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15 Facts About San Francisco That You May not Know

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15 Facts About San Francisco That You May not Know

15 Facts About San Francisco That You May not Know

The town that became San Francisco huddled on the edge of Yerba Buena Cove. It got its name from the wild mint (good herb) growing nearby The first European resident pitched his tent there in 1835.

The first mayor changed the town’s name to San Francisco in 1848. Its 469 residents including Ohlone Indians, Americans, Spanish Californians, Hawaiians, Europeans, South Americans and New Zealanders.

After James Marshall found gold at Sutter’s Mill in 1848, the world poured into San Francisco. By 1852, the city swelled to almost 35,000 inhabitants. The California gold rush transformed a fishing village into the internationally-famous city of San Francisco almost overnight. Today, San Francisco’s 49 square miles are home to more than 800,000 people. And there’s your first fact: San Francisco is probably smaller than you think. In fact, it’s smaller than not only Los Angeles, but also San Diego and San Jose, both of which have more than a million inhabitants.

It’s a Fact: Chinese Fortune Cookies Were Invented by a Japanese

The country’s first Chinese immigrants came to San Francisco in 1848. In an act typical of San Francisco’s cultural crazy quilt, the Japanese Hagiwara family invented “Chinese” fortune cookies at Golden Gate Park’s Tea Garden.

At Chinatown’s Ross Alley fortune cookie factory, you can buy them fresh – and watch a Rube Goldberg-like contraption turn them out by the dozens.

Steepest, Crookedest Are Not What You Think

A city built on 43 hills will surely have steep, curving streets. Vermont Avenue between 22nd and 23rd is “crookedest,” and Filbert between Hyde and Leavenworth is steepest at 31.5 degrees.

But neither fact discourages tourists from flocking to Lombard Street’s seductive curves.


Nobody’s Buried Here

San Francisco outlawed burials in 1901, and the Presidio and Mission have the city’s only remaining cemeteries. The cemeteries are in the neighboring town of Colma, the world’s only incorporated city where the dead outnumber the living. Permanent residents of its 16 cemeteries include Wyatt Earp and Joe DiMaggio.

The cemetery at Mission Dolores no longer accepts new burials, but its stones include the city’s first Alcalde (Chief Administrator), appointed while the area was under Mexican rule.


Ellis Island of the West

Some people call Angel Island the Ellis Island of the West. It’s the place where more than 175,000 Chinese immigrants and Japanese “picture brides” once waited to enter the country. Poems of hope they carved into the walls are still visible at Immigration Station.


A Rolling National Historic Landmark

San Francisco cable cars are the country’s only rolling National Historic Landmark, and millions of people take a nine-mile-per-hour ride on them each year. At the Cable Car Barn Museum, you can watch enormous 500-horsepower electric motors turn the endless cable loops that keep them moving.

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