Curbed SF – If you thought the Silicon Valley folks were rolling in dough, those guys have nothing on the original Bay Area whales. From railroads to mining to merchants, the historic money makers of yore dominated the west, and had the luxurious spreads to prove it. Mark Hopkins mansion: bigger than your house [Photo: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY] The Central Pacific Railroad, the western portion of… read more…
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Curbed SF – Our Curbed NY siblings recently published some photos on the construction history of NYC, and it got us thinking about our own fair city’s earliest days of building. People today complain that it takes forever to get anything built in San Francisco, and while the process is mindnumbingly slow, construction was once booming. Here now, historic photos of the some of the… read more…
Curbed SF – CASTRO – The Twin Peaks Tavern at 401 Castro Street is up for landmark designation for its association with LGBT history. Opened in 1972, the spot is known as the first gay bar in San Francisco to feature large expanses of glass, as opposed to hiding bar patrons. The Planning Department conducted a bunch of oral histories with one of the original owners and lots of long-term… read more…
Curbed SF – One of the largest remaining historic estates in the Peninsula is up for sale for the first time since its construction. The Flood Estate at 331 Greer Road in Woodside has been in the same family since it was built in 1941. With a mind-boggling 92 acres, the property features a 9,000-square-foot Colonial Revival style main house with 9 bedrooms and 8½ bathrooms,… read more…
Curbed SF – The Olympics Ticket Center at Squaw Valley [Photo: LA 84 Foundation] In honor of the the 2012 Olympics starting on Friday, we decided to feature the not-so-hidden history of the last Olympic games in Northern California, the 1960 Lake Tahoe winter Olympics. read more…
Welcome to Curbed’s ongoing series titled Hidden History, where Curbed Contributor Alex Bevk highlights a Bay Area location with a secret past. Maybe it’s no longer there, maybe it’s been converted into something else, but each spot holds a place in SF history – even if not many people know it. Have a suggestion or know a place with a secret history? The tipline’s always open, or you can leave a comment after the… read more…
Public spaces change fast here in San Francisco, and for better or worse, it can be pretty crazy when you see what the City used to look like. Every week, we’ll bring you Then & Now, a comparison of historic photos of the Bay Area with current views from the same perspective. Have a suggestion for a photo comparison that looks totally different (or shockingly the same)? Drop us a tip in the Curbed… read more…
Curbed SF – For most people, Julia Morgan designed Hearst Castle. End of story— except that story leaves out out her prolific San Francisco and East Bay career entirely. Morgan was the go-to architect for progressive women, whether Phoebe Hearst or college sorority connections, with a practice that ranged from from graceful shingled houses to YWCAs and Mills College, where she designed… read more…
From BestOnlineColleges.com – Ancient mosques, fortified palaces, Native American archeological ruins, and architectural wonders make up some of the world’s most attractive historical sites. But aside from the staples of tourist destinations, like Mt. Rushmore and Pisa’s Leaning Tower, there are plenty of other historical sites that lay beneath the radar but are equally as mesmerizing. Sites that are near celebrity attractions are often eclipsed by more popular tourist destinations — the selected list below highlights some truly unique historical sites that have been overlooked for too long. These are the ones you may have missed in your textbooks.
See these top 6 attractions here.
Guest Post by: Sam Marquit
Millions from all over the world, including residents (like me) of New York City apartments, make the journey to the Western Coast and visit historic San Francisco, California. Native Americans lived here for thousands of years before Spaniards and other European explorers arrived. The many sites of the city include the infamous prison, world famous bridges and an immigration story that rivals New York.
Originally a military fort and prison, Alcatraz became a federal prison in 1934. Touted as escape proof, the facility housed hundreds of the most dangerous and notorious criminals in American history. Famed former inmates included Al Capone, “Machine Gun” Kelly and Robert Stroud, the “Birdman of Alcatraz.” The facility closed in the 1960s because of the expenses involved with maintaining the island. Millions of visitors travel to the destination by ferry to get a glimpse of the cell house interior. The prison also contains a museum that details the island’s history from military installation, through the prison years, and the brief Native American occupation.
Golden Gate Bridge
Designed by Joseph B. Strauss and constructed in 1937, the iconic bridge continues attracting millions of visitors annually. Guests may walk, bike or drive across the 1.7-mile span, which rises 746 feet above the water. Many simply enjoy the view from either end. The north end of the expansion bridge features a naval memorial and the south end has gardens, a café and the bridge pavilion. Historic Fort Point lies under the bridge. Constructed during the Civil War, at the height of the California Gold Rush, the fort protected the harbor until 1970 when the location became a national historic site.
From the days of the California Gold Rush, over a century ago, fishermen docked their boats, set off to sea and returned with their catch to Fisherman’s Wharf. The variety of fresh seafood commonly caught included Dungeness crab. During those early days, there were no restaurants or visitor attractions. On the piers, fishermen set up cauldrons filled with boiling water, cooking the crab and selling their wares. Today, only a few dozen fishing vessels leave port every morning, but the location holds numerous attractions that include historic ferries and schooners at the Maritime National History Park and the SS Jeremiah liberty ship.
Considered the Ellis Island of the West Coast, Angel Island served as an immigration processing location from 1910 to 1940. Over one million Asian immigrants arrived here. Many remained on the island for years because of government restrictions concerning Asian immigration. With government approval, the Chinese American community obtained recognition of the island as a state landmark in 1962.
Having well over 100,000 residents, Chinatown in San Francisco is the largest Asian community outside of China. Hoisanese and Zhongshanese Chinese immigrants began arriving here in 1849. Those who successfully landed in San Francisco developed a community for support, as the new arrivals only possessed blue-collar skills and did not speak the language. The community steadily grew, establishing restaurants, shops and municipalities. Today, the area spans over 24 blocks and features typical Oriental styled buildings, Chinese gardens and a large selection of businesses.