Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California

20 May 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, San Francisco Bay Area, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  7 minutes

Map of Golden Gate National Recreation Area © nps.gov

Map of Golden Gate National Recreation Area © nps.gov

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) is a U.S. National Recreation Area protecting 82,027 acres (33,195 ha) of ecologically and historically significant landscapes surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area. Much of the park is land formerly used by the United States Army. GGNRA is managed by the National Park Service and is one of the most visited units of the National Park system in the United States, with more than 15 million visitors a year. It is also one of the largest urban parks in the world, with a size two-and-a-half times that of the consolidated city and county of San Francisco.   read more…

San Francisco Ferry Building

1 February 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Architecture, House of the Month, San Francisco Bay Area Reading Time:  20 minutes

Ferry from Sausalito arriving at the Ferry Building © flickr.com - Clay Gilliland/cc-by-sa-2.0

Ferry from Sausalito arriving at the Ferry Building © flickr.com – Clay Gilliland/cc-by-sa-2.0

The San Francisco Ferry Building is a terminal for ferries that travel across the San Francisco Bay, a food hall and an office building. It is located on The Embarcadero in San Francisco, California. On top of the building is a 245-foot-tall (75 m) clock tower with four clock dials, each 22 feet (6.7 m) in diameter, which can be seen from Market Street, a main thoroughfare of the city. San Francisco’s best-known farmers’ market is held on the grounds around the building on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., year round. Outside, a roadway allows pedestrian access to the restaurant and ferry dock behind the building.   read more…

Treasure Island in California

30 January 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, San Francisco Bay Area Reading Time:  9 minutes

Headquarters Building at US Naval Station Treasure Island © Bruce C. Cooper/cc-by-3.0

Headquarters Building at US Naval Station Treasure Island © Bruce C. Cooper/cc-by-3.0

Treasure Island is an artificial island in the San Francisco Bay and a neighborhood in the city and county of San Francisco. Built 1936–37 for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, the island’s World’s Fair site is a California Historical Landmark. Buildings there have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the historical Naval Station Treasure Island an auxiliary air facility (for airships, blimps, dirigibles, planes and seaplanes) are designated in the Geographic Names Information System.   read more…

University of California, Berkeley

3 September 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Architecture, San Francisco Bay Area, Universities, Colleges, Academies Reading Time:  15 minutes

Campus © flickr.com - brainchildvn/cc-by-2.0

Campus © flickr.com – brainchildvn/cc-by-2.0

The University of California, Berkeley is a public research university in Berkeley, California. Founded in 1868, Berkeley is the flagship institution of the ten research universities affiliated with the University of California system. It is often ranked as a top-ten university in the world and the top public university in the United States. Established in 1868 as the University of California, resulting from the merger of the private College of California and the public Agricultural, Mining and Mechanical Arts College in Oakland, Berkeley offers approximately 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. The Dwinelle Bill of March 5, 1868 (California Assembly Bill No. 583) stated that the “University shall have for its design, to provide instruction and thorough and complete education in all departments of science, literature and art, industrial and profession[al] pursuits, and general education, and also special courses of instruction in preparation for the professions”.   read more…

Theme Week San Francisco

19 June 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Bon voyage, San Francisco Bay Area, Theme Weeks Reading Time:  24 minutes

Market Street and Downtown from Twin Peaks © Vincent.bloch

Market Street and Downtown from Twin Peaks © Vincent.bloch

San Francisco (Spanish for Saint Francis) officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California. It is the birthplace of the United Nations. Located at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula, San Francisco is about 47.9 square miles (124 km²) in area, making it the smallest county—and the only consolidated city-county—within the state of California. With a density of about 18,451 people per square mile (7,124 people per km²), San Francisco is the most densely settled large city (population greater than 200,000) in California and the second-most densely populated major city in the United States after New York City. San Francisco is the fourth-most populous city in California, after Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose, and the 13th-most populous city in the United States—with a census-estimated 2015 population of 864,816. The city and its surrounding areas are known as the San Francisco Bay Area, and are a part of the larger OMB-designated San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland combined statistical area, the fifth most populous in the nation with an estimated population of 8.7 million. Several picturesque islandsAlcatraz, Treasure Island and the adjacent Yerba Buena Island, and small portions of Alameda Island, Red Rock Island, and Angel Island—are part of the city. Also included are the uninhabited Farallon Islands, 27 miles (43 km) offshore in the Pacific Ocean. The mainland within the city limits roughly forms a “seven-by-seven-mile square”, a common local colloquialism referring to the city’s shape, though its total area, including water, is nearly 232 square miles (600 km²). San Francisco was founded on June 29, 1776, when colonists from Spain established Presidio of San Francisco at the Golden Gate and Mission San Francisco de Asís named for St. Francis of Assisi a few miles away. The California Gold Rush of 1849 brought rapid growth, making it the largest city on the West Coast at the time. San Francisco became a consolidated city-county in 1856. After three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. In World War II, San Francisco was the port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, massive immigration, liberalizing attitudes, along with the rise of the “hippie” counterculture, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement growing from opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, and other factors led to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States. A popular tourist destination, San Francisco is known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman’s Wharf, and its Chinatown district.   read more…

Theme Week San Francisco – Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay

17 May 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, San Francisco Bay Area Reading Time:  17 minutes

© BLuP1/cc-by-2.5

© BLuP1/cc-by-2.5

Alcatraz Island is located in San Francisco Bay, 1.25 miles (2.01 km) offshore from San Francisco. The small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison (1868), and a federal prison from 1934 until 1963. Beginning in November 1969, the island was occupied for more than 19 months by a group of Native Americans from San Francisco who were part of a wave of Native activism across the nation with public protests through the 1970s. In 1972, Alcatraz became a national recreation area and received designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. Today, the island’s facilities are managed by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area; it is open to tours. Visitors can reach the island by ferry ride from Pier 33, near Fisherman’s Wharf. Hornblower Cruises & Events, operating under the name Alcatraz Cruises, is the official ferry provider to and from the island. It is home to the abandoned prison, the site of the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States, early military fortifications, and natural features such as rock pools and a seabird colony (mostly western gulls, cormorants, and egrets). According to a 1971 documentary on the history of Alcatraz, the island measures 1,675 feet (511 m) by 590 feet (180 m) and is 135 feet (41 m) at highest point during mean tide. However, the total area of the island is reported to be 22 acres (8.9 ha). Landmarks on the island include the Main Cellhouse, Dining Hall, Library, Lighthouse, the ruins of the Warden’s House and Officers’ Club, Parade Grounds, Building 64, Water Tower, New Industries Building, Model Industries Building, and the Recreation Yard.   read more…

Theme Week San Francisco – Sausalito

18 July 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, San Francisco Bay Area Reading Time:  7 minutes

Sausalito houseboat community © Frank Schulenburg/cc-by-sa-3.0

Sausalito houseboat community © Frank Schulenburg/cc-by-sa-3.0

Sausalito is a San Francisco Bay Area city in Marin County, California. Sausalito is 8 miles (13 km) south-southeast of San Rafael, at an elevation of 13 feet (4 m). The population was 7,061 as of the 2010 census. The community is situated near the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, and prior to the building of that bridge served as a terminus for rail, car, and ferry traffic. Developed rapidly as a shipbuilding center in World War II, the city’s industrial character gave way in postwar years to a reputation as a wealthy and artistic enclave, a picturesque residential community (incorporating large numbers of houseboats), and a tourist destination. It is adjacent to, and largely bounded by, the protected spaces of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Due to its location at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito receives a steady stream of visitors via the bridge (auto and bicycle traffic) and a ferry service from San Francisco. It retains one of the few ungated marinas in the Bay Area that attracts visitors.   read more…

The museum ship Balclutha

23 November 2014 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Tall ships, Museums, Exhibitions, San Francisco Bay Area, Yacht of the Month Reading Time:  7 minutes

Historic ships of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park moored at Hyde Street Pier in Aquatic Park, with Alcatraz and Angel Island in the background © chris j wood/cc-by-sa-3.0

Historic ships of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park moored at Hyde Street Pier in Aquatic Park, with Alcatraz and Angel Island in the background © chris j wood/cc-by-sa-3.0

Balclutha, also known as Star of Alaska, Pacific Queen, or Sailing Ship Balclutha, is a steel-hulled full rigged ship that was built in 1886. She is the only square rigged ship left in the San Francisco Bay area and is representative of several different commercial ventures, including lumber, salmon, and grain. Balclutha was built in 1886 by Charles Connell & Co. Ltd., of Glasgow, for Robert McMillan, of Dumbarton. Her namesake is said to be the eponymous town of Balclutha, New Zealand, but her name can also refer to her first homeport, Glasgow, which is a “City on the Clyde” – the meaning of her name derived from the Gaelic Baile Chluaidh.   read more…

Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay

17 January 2014 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, San Francisco Bay Area Reading Time:  6 minutes

Port of Angel Island © picasaweb.google.com - Mirjam Hart/cc-by-sa-3.0

Port of Angel Island © picasaweb.google.com – Mirjam Hart/cc-by-sa-3.0

Angel Island is an island in San Francisco Bay that offers expansive views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin County Headlands and Mount Tamalpais. The entire island is included within Angel Island State Park and is administered by California State Parks. The island, a California Historical Landmark, has been used for a variety of purposes, including military forts, a US Public Health Service Quarantine Station, and a US Bureau of Immigration inspection and detention facility. The Angel Island Immigration Station on the northeast corner of the island, where officials detained, inspected, and examined approximately one million immigrants, has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Like much of the California coast, Angel Island was subsequently used for cattle ranching. In 1863, during the American Civil War, the U.S. Army established a camp on the island (now known as Camp Reynolds or the West Garrison), and it subsequently became an infantry garrison during the US campaigns against Native American peoples in the West.   read more…

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