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The San Francisco Bay Area (referred to locally as the Bay Area) is a populous region surrounding the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses the major cities and metropolitan areas of San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland, along with smaller urban and rural areas. The Bay Area's nine counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Home to approximately 7.68 million people, the nine-county Bay Area contains many cities, towns, airports, and associated regional, state, and national parks, connected by a network of roads, highways, railroads, bridges, tunnels, and commuter rail. The combined statistical area of the region is the second-largest in California (after the Greater Los Angeles area), the fifth-largest in the United States, and the 43rd-largest urban area in the world with 8.80 million people.

The Bay Area has the second-most Fortune 500 companies in the United States, after the New York metropolitan area, and is known for its natural beauty, liberal politics, entrepreneurship, and diversity. The area ranks second in highest density of college graduates, after the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and performs above the state median household income in the 2010 census; it includes the five highest California counties by per capita income and two of the top 25 wealthiest counties in the United States. Based on a 2013 population report from the California Department of Finance, the Bay Area is the only region in California where the rate of people migrating in from other areas in the United States is greater than the rate of those leaving the region, led by Alameda and Contra Costa counties. (more...)

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Rioters outside San Francisco City Hall, May 21, 1979, reacting to the voluntary manslaughter verdict for Dan White

The White Night riots were a series of violent events sparked by an announcement of the lenient sentencing of Dan White, for the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and of Harvey Milk, a member of the city's Board of Supervisors who was the first openly gay elected official in the United States. The events took place on the night of May 21, 1979 (the night before what would have been Milk's 49th birthday) in San Francisco. Earlier that day, White had been convicted of voluntary manslaughter, the lightest possible conviction for his actions. That White was not convicted of first-degree murder (of which he was originally charged) had so outraged the city's gay community that it set off the most violent reaction by gays since the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City (which is credited as the beginning of the modern gay-rights movement in the United States).

The gay community of San Francisco had a longstanding conflict with the San Francisco Police Department. White's status as a former police officer intensified the community's anger at the SFPD. Initial demonstrations took place as a peaceful march through the Castro district of San Francisco. After the crowd arrived at the San Francisco City Hall, violence began. The events caused hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of property damage to City Hall and the surrounding area, as well as injuries to police officers and rioters. (more...)

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Alma de Bretteville Spreckels
Alma de Bretteville Spreckels (March 24, 1881 – August 7, 1968) was a wealthy socialite and philanthropist in San Francisco, California. She was known both as "Big Alma" (she was 6 feet (1.8 m) tall) and "The Great Grandmother of San Francisco". Among her many accomplishments, she persuaded her first husband, sugar magnate Adolph B. Spreckels, to donate the California Palace of the Legion of Honor to the city of San Francisco. Spreckels' last major project was the construction of the San Francisco Maritime Museum. When it opened in 1951, her collection of model ships that had been on display at the 1939–40 Golden Gate International Exposition was the main exhibit. (more...)

Selected city

2008 05 01 8.jpg
Mountain View is a city in Santa Clara County, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. It is named for its views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The city shares its borders with the cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Sunnyvale, as well as Moffett Federal Airfield and the San Francisco Bay. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 74,066.

Situated in Silicon Valley, Mountain View is home to many high technology companies. In 1956, Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, the first company to develop silicon semiconductor devices in what came to be known as Silicon Valley, was established in the city by William Shockley. Today, many of the largest technology companies in the world are headquartered in the city, including Google, Mozilla Foundation, Symantec, and Intuit. (more...)

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San Francisco STS058-083-023.jpg
View of the San Francisco Bay Area, Space Shuttle Columbia, mission STS-058, October 20, 1993
image credit: NASA


The Bay Area by year

1863
Jeanty at Jack's
Mountain View Cemetery

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Did you know...

Emiko Omori and Victor Wong
Tim Stearns
The Oceanic, 1871
Ghost Ship warehouse interior

 • ... that filmmaker Emiko Omori (pictured, left, with Victor Wong) began her career in 1968 at KQED, becoming one of the first camerawomen to work in news documentaries?
 • ... that Fisher Creek is tributary to the largest freshwater wetland in Santa Clara County, Laguna Seca, a seasonal lake important to groundwater recharge and migratory birds?
 • ... that San Francisco based architect Jack Hillmer is known for his meticulously hand-crafted Modernist homes built from redwood, and was an exponent of what Lewis Mumford called the "Bay Region style"?
 • ... that Stanford University Department of Biology chairman Tim Stearns (pictured), together with his wife, medical researcher Susan Cleveland, tend a fruit tree orchard at their home in Redwood City?
 • ... that the Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company's flagship, the Oceanic (pictured), set a Pacific crossing record of 16 days and 10 hours, 8 days less than the ships of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company?
 • ... that the building consumed in the 2016 Oakland warehouse fire had at least ten complaints filed on it since 1998? (interior damage pictured)
 • ... that after Agnes Fay Morgan conducted a nutritional study with foxes, she presented her data wearing a stole made from the fur of her subjects?

Previous Did you know...

Union Iron Works Powerhouse
Lilium pardalinum pitkinense


April 2007

Selected periodic event

Garlic ice cream booth

The Gilroy Garlic Festival is one of the largest food festivals in the United States, held annually in Gilroy, "The Garlic Capital of the World", on the last full weekend in July. The festival is famous for delicacies such as garlic ice cream (pictured). The nonprofit festival was founded in 1979.

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HERBCAEN1990SFphotoNancyWong.jpg
~ Herb Caen
*more quotes about San Francisco from Wikiquote

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