ARCHIVES 2008: Archival R/Evolution & Identities
Only in San Francisco: Come See for Yourself!
San Francisco is renowned for the beautiful views from its many hills, its eclectic architecture, and such iconic landmarks as the Golden Gate Bridge. It's an international tourist destination with singular attractions, celebrated museums, unique neighborhoods, and an ethnically and culturally diverse, cosmopolitan population.
The Ohlone people were living in the area when the first Europeans discovered the San Francisco Bay in 1769. In 1776, the Spanish settled Yerba Buena, establishing a fort at the Golden Gate and Mission Dolores. Commodore Sloat claimed California for the United States during the Mexican-American War and Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco. The California Gold Rush in 1848 brought the first major influx of people and growth to the city. After being devastated by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco celebrated its rebirth at the Panama- Pacific International Exposition in 1915.
During World War II, San Francisco experienced a new influx of people drawn to employment in the shipyards as well as soldiers passing through. After the war, San Francisco slowly built its reputation as a magnet for America's counterculture. In the 1950s, Beat Generation writers took root in the North Beach. In the 1960s, hippies flocked to Haight-Ashbury, peaking with 1967's Summer of Love. In the 1970s, The Castro became a center of the gay rights movement, with Harvey Milk becoming the first openly gay elected official in the United States in 1978.
The 1980s and 1990s brought more turbulence. Although the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was not as devastating as the 1906 earthquake, it still caused significant damage. It changed the landscape of the City, especially in the Marina, South of Market, and the areas surrounding the doomed Embarcadero and Central Freeways. The late 1990s brought yet another influx of people. This time, it was dot-com startups and their employees who flocked to the city and changed the social landscape of the neighborhoods they settled. Although the bursting of the bubble in 2001 caused many companies and people to leave, technology and entrepreneurship continue to be a force in San Francisco.
Buildings and Landmarks
Although San Francisco is known for its ornate Victorian and Edwardian homes, there is no shortage of spectacular buildings and landmarks from all eras. From such internationally recognized landmarks as Alcatraz Island to more obscure treasures like a fortune cookie factory, anyone interested in architecture and historical landmarks will find plenty to explore and discover. Mission Dolores is the oldest intact building in the city. The Sentinel Building is a distinctive green copper Flatiron dating back to 1906 that was restored by Francis Ford Coppola. Bernard Maybeck's Roos House (1909) in Pacific Heights is an excellent example of the Arts and Crafts movement. The 450 Sutter Medical Building (1928) was hailed for its precedent-setting innovation and is a wonderful example of Art Deco architecture both inside and out. The Palace of the Legion of Honor (1928) is a beautiful Beaux Art copy of the Paris original. The Transamerica Pyramid skyscraper (1972) defines our skyline and has been more than just background in several movies, including "Zodiac," "A View to a Kill," and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Last but not least, San Francisco is home to the country's only moving national historical landmark and perhaps its most iconic symbol - cable cars.
San Francisco is rife with galleries, exhibits, museums, and historical societies throughout the city. Major museums include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, De Young Memorial Museum, Asian Art Museum, Exploratorium, and Legion of Honor. Smaller historical and art museums worth a visit include the Presidio Museum, Maritime Museum, Wells Fargo Museum, California Museum and Historical Society, and the Cartoon Art Museum to name just a few. San Francisco's diverse population is reflected in the many organizations that document and explain their cultures to all who are interested. These include The Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Museo Italo Americano, Museum of Russian Culture, National Japanese American Historical Society, and the Mission Cultural Center among others. San Francisco also has some wonderful local-focus historical museums, including the San Francisco Fire Department Museum, the Beat Museum, the Boudin (sourdough) Museum, the Cable Car Barn Museum, and the San Francisco Railway Museum. Embracing new technology, the Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco is a great place to visit from anywhere in the world.
San Francisco's 90+ neighborhoods are its hidden cities, each with a unique culture and history to lure visitors. The historic center of San Francisco contains its most famous neighborhoods, including the Financial District, Union Square, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, North Beach, and Chinatown. Union Square (just two blocks from the Hilton San Francisco) is a popular shopping and hotel area. Nob Hill and Fisherman's Wharf are a short cable car ride from Union Square. Russian Hill is home to the famously crooked Lombard Street. North Beach is a lively Italian neighborhood where the Beat movement was born. Nestled between the Financial District and North Beach is Chinatown, one of the oldest Chinese communities in the country. A highly recommended activity for both tourists and locals alike is to simply wander a neighborhood. You never know what you'll discover - perhaps something as "only in San Francisco" as a shoe garden..
San Francisco is a food lover's paradise. World-class wineries, artisan cheesemakers, and small farms are just a short drive away. Farm-fresh, ingredientdriven food is showcased in restaurants throughout the city. The Ferry Building Farmer's Market is a top destination for both locals and visitors. From the creation of cioppino around 1900 by Italian fishermen to the women behind "locavore," the 2007 Word of the Year, San Franciscans have a long history of appreciating their food and drink. The city's melting-pot immigrant culture and propensity for experimentation has resulted in a city that is chock-full of restaurants of every imaginable style and cuisine. Not only are standard cuisines like Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, and French readily available, but you can plan to enjoy such regional cuisines as Basque, Burmese, Peruvian, Singaporean, Aegean, Venetian, and Afghani.
Come See for Yourself!
San Francisco has so much more to see and do. We've barely skimmed the surface
of our rich literary, music, art, and pop-culture histories. But we'll stop here
and leave you something to discover on your own. Come learn for yourself why
so many have left their hearts in San Francisco.. See you in August!
~ ARCHIVES 2008 Host Committee
SAA Thanks the ARCHIVES 2008 Host Committee Members for Their Hard Work and Enthusiasm!
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