As part of our ongoing series on San Francisco, here’s a brief history of the city…
When a community known as Yerba Buena renamed itself in 1847, San Francisco became San Francisco. Not long after, Mexico ceded the territory to the United States, the California Gold Rush started, and San Francisco’s place in the history of America was cemented.
The Gold Rush spawned many iconic San Francisco businesses that remain to this day, including Levi’s, Boudin Bakery, and the St. Francis Hotel. By 1900, San Francisco’s population had reached 342,782 people, making it the largest city on the West Coast.
In 1906, disaster struck when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the city. The earthquake, and the subsequent fires, claimed more than 3,000 lives, and over 80% of the city. Yet by 1915, the city was ready to leave that chapter behind, and hosted the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a world’s fair designed to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal. The fair reestablished San Francisco as a modern city, and introduced landmarks like The Palace of Fine Arts and The Legion of Honor.
In the 1950s, San Francisco began its reputation as a home to the counterculture. Beat authors like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were attracted to the North Beach area of San Francisco. which was known for its mixture of intellectuals and night clubs.
Of course, for some, the history of San Francisco truly begins in the 1960s. Seminal events like the nearby Monterey Pop Festival and the Summer of Love established San Francisco as an international destination for anyone who called themselves an artist. Musicians, hippies, and radicals flocked to the city, and ushered in an era of free love.
The ‘70s saw even more change, but what was left of ’60s idealism died with two major events in November of 1978. On the 18th, the Jonestown Massacre claimed the lives of 909 cult members, many from Northern California, when they were ordered to drink cyanide-laced punch. Next, on the 27th, the state’s first openly gay elected official was murdered along with the city’s mayor.
The ‘70s also saw a boom in the tech industry, with iconic companies like Apple starting just south of the city, in what has come to be known as Silicon Valley. Following this, the ‘80s were a period of growth for the city. New skyscrapers were erected, along with high profile developments like The Moscone Center (named for the slain mayor). In 1989, San Francisco was struck with another large earthquake. It took place just moments before Game 3 of the 1989 World Series, which just happened to be between two Bay Area teams, the Giants and the A’s.
Since then, the city has had its share of booms and busts. The dot-com boom caused skyrocketing rents in much of the city, which was soon followed by wide-spread vacancies, and then more skyrocketing rents. Today, San Francisco has established itself as the capital of Silicon Valley, attracting companies that represent the latest in technology and forward thinking.
See it all for yourself at TIBCO NOW, and get a sense of the past, present, and future of San Francisco.