "New World" were just the beginning of the intermingling of peoples and cultures that formed our nation this rich and varied history is reflected in the prehistoric and historic sites, buildings, structures, objects and districts found throughout the land. The National Register of Historic Places can guide you through our history with Discover Our Shared Heritage--a series of travel itineraries that explore our country's past through visiting places listed in the National Register of Historic Places which reflect major aspects of American history, such as exploration and settlement and cultural diversity.

    The first explorers and settlers of Coastal California were American Indians. The most expansive European colonizations efforts were made by the Spanish. On September 28, 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and his crew entered San Diego Bay--the first Europeans to visit California. The land they named "Alta California" was occupied by diverse groups of native people who had inhabited the land for thousands of years. Spanish colonization of "Alta California" began when the Presidio at San Diego, the first permanent European settlement on the Pacific Coast, was established in 1769. With the expedition was Father Junipero Serra, a Franciscan Father who would have a tremendous influence in the colonization of California through the establishment of missions. At San Diego, Serra founded the first of 21 Spanish missions that extend along the California coast. In October of the same year, a detachment of the expedition saw San Francisco Bay.

    Presidio of San Francisco in the foreground
    National Park Service photo

    The missions were an important aspect of Spanish colonization. At the missions, Native Americans were converted to Christianity and taught various skills. The Spanish divided California into four military districts, each under the jurisdiction of a military establishment or presidio, which protected several missions and vast areas of land. The presidios also served to reinforce Spanish control over the native people. Presidios were established at San Diego, Santa Barbara, Monterey, and San Francisco.

    In 1821 Mexico gained independence from Spain and "Alta California" became a Mexican province rather than a Spanish colony. A new era began in California as ranch life flourished and American trappers began to enter the territory. The Mexican government secularized the missions in 1834 and they were eventually abandoned. In June 1846 a party of settlers occupied Sonoma Plaza and proclaimed a Republic of California and raised the bear flag in rebellion. Known as the Bear Flag Revolt, this insurrection represented one of the first aggressive actions that divided California from Mexico. In 1848 gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill and dramatically altered the course of California's history as miners rushed into the area. On September 9, 1850, California became a state. The Gold Rush brought thousands of immigrants, both foreign and domestic, to California. This and later mass migrations, combined with the state's natural riches, assured Calfornia's success as it developed its diversified agriculture and industry, fisheries, forestry, and mining industries, aircraft plants and shipyards, tourism and recreation, the film industry, and the technological sector epitomized by Silicon Valley (highlighted in another National Register itinerary: Santa Clara County: California's Historic Silicon Valley).

    Old Pasadena Historic District
    Photo courtesy of Old Pasadena Management District

    This National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary links National Parks with places listed in the National Register that illustrate early periods of Coastal California's history. The 45 historic places highlighted in this itinerary can teach us about the contributions of the various people who settled in what became the United States of America. The itinerary includes a map showing the location of these historic places along with a brief description of their importance in our nation's past. Use this guide for locating interesting historic places in conjunction with your travel to Coastal California. Visitors may be intersted in Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, located along the California Coast.

    Watch the video: California History: How did California become a State? (July 2022).


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