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The City Data of San Francisco

[City Map of San Francisco]
Copyright (C) Mapquest

[City Map of San Francisco]
Copyright (C) Mapquest

The City Data:
 63 feet
 San Francisco

Land area:
 46.7 square miles
 122'45'' W
 37'75'' N

Races in San Francisco:
White (43.6%)
Chinese (19.6%)
Hispanic (14.1%)
Black (7.8%)
Other race (6.5%)
Filipino (5.2%)
Two or more races (4.3%)
Other Asian (1.5%)
Japanese (1.5%)
Vietnamese (1.4%)
American Indian (1.2%)
Korean (1.0%)
Asian Indian (0.7%)

Visitor Information Center
900 Market Street San Francisco, CA 94103-2804
 Phone: 415-391-2000
Hours: Monday-Friday 9 am to 5 pm
Saturday-Sunday 9 am-3 pm

Business Office:
San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau
201 Third Street, Suite 900 San Francisco, CA 94103-3185
 Phone: 415-974-6900
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm

Average weather in San Francisco, California

Many Californian bnks and insurance companies have their headquarters in the Financial District, which is sometimes referred to as the "Wall Street" of the "West Coast". San Francisco also views itself as the capital of the Pacific rim, since along with Los Angels and Seattle, it is one of the principal conduits for Asian capital flowing into the U.S. Its role has broadened with the growth of the trade in electronic equipment, automobile spare parts, textiles, furniture and certain kinds of food between China, Japane and America.

San Francisco benefits from a maritime climate that is intimately connected to the oceanographic cycle. In spring the Californian Current enriches the coastal wtaer with plankton, which is good for wildlife. At the same time the notorious fog comes down : unil July it cools the air on a reglar basis, demonstrating the smooth functioning of the marine ecosystem. In this Mediterranean climate the warmest months are August season lasts from November through April.

Fishers and fish
The bay of San Francisco is the most important estuary on the West Coast of the North American continent. It is fed by the waters of the western Sierra Navada, which form the Sacramento river to the north of the Central Valley and the San Joaquin River to the south. The two rivers converge in a vast delta and flow west to the bay, where they mix with the tidal ocean currents, forming brackish waters, rich in nutrients, which support an ecosystem once teeming with fish.

San Francisco compared to California state average:
   Median house value above state average.
   Foreign-born population percentage significantly above state average.
   Renting percentage above state average.
   Number of rooms per house significantly below state average.
   House age above state average.
   Percentage of population with a bachelor's degree or higher above state average.
   Population density above state average for cities.

San Francisco Bay Area
1. Point Reyes
2. Bolinas
3. Stinson Beach
4. Muir Beach
5. Saysalito
6. Tiburon
7. San Rafael
8. Napa Valley
9. San Pablo Bay
10. Richmond
11. Berkeley
12. Oakland
13. Daly City
14. San Bruno
15. Palo Alto
16. San Francisco
San Francisco took its nickname, the "Instant City", from its swift growth : in place of just three months, the news that gold had been discovered in California transformed this village of a few hundred people into a city of several thusand. The new built-up area spread over a vast tract of unoccupied land in the checkboard layout that was then popular in the United States. Although this system facilitated the division, sale and registration of plots of land, it took no account of the topography of the area. The "grid" of blocks was imposed on the hilly terrain, systematically demarcating the boundaries of land for building sites and creating roads with precipitous gradients - one of the attractive features of San Francisco today.

The hilltop slopes, which were sometimes extremely steep, were initially parceled out for poor families. Because of the modest price of this land, several parks (Lafayette Park, Alamo Square and Pioneer Park) were created on the upper slopes. Once connected up by the cable car, these green and spacious areas became the home of more wealth families.

In 1849 a number of ships were abandoned in the marshy cove of Yebra Buena by their crews, who had caught the "gold fever". In response to the shortage of building materials and the need to find accommodation for an ever-expanding population, pontoons were built out to these ships, which were refurbished and converted into shops, restaurants and hotels.

Each block to the north of Market Street was divided into plots and land approximately 26 feet by 98 feet. This completely abstract grid system took no account of the constraints imposed by the hilly terrain. As the result, the steepest slopes had to be provided with stairways rather than paved streets.

Comprising no more than a few blocks around the plaza (now Portsmouth Square) of the pueblo of Yeba Buena the first plan of San Francisco was drawn up in 1839, at the request of the Mexican authorities. by the Swiss navigator Jean-Jacques Vioget. In 1847 Jasper P Farrell expanded Vioget's 12-square block platting. Also based on Spanish units of mesurement, his plan drew Market Street and provided for fifty residential blocks to the north and laid out some larger blocks to the south to accommodate expected industrial expansion. This inflexible layout of streets intersecting at right angles was base on the typical bluepoint American cities.

The cover at Yerba Buena was gradually filled with rubble from the hills, where houses were musrooming. Houses were the built on this landfill, and boats that had run aground on the mud soon found themselves surrounded by buildings. This is how a large part of what is now "Downtown" was reclaimed from the bay.

The Gold Rush had highlighted the need for California to be mad more accessible by building a transcontinental railraod. Even though the clippers had broken all the records, the route around Cape Horn was still long and dangerous. In 1862 Congress ratified the draft layout drawn up by a young engineer, Theodore Judah. Two companies took charge of the work: Union Pacific, supervised by Congress, was to construct the East-West section, from Omaha, while Central Pacific, founded by the "Big Four", was to build the West-East section, from Oakland. It took six years for this project to be successfully completed, at the cost of many lives. After 1869 the journey from one coast to the other only took six and a half days.

The difficulty of finding a stable and inexpensive work-force prompted Charles Crocker, Central Pacific's director of works, to enter into and agreement with a secret society in Chinatown, whereby they committed to supply him with laborers imported directly from China.

The Transcontinental Railroad was to cross the Sierra Nevada and the Rockey Mountains, a superhuman undertaking that did not alarm Judah, who was convinced that the project was feasible. Four wealh businessmen from Sacramento (Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins, Leland Stanford and Charles Crocker), the "Big Four", founded Central Pacific to finance his project. They managed to prevail upon Congress and President Lincoln, who signed the Pacific Railroad Act in July 1862. The law provided for the creation of a second railraod company. Work started on January 8, 1863.

This was the nickname of the fifteen thousand Chinese "coolies" who were brought over to build the railroad. Although they were paid more or less the same salary as whites, they had to provide their own food. They worked in team of twelve to twenty, each with a cook, a tea-maker and an extra man as a standby in case of mishap.
This East Coast enginner, who had just completed a 28-mile-long railroad linking Sacramento with the gold mines in the Sierra Nevada, was the true father of the Transcontinental Railroad, but he rapidly lost control of the project. Shocked by the dishonest practices of the "Big Four". Judah sold his shares and tried to find financial backing on the east coast in order to buy back the company. Fate was against him : he died of yellow fever, which he caught on his journey across Panama in 1865.

The Pacific Railroad Act granted the two companies large tracts of land and subsidies, the amount of which was in direct proportion to the distance to be covered, which had been fixed for each company. In order to protect their capital outlay, the "Big Four" demanded absolute financial control over the work. Government funds were paid to the Crocker Company, which contrived to have the construction work done at the lowest possible prices (using only basic equipment) and to pay back the surplus to the four partners. To obtain further subsidies, Crocker shamelessly invented mountainous terrain where there were actually plains, by bridging specialists and geologists.

The two lines met at Promontory Point in Utah on May 10, 1869. Central Pacific had laid 683 1/2 miles of railraod track, and Union Pacific had laid 1,081 miles. The Transcontinental Railroad had cost 118 milion dollars, had made the "Big Four" very wealthy, and had killed a great many Chinese workmen.

The work done by Central Pacific progressed more slowly than that of Union Pacifi because of the different terrain. It took a year to dig Summit Tunnel to create the underground passages and lay the ramps in the Sierra. The severity of the winter in 1866 did not help matters. By the end of 1867 Union Pacific had laid 311 miles of track while Central Pacific had laid only 87 miles. Crocker therefore decided to boost performance efficiency, and in 1868 he laid 217 miles, setting a record of nearly 3/4 mile per day.

On April 29, 1869, the two companies challenged each other to lay 7 miles of track in one day. The eight hundred coolies working for Central Pacific beat this record in twelve hours. In view of the progress made by the Chinese workers, Huntington suggested that the law should be amended so that each company was authorized to continue laying the railroad until the tracks met. From that time onwards the companies became rivals instead of associates, each trying to lay as much track as possible.
There was much jubilation as the final section of railroad was laid at Promontory Point. It was fixed to the sleepers with three sleeper nails made of precious metal, presented by the states it crossed (California, Nevada and Arizona).

Copyright (C) 2004-2007 Satoshi Shimizu. All Rights Reserved.
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