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110Mil BC
80Mil BC
The Pacific Plate collided with the North American Plate at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada and in the process created the Farallon Islands, which then slowly moved north some 300 miles to stand off the coast of San Francisco.
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100Mil BC
60Mil BC
In San Francisco red rock dating to this period was easily visible on the cliff of O’Shaugnessy Boulevard.
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25000 BC
San Francisco and the Bay Area were home to mammoths indicating cold temperatures of an Ice Age. In 1934 a 10-pound mammoth tooth from this time was found by engineers working on the new Bay Bridge.
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4500 BC
In 2014 San Francisco construction workers discovered human remains at the site of the new Transbay Transit Center that dated to about this time.
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3000 BC
Excavations for the SF Civic Center BART Station in 1969 unearthed a female skeleton that dated back to about this time.
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1774 Dec
Capt. Fernando Rivera y Moncada and 4 soldiers climbed Mount Davidson and proceeded north to Lands End.
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1775 Aug 5
Spanish Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala and his crew of 30 became the first European explorers to sail into the San Francisco Bay. He anchored at Angel Island and waited for the overland expedition of Captain Juan Bautista de Anza. Angel Island was one of the first landforms named by the Spanish when they entered SF Bay. The 58-foot Spanish fregata, Punta de San Carlos, was the first sailing vessel to enter the SF Bay while on a voyage of exploration. Ayala named Alcatraz Island after a large flock of pelicans, called alcatraces in Spanish.
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1775 Sep 29
Mexican Captain Juan Bautista de Anza (39) and his party of Spanish soldiers and setters departed Tubac, Arizona, on a journey to the SF Bay Area following reports of a great river flowing into the bay. Anza led 240 soldiers, priests and settlers to Monterey. Jose Manuel Valencia was one of the soldiers. His son, Candelario Valencia, later served in the military at the Presidio and owned a ranch in Lafayette and property next to Mission Dolores. One of the soldiers was Don Salvio Pacheco.
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1776 Mar 27
Mexican Captain Juan Bautista de Anza and his party of Spanish explorers spent their first night in the future city of San Francisco at what came to be called Mountain Lake in the Presideo.
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1776 Mar 28
Mexican Captain Juan Bautista de Anza, Lt. Jose Moraga, and Franciscan priest Pedro Font arrived at the tip of San Francisco. De Anza planted a cross at what is now Fort Point. They camped at Mountain Lake and searched inland for a more hospitable area and found a site they called Laguna de los Dolores or the Friday of Sorrows since the day was Friday before Palm Sunday. Anza became known as the “father of SF.” Mission Dolores was founded by Father Francisco Palou and Father Pedro Cambon. Rancho San Pedro, near what is now Pacifica, served as the agricultural center. Laguna de los Dolores was later believed to be a spring near the modern-day corner of Duboce and Sanchez.
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1776 Sep 17
The Presidio of SF was formally possessed as a Spanish fort. The Spanish built the Presidio on the hill where the Golden Gate Bridge now meets San Francisco.
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1780
In San Francisco stone foundations were laid for a building at the military garrison in the Presidio. The Presidio’s Officer’s Club was later built on the same site.
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1794
Twenty horse soldiers were dispatched from the Presidio of San Francisco to quell an Ohlone rebellion in the Santa Cruz mountains.
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1802
1889
Juana Briones Y Tapia de Miranda was born in Santa Cruz, Ca. She was a battered wife and became the first California woman to get a divorce. Her family moved to the Presidio in 1812. She was the first to settle on San Francisco’s Powell St. in what is now North Beach and worked as a homeopathic doctor. In 1989 the Women’s Heritage Museum persuaded the state to authorize a plaque in her honor to be set in Washington Square.
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1806 Apr
Nicolai Rezanov (42), a director of the Russian-American Co., arrived in SF aboard the Juno. He had proposed a California outpost to serve the Russian colonies in Alaska and sailed south to establish a settlement on the Columbia River but could not land there due to difficult seas. He sailed south to the Presidio at Monterey and negotiated a trade deal with Commander Jose Arguello. He also fell in love with Concepcion Arguello (d.1857), the daughter of Commander Arguello, and proposed marriage. He died that winter while crossing Siberia. In 2013 Owen Matthews “Glorious Misadventures: Nikolai Rezanov and the Dream of a Russian American.”
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1806 May 21
Nicolai Rezanov (1764-1806), a director of the Russian-American Co., departed SF for Sitka, Alaska. He died that winter while crossing Siberia.
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1806
In San Francisco an epidemic of measles and flu killed 343 of the 850 native people at the Dolores Street mission.
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1815
Luis Arguello, the Spanish commander of El Presidio de San Francisco, began expanding the original 90-square-yard fort with new adobe wall and buildings.
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1816
Naturalist Adelbert von Chamisso spent a month around SF Bay while aboard the Russian ship Rurik, which was circumnavigating the globe. Captain Otto von Kotzebue said the Gov. of California invited the crew to witness a bear and bull fight. Spanish troops captured a grizzly bear and a wild bull and chained them for battle on a beach.
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1822 Aug
William Richardson (1795-1856) came to SF as first mate aboard the British whaler Orion. He jumped ship and began living at the Presidio. In 1835 he put up a tent in Yerba Buena, later renamed San Francisco, on Calle de la Fundacion, a site later identified as 827 Grant Ave.
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1828 Aug 15
In San Francisco the daughter (5) and son (1) of Presidio soldier Ignacio Olivas were killed as he and his wife attended a dance party near Mission Dolores. Suspicion fell on fellow soldier Francisco Rubio, who was found guilty and executed on August 1, 1831. Rubio claimed innocence to the end.
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1834
The San Francisco was governed by a mayor (alcalde) with 2 regidores (council members).
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1834
Jose Bernal owned Rancho Rincon de Las Salinas y Potrero. It included the land that later became known as Hunters Point in San Francisco. La Punta de Conca (seashell point) was later purchased by Robert and Philip Hunter who arrived during the gold rush and bought the land to develop a town.
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1835 Jun 25
William A. Richardson built the first structure in Yerba Buena, renamed San Francisco in 1847. In 1846 he was named captain of the port.
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1835
The San Francisco Bar Pilots company was formed.
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1835
William A. Richardson built the first structure in SF and was named captain of the port of SF.
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1836 Jul 4
Jacob Leese, a trader from Ohio, built a house in Yerba Buena (later San Francisco). This was the town’s first building and Leese threw a 3-day party over the 4th of July to celebrate.
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1836 Jul 4
In Yerba Buena (later San Francisco) Jacob Leese, a trader from Ohio, threw a 3-day party over the 4th of July. Leese of Ohio had established a mercantile business at Grant and Clay streets. His wooden house next door was the first in Yerba Buena. He soon married a daughter of Gen’l. Vallejo and their daughter, Rosalie Leese, was the first non-native born in Yerba Buena.
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1839
The Bernal Heights area of SF, Ca., began to be developed as part of a Mexican land grant belonging to Don Jose Cornelio Bernal.
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1840
The whaling ship Lydia, was built in Rochester, Mass. In 1978 sewer construction along the southern Embarcadero of SF unearthed the Lydia.
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1840
In Yerba Buena (later San Francisco) Jean-Jacques Vioget, Swiss-born sea captain and artist, opened a saloon and billiards parlor on Clay Street just east of Kearny. In 1837 he painted the first picture of the settlement from the deck of his ship.
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1841
William A. Leidesdorff, originally from the Virgin Islands, arrived in San Francisco. He became a prominent businessman, built the city’s first hotel, became a member of the first SF City Council and served as the city’s first treasurer.
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1841
The Bartleson-Bidwell Party made the trek to California. John Bidwell was on the 1st wagon train over the Sierra Nevada and later founded Chico. Also in the group was Paul Geddes, who had robbed a bank in Philadelphia, and renamed himself Talbot Green. His true ID was exposed in 1851 as he was about to run for mayor of SF.
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1842
Nantucket Capt. Gorham Nye sailed into Yerba Buena, later known as San Francisco, and sold several goats to traders. A local character named Jack Fuller proposed to businessman Nathan Spear to buy some of the goats and raise them on Yerba Buena Island, which became known as Goat Island.
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1844
William Hinckley, alcalde of Yerba Buena (later San Francisco), erected a wooden footbridge over a creek that fed the Laguna Salada. This enabled residents to walk to the anchorage at Clark’s Point (near the intersection of Broadway and Battery). At this time Yerba Buena had under 50 inhabitants and and only a dozen buildings.
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1846 Jul 9
Captain J.B. Montgomery of the USS Portsmouth raised the American flag over San Francisco. Montgomery claimed Yerba Buena (SF) for the US.
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1846 Jul 31
San Francisco, known as Yerba Buena, had only 459 residents. With the arrival of Sam Brannan and 230 Mormons on the ship Brooklyn the city became known as a Mormon town. In 1847 printer Brannan published the first SF newspaper, the California Star.
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1847 Jan 30
The California Star, founded by Sam Brannon, published the official name change of Yerba Buena to San Francisco on this day. Mayor Washington Bartlett had the town council approve the change. Lt. Bartlett's proclamation changing the name Yerba Buena to San Francisco took effect.
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1847 Jan
San Francisco’s Californian newspaper called for a new cemetery in the unoccupied North Beach area. A new graveyard soon appeared just north of what later became Washington Square. By 1850 some 840 had been buried there.
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1847 Sep
San Francisco’s Town Council came into existence, nominally to assist Alcalde George Hyde. At its first meeting six members proposed launching an investigation into the office of the alcalde, but Hyde refused to allow it.
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1847
Jasper O’Farrell (26), surveyor-general of Northern California, laid out the streets of San Francisco. He forged Market Street to run from the SF Bay to Twin Peaks. He also designated the sand dune called O’Farrel’s Mountain as a public square (later Union Square).
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1847
Portsmouth Square was built in San Francisco and was later recognized as the city’s oldest park.
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1847
San Francisco commissioned a 2nd survey to cover an area west of Larkin St. The Lagoon survey was bounded by Larkin, Gough, Chestnut and Vallejo streets. The 43 acres of the survey tilted to the northwest. In 1870 the city began taking measures to run Van Ness Avenue through the Lagoon Survey.
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1848 Apr
San Francisco’s Alcalde George Hyde resigned under pressure. He had sold city lots for the fixed price of $12 to cronies, and then bought them back for resale at large profits.
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1848 Apr
The first SF American public school opened. Soon thereafter all the trustees took off for the gold fields.
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1848 Nov 18
In San Francisco the Californian and the California Star newspapers merged and began publishing under Edward Kemble (19) as The Star and Californian.
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1848
The Lazard brothers, Alexandre Lazard, Simon Lazard, and Elie Lazard, moved to the United States from Lorraine, France, and formed Lazard Freres & Co. as a dry goods business in New Orleans, Louisiana, with a combined contribution of $ 9,000. They moved to SF a year later with their cousin, Alexander Weill.
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1848
The San Francisco City Council passed a resolution regarding gambling and heavy fines were assessed on parties arrested for gambling. The resolution was soon repealed.
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1848
William Alexander Leidesdorff, ship captain, merchant and the first treasurer of SF, died. He was half Dutch and half black and was buried inside Mission Dolores. He started the City Hotel, the 1st hotel in SF at Kearny and Clay.
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1848
The population of San Francisco numbered about 850.
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1848
Col. J. D. Stevenson’s First Regiment of New York Volunteers, which fought in the Mexican war, disbanded in San Francisco. Many of the members had belonged to New York gangs like the Bowery Boys and Dead Rabbits. Some 50-60 of the vets joimed with ex-convicts from Australia and began hiring themselves out to merchants and sea captains calling themselves the Hounds and later the Regulators.
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1849 Jan 4
San Francisco’s The Star and Californian newspaper under Edward Kemble changed its name to the Alta California.
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1849 Feb 28
The steamer California, sounding the first steamship whistle on the SF Bay, arrived in SF with San Francisco postmaster John W. Geary on board carrying mail for the Pacific coast. Steamboat service began from Panama City to SF. Pacific Mail Steamship Co. sent the side-wheel steamship California to SF with American gold-seekers and 50 Peruvian miners. Also onboard were preacher Osgood C. Wheeler (32) and his wife Elizabeth.
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1849 Jun 17
In San Francisco Rev. John Brouillet, vicar general of the diocese of Walla Walla, and Rev. Anthony Langlois, also from the Oregon territory, opened St. Francis Church with a Mass.
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1849 Jun 22
San Francisco experienced its first theatrical performance with a one-man show in Portsmouth Square by Stephen C. Massett, an itinerant Brit.
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1849 Jul 15
A Chilean tent community at the foot of Telegraph Hill, composed of some 700 miners, was assaulted by the lawless Society of Hounds street gang. Sam Roberts led the rampage and violent raid on the Little Chile tent community. The Hounds had specialized in “patriotic” assaults on Chileans. In response Sam Brannan call on volunteers to drive the Hounds out of town. A vigilante force of some 230 men rounded up 20 Hounds and imprisoned them on a warship. Popular justice brought 9 Hound members to court and sentenced them to a decade of hard labor. The Chilecito community stayed vibrant throughout the 1860s.
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1849 Aug
In San Francisco the triweekly Pacific News appeared as the first rival to The Star and Californian newspaper. By 1853 there were 12 dailies in San Francisco.
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1849 Sep 14
La Meuse, the first ship to sail from France to California, arrived in San Francisco with 41 all male passengers.
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1849 Dec 3
Jesuit Fr. John Nobili and Fr. Michael Accolti (1807-1878) arrived in San Francisco.
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1849
By this time the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (ayuntamiento) had grown to 16 members from 8 districts.
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