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The only consolidated city-county in California, [ 11 ] San Francisco encompasses a land area of about It is the most densely settled large city population greater thanin the state of California and the second-most densely populated major city in the United States after New York City. The city is also the financial and cultural hub of the larger San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland metropolitan area, with a population of 7. Francis of Assisi a few miles away.

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Due to the growth of its population, San Francisco became a consolidated city-county in Today, San Francisco is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, [ 18 ] and is renowned for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former prison on Alcatraz Island, and its Chinatown district.

It is also a primary banking and finance center. The earliest archaeological evidence of human habitation of the territory of the city of San Francisco dates to BC. Upon independence from Spain inthe area became part of Mexico.

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Under Mexican rule, the mission system gradually ended, and its lands became privatized. InEnglishman William Richardson erected the first independent homestead, [ 21 ] near a boat anchorage around what is today Portsmouth Square. Together with Alcalde Francisco de Haro, he laid out a street plan for the expanded settlement, and the town, named Yerba Buena, began to attract American settlers.

Commodore John D. Montgomery arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later.

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Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco on January 30 of the next year, [ 22 ] and Mexico officially ceded the territory to the United States at the end of the war. Despite its attractive location as a port and naval base, San Francisco was still a small settlement with inhospitable geography.

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The California Gold Rush brought a flood of treasure seekers. With their sourdough bread in tow, [ 24 ] prospectors accumulated in San Francisco over rival Benicia, [ 25 ] raising the population from 1, in to 25, by December Silver discoveries, including the Comstock Lode infurther drove rapid population growth.

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Entrepreneurs sought to capitalize on the wealth generated by the Gold Rush. Early winners were the banking industry, with the founding of Wells Fargo in and the Bank of California in Development of the Port of San Francisco and the establishment in of overland access to the Eastern U. Catering to the needs and tastes of the growing population, Levi Strauss opened a dry goods business and Domingo Ghirardelli began manufacturing chocolate.

Immigrant laborers made the city a polyglot culture, with Chinese railroad workers creating the city's Chinatown quarter.

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The city's sea of Victorian houses began to take shape, and civic leaders campaigned for a spacious public park, resulting in plans for Golden Gate Park. San Franciscans built schools, churches, theaters, and all the hallmarks of civic life. The Presidio developed into the most important American military installation on the Pacific coast.

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AroundSan Francisco was a major city known for its flamboyant style, stately hotels, ostentatious mansions on Nob Hill, and a thriving arts scene. At am on April 18,a major earthquake struck San Francisco and northern California. As buildings collapsed from the shaking, ruptured gas lines ignited fires that would spread across the city and burned out of control for several days.

With water mains out of service, the Presidio Artillery Corps attempted to contain the inferno by dynamiting blocks of buildings to create firebreaks. Many fled permanently to the East Bay. Rebuilding was rapid and performed on a grand scale. Rejecting calls to completely remake the street grid, San Franciscans opted for speed. The destroyed mansions of Nob Hill became grand hotels.

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City Hall rose again in splendorous Beaux Arts style, and the city celebrated its rebirth at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in It was during this period San Francisco built some of its most important infrastructure projects. In ensuing years, the city solidified its standing as a financial capital; in the wake of the stock market crash, not a single San Francisco-based bank failed.

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It was in this period that the island of Alcatraz, a former military stockade, began its service as a federal maximum security prison, housing notorious inmates such as Al Capone, and Robert Franklin Stroud, The Birdman of Alcatraz. After the end of the war, many military personnel returning from service abroad and civilians who had originally come to work decided to stay.

Urban planning projects in the s and s involved widespread destruction and redevelopment of west-side neighborhoods and the construction of new freeways, of which only a series of short segments were built before being halted by citizen-led opposition. Over this period, San Francisco became a magnet for America's counterculture.

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Beat Generation writers fueled the San Francisco Renaissance and centered on the North Beach neighborhood in the s. Bank of America completed California Street in and the Transamerica Pyramid was completed in[ 53 ] igniting a wave of "Manhattanization" that lasted until the late s, a period of extensive high-rise development downtown. In San Francisco, the quake severely damaged structures in the Marina and South of Market districts and precipitated the demolition of the damaged Embarcadero Freeway and much of the damaged Central Freeway, allowing the city to reclaim its historic downtown waterfront and revitalizing the Hayes Valley neighborhood.

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During the dot-com boom of the late s, startup companies invigorated the economy. Large s of entrepreneurs and computer application developers moved into the city, followed by marketing, de, and sales professionals, changing the social landscape as once-poorer neighborhoods became increasingly gentrified. When the bubble burst inmany of these companies folded and their employees were laid off.


Yet high technology and entrepreneurship remain mainstays of the San Francisco economy with the social media boom fueling growth in the second decade of the new century. 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 square miles km 2. San Francisco is famous for its hills.

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There are more than 50 hills within city limits. Near the geographic center of the city, southwest of the downtown area, are a series of less densely populated hills. Twin Peaks, a pair of hills forming one of the city's highest points, forms a popular overlook spot. San Francisco's tallest hill, Mount Davidson, is feet m high and is capped with a foot 31 m tall cross built in The nearby San Andreas and Hayward Faults are responsible for much earthquake activity, although neither physically passes through the city itself. The San Andreas Fault caused the earthquakes in and Minor earthquakes occur on a regular basis.

The threat of major earthquakes plays a large role in the city's infrastructure development.

The city constructed an auxiliary water supply system and has repeatedly upgraded its building codes, requiring retrofits for older buildings and higher engineering standards for new construction. San Francisco's shoreline has grown beyond its natural limits.

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Entire neighborhoods such as the Marina, Mission Bay, and Hunters Point, as well as large sections of the Embarcadero, sit on areas of landfill. Treasure Island was constructed from material dredged from the bay as well as material resulting from tunneling through Yerba Buena Island during the construction of the Bay Bridge. Such land tends to be unstable during earthquakes. The resulting liquefaction causes extensive damage to property built upon it, as was evidenced in the Marina district during the Loma Prieta earthquake.

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A popular quote incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain is "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco". Among major U. Because of its sharp topography and maritime influences, San Francisco exhibits a multitude of distinct microclimates.

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They also protect neighborhoods directly to their east from the foggy and sometimes very cold and windy conditions experienced in the Sunset District; for those who live on the eastern side of the city, San Francisco is sunnier, with an average of clear days, and only cloudy days per year. On average, there are 73 rainy days a year, and annual precipitation averages Snowfall in the city is very rare, with only 10 measurable accumulations recorded sincemost recently in when up to 5 inches mm fell on Twin Peaks.

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The historic center of San Francisco is the northeast quadrant of the city anchored by Market Street and the waterfront. It is here that the Financial District is centered, with Union Square, the principal shopping and hotel district, nearby. Cable cars carry riders up steep inclines to the summit of Nob Hill, once the home of the city's business tycoons, and down to the waterfront tourist attractions of Fisherman's Wharf, and Pier 39, where many restaurants feature Dungeness crab from a still-active fishing industry.

New skyscrapers, live-work lofts, and condominiums dot the area.

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Further development is taking place just to the south in Mission Bay, a former railyard now anchored by a second campus of the University of California, San Francisco. The Western Addition is usually divided into smaller neighborhoods including Hayes Valley, the Fillmore, and Japantown, which was once the largest Japantown in North America but suffered when its Japanese American residents were forcibly removed and interned during World War II.

The Western Addition survived the earthquake with its Victorians largely intact, including the famous "Painted Ladies", standing alongside Alamo Square.

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To the south, near the geographic center of the city is Haight-Ashbury, famously associated with s hippie culture. The Haight is now home to some expensive boutiques [ 84 ] and a few controversial chain stores, [ 85 ] although it still retains some bohemian character.

North of the Western Addition is Pacific Heights, a wealthy neighborhood that features the mansions built by the San Francisco business elite in the wake of the earthquake.

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Directly north of Pacific Heights facing the waterfront is the Marina, a neighborhood popular with young professionals that was largely built on reclaimed land from the Bay. In the s, a wave of Central American immigrants settled in the Mission and, in the s, immigrants from Mexico began to predominate. ZIP: 62208

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