San Francisco

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San Francisco

(săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden Gate; inc. 1850. The city is the heart of the San Francisco Bay region and with Oakland and San Jose comprises the fourth largest metropolitan area in the United States.


Tourism is the economic mainstay, with service industries supporting the large number of annual visitors. For most of its history, San Francisco was the financial center of the West Coast, but in the late 20th cent. the city began to compete with Los Angeles for this distinction. Finance remains one of the most important activities; the city is still headquarters to two of the country's largest commercial banks as well as a Federal Reserve bank and the Pacific Stock Exchange. Many insurance companies are based there. Printing and publishing, food processing, and oil refining are important, and the city's manufactures include textiles and apparel, computers, chemicals, communications equipment, and machinery.

San Francisco is also the marketplace for a large agricultural and mining region and the focus of many transportation routes. Along with the busy port of Richmond across the bay, San Francisco and the Bay Area form one of the largest ports on the West Coast and are a major center of trade with East Asia, Hawaii, and Alaska. The area's transportation needs are served by an extensive highway and rail network and the interurban Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system.

Landmarks and Institutions

The city is renowned for its all-encompassing fogs; soaring bridges; cable cars; busy Market St., with its department stores and office buildings; the Embarcadero, crowded with docks, ships, and cargoes as well as the restored Ferry Building; Fisherman's Wharf, with its seafood restaurants and the center of the city's seafood industry; Chinatown, with its Asian architecture, tearooms, and temples and one of the largest communities of Chinese in the United States; Telegraph Hill; Russian Hill; and Nob Hill, the home of millionaires. Other points of interest are Mission Dolores (1782; at first called San Francisco de Asís); many old mansions built by railroad and mining kings; the Cliff House on Point Lobos, overlooking the Pacific and the rocks, 100 ft (30.5 m) offshore, inhabited by sea lions; and the civic center, with a distinctive Renaissance-style city hall, a modern public library completed in 1996, and the municipally owned opera house, where performances of the symphony orchestra and ballet and opera companies are held. The Presidio, formerly the largest (1,542 acres/624 hectares) military encampment in an American city and now part of the national park system, was headquarters of the Sixth Army and is the site of a national military cemetery; a Disney museum, residences, and offices are there.

In Golden Gate Park the California Academy of Sciences building includes a natural history museum, an aquarium, and a planetarium; the city has a zoo and an interactive science museum, the Exploratorium, as well. Art museums include the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (the M. H. De Young Memorial Museum and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor), the Asian Art Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The city also has an arts and garden complex, the Yerba Buena Gardens. Institutions of higher learning in the city include two branches of the Univ. of California (the medical campus at Parnassus Heights and Hastings College of the Law), San Francisco State Univ., the Univ. of San Francisco, and several theological seminaries. The city's professional sports teams are the Giants (National League baseball) and 49ers (National Football League; playing in Santa Clara since in 2014). The 2013 America's Cup yacht race was hosted by the city and held in San Francisco Bay.


The city was founded in 1776, when a Spanish presidio and a mission were established at a location chosen by Juan Bautista de AnzaAnza, Juan Bautista de
, 1735–88, Spanish explorer and official in the Southwest and the far West, reputed founder of San Francisco, b. Mexico. Accompanied by Father F. T. H.
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. The little settlement called Yerba Buena was still a village when the Mexican War broke out and a naval force under Commodore John D. SloatSloat, John Drake,
1781–1867, American naval officer, b. near Goshen, N.Y. He entered the navy as a midshipman in 1800 and resigned after a year's service, but reentered for service in the War of 1812.
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 took it (1846) in the name of the United States. It was then named San Francisco.

When gold was discovered in California in 1848, San Francisco had a population of c.800; two years later it was incorporated with a population of c.25,000. The rush of gold seekers, adventurers, and settlers brought a period of lawlessness, when the Barbary CoastBarbary Coast
, waterfront area of San Francisco, Calif., in the years after the 1849 gold rush. Gamblers, gangsters, prostitutes, and confidence men flourished, and the brothels, saloons, and disreputable boardinghouses made the Barbary Coast—named after the pirate coast
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 flourished and the vigilantesvigilantes
, members of a vigilance committee. Such committees were formed in U.S. frontier communities to enforce law and order before a regularly constituted government could be established or have real authority.
..... Click the link for more information.
 were organized to keep peace. The city took on a cosmopolitan air, with newcomers arriving from all over the world. In this period the first Chinese settled in the city. In the years after the gold rush, San Francisco continued to grow as California became linked overland with the East, by the pony expresspony express,
in U.S. history, relay mail service. At its inception in Apr., 1860, the pony express operated between St. Joseph, Mo., the western end of a telegraph line, and Sacramento, Calif.
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 in 1860 and by the transcontinental railroad in 1869.

On the morning of Apr. 18, 1906, the great San Andreas fault, which extends up and down the California coast, shifted violently, and San Francisco was shaken by an earthquake that, together with the sweeping three-day fire that followed, all but destroyed the city. Earthquakes have since continued to plague the city and its environs.

The opening of the Panama Canal, a boon to the city's trade, was celebrated by the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915. The spectacular San Francisco–Oakland Bay BridgeSan Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge,
double-decked structure, W Calif.; built 1933–36 and (eastern section replacement) 2002–13. It has a total length of 8.25 mi (13.2 km).
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 was opened in 1936 and the Golden Gate BridgeGolden Gate Bridge,
across the Golden Gate from San Francisco to Marin Co., W Calif.; built 1933–37. Its overall length is 9,266 ft (2,824 m); its main span across the strait, 4,200 ft (1,280 m), is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. Joseph B.
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 in 1937. By the time of the Golden Gate International Exposition (1939–40) the whole San Francisco Bay area was heavily industrialized; it had become the leading commercial center of the West Coast. During World War II, San Francisco was the major mainland supply point and port of embarkation for the war in the Pacific. The United Nations Charter (1945) was drafted at San Francisco, and the Japanese Peace Treaty (1951) was signed there.

San Francisco's natural beauty and mild climate have made it attractive as a residential city, but it is increasingly split between areas of wealth and of urban impoverishment. Among the more well-known contemporary neighborhoods are Haight-Ashbury, famous in the 1960s and 70s for its youth ("flower children"), music, and drug cultures; and a large homosexual community that has principally grown around Castro Street.

George Moscone, the city's mayor, and Harvey MilkMilk, Harvey,
1931–78, U.S. politician and gay-rights activist. When elected (1977) to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, he was the first acknowledged homosexual to win high local office in the United States.
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, the first openly gay city supervisor, were assassinated in 1978. A severe earthquake hit the Bay Area in Oct., 1989,; the Marina district was the site of the most severe damage in San Francisco. In 1995 the city elected its first African-American mayor, Willie Brown, Jr., a former speaker of the state assembly.


See S. Dickson, San Francisco Profiles (3 vol., 1947–55); Federal Writers' Project, San Francisco (rev. ed. 1973); J. H. Mollenkopf, The Contested City (1983); M. Scott, The San Francisco Bay Area (2d ed. 1985); M. Gordon, Once upon a City (1988); G. Kamiya, Cool Gray City of Love (2013).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

San Francisco


a city on the Pacific coast of the USA, in California. An important US transportation, commercial, industrial, financial, and cultural center. San Francisco is situated at the tip of a narrow, hilly peninsula; it overlooks the Pacific Ocean on the west and San Francisco Bay on the east and north. The Golden Gate strait connects the bay and the Pacific Ocean. San Francisco proper covers 115.5 sq km and has a population of 681,000 (1974; 775,000 in 1950); the entire metropolitan area, including Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Santa Clara, and Richmond, has a population of 3.7 million (1950, 2.1 million). In the San Francisco metropolitan area, 727,500 persons are economically active (1973), including 27 percent in industry, 39 percent in commerce, and 27 percent in services.

San Francisco, Oakland, and the other parts of the Bay Area together make up the largest port on the US Pacific coast (approximately 32 million tons of cargo in 1970) and one of the largest seaports in the USA. The Bay Area is also the terminus of transcontinental railroads and highways. It has three major airports: San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport, and San Jose Municipal Airport. Machine building and metalworking are among the Bay Area’s largest industries; more than one-third of the area’s industrial workers are employed in shipbuilding, including the production of military vessels, and in the manufacture of instruments, electronics equipment, and other goods. Other industries—the food industry, oil refining, the chemical industry, printing, ferrous metallurgy (the plants have incomplete cycles and do not smelt pig iron)—are also prominent. Most industrial enterprises are not in San Francisco itself; for example, there are electronics and aerospace enterprises in Santa Clara and a petroleum refinery in Richmond. Five major US banks, including the Bank of America, as well as Standard Oil of California (petrochemicals), Kaiser Industries (metallurgy, chemicals; located in Oakland), and other companies have their corporate headquarters in San Francisco.

In 1776 a fortified Spanish trading settlement, later named Yerba Buena, was founded on the site of modern San Francisco. In 1811 the Russian settlement of Fort Ross (sold in 1839) was built nearby. In the period 1810–26, during the War for Independence of the Spanish-American Colonies, the San Francisco Bay region became part of independent Mexico. In 1846, during the Mexican War, Yerba Buena was seized by the USA, and, in 1847, it was renamed San Francisco. California’s gold rush in the mid-19th century and the opening up of the West and expansion of Pacific trade gave a great impetus to San Francisco’s growth; the city’s population increased from 500 in 1848 to 25,000 in 1850 and to 234,000 in 1880. San Francisco is a major center of the labor movement. In 1945 the international conference that founded the United Nations met in San Francisco.

San Francisco has a US naval base and naval shipyard. There is a naval air station in Alameda.

In the 19th century, San Francisco was laid out on a grid plan. After the earthquake of 1906 it was almost completely rebuilt. Its hills and architectural variety give the city a unique, picturesque appearance. Spanish colonial structures, including the Mission Dolores (1782–91), have been preserved. The city’s characteristically low buildings and crowded ethnic neighborhoods, such as Chinatown and the Latin Quarter, adjoin the modern skyscrapers of the business district. Of architectural note are the Ferry Building (1896), the Civic Center buildings (1910–20), the Palace of Fine Arts (1915, architect B. May-beck), Unity Hospital (formerly the Maimonides Health Center; 1946, architect E. Mendelsohn), the former V. C. Morris Store (1948, architect F. L. Wright), the Industrial Indemnity Building (formerly the John Hancock Building; 1959, SOM architects), the Bank of America building, the Transamerica Building, the International building, the Holiday Inn hotel, and the Golden Gateway Redevelopment Project (1955–70). Two suspension bridges, both masterpieces of engineering, connect the various parts of the Bay Area. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (1936) spans San Francisco Bay in two sections with a total length of 13 km. The strikingly light and elegant Golden Gate Bridge (1937), with a center span 1,280 m long, crosses the bay to the north of San Francisco. A rapid-transit system—subway in San Francisco and for the most part above ground elsewhere—moves passengers about the Bay Area. Cable cars, preserved by decision of the municipal authorities, have run since 1874. San Francisco is a major tourist center, attracting more than 1.6 million visitors a year.

San Francisco has many educational institutions, including the University of California Medical Center, California State University at San Francisco, the University of San Francisco, Golden Gate University, and the Conservatory of Music. Research institutions include the California Academy of Sciences. The city’s largest libraries are the San Francisco Public Library, the various university libraries, and the San Francisco Law Library. The largest museums are the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Asian Art Museum, and the Palace of the Legion of Honor (a fine-arts museum).

In 1974, San Francisco had the San Francisco Opera, the Spring Opera Theater, the Western Opera Theater, the San Francisco Symphony, the Civic Light Opera, the San Francisco Ballet, the American Conservatory Theater (drama), the Japan Center, and the Chinese Culture Center.


Loung, I. P. San Francisco: A History of the Pacific Coast Metropolis, vols. 1–2. San Francisco, 1913.
Appert, R. San Francisco. San Francisco, 1934.
Baird, J. A. Time’s Wondrous Changes: San Francisco Architecture, 1776–1915. San Francisco, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

San Francisco

a port in W California, situated around the Golden Gate: developed rapidly during the California gold rush; a major commercial centre and one of the world's finest harbours. Pop.: 751 682 (2003 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

San Francisco

(project, library)
IBM's Java component framework application template.

The San Francisco Project, started in 1998(?), aims to create a generic set of java building blocks to provide the core functions of general business processes such as sales order processing, general ledger, inventory management and product distribution.

The project aims to use component based design allowing easy vendor customisation and Java code generation allowing applications to be built and run across multiple platforms. It also aims to be compatible with third party development tools.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (
References in classic literature ?
It would certainly be interesting to be out in the streets of San Francisco when not a wheel was turning and the whole city was taking an enforced vacation.
"There was the teamsters' strike, right here in San Francisco," Bertie went on imperturbably.
They reported the same conditions in those places as in San Francisco. Everything was tied up by the strike.
Let each one of you who is prosperous take into his house some thief and treat him as his brother, some unfortunate and treat her as his sister, and San Francisco will need no police force and no magistrates; the prisons will be turned into hospitals, and the criminal will disappear with his crime.
Only, if you are not in TOO much of a hurry to rush off to San Francisco with that post-office appointment, Mr.
He mailed the manuscript in a flat envelope, and addressed it to the editor of the SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER.
Some degrees above opened the bay of San Francisco. Through the capital of the gold country communication would be easy with the heart of the Union.
On receipt of the telegram the Naval Secretary telegraphed to the Susquehanna to wait in the bay of San Francisco without extinguishing her fires.
A railway train from San Francisco to New York, and a transatlantic steamer from New York to Liverpool, would doubtless bring them to the end of this impossible journey round the world within the period agreed upon.
Eleven days later, on the 3rd of December, the General Grant entered the bay of the Golden Gate, and reached San Francisco.
"I'll sign the articles that I'm to sign off in San Francisco then."
"To say nothing of the mortgage on my house and on the nicest little best paying flat building in San Francisco since the earthquake."

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