Portal:San Francisco Bay Area

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The San Francisco Bay Area Portal

California Bay Area county map
SF Bay area USGS.jpg

The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, is a populated region that surrounds the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California, United States. The region encompasses the major cities and metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, 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 7.44 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 urban area of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose is the second largest in California (after the Greater Los Angeles area), the fifth largest in the United States, and the 56th largest urban area in the world.

The United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) does not use the nine-county definition of the San Francisco Bay Area. The OMB has designated a more extensive 12-county Combined Statistical Area (CSA) titled the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area which also includes the three counties of San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, and San Benito that do not border San Francisco Bay, but are economically tied to the nine counties that do. The southernmost portion of Sacramento County has direct access to Suisun Bay, which lies immediately to the east of San Pablo Bay, but is not counted as one of the counties of the Bay Area.

The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its natural beauty, liberal politics, entrepreneurship, and diversity. The area has high incomes, performing 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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View of Spanish colonial Presidio of San Francisco and the Golden Gate
The history of the city of San Francisco and its development as a center of maritime trade, have been greatly influenced by its location at the entrance to one of the world's best natural harbors. San Francisco is the name of both the city and the county, which share the same boundaries.

The first Native Americans to settle this region found the bay to be a vast natural resource for hunting and gathering their provisions and for the establishment of many small villages. Collectively, these early Native Americans were known as the Ohlone, and the language they spoke belonged to the Miwok family, their trade patterns included places as far away as Baja California, the Mojave Desert and Yosemite.

The first Europeans in the vicinity of what would become San Francisco were members of a Spanish exploratory voyage led by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. Cabrillo, sailing north from Mexico, explored the coast as far north as present-day Point Reyes, but failed to discover the entrance to San Francisco Bay. An English expedition led by Sir Francis Drake may also have sailed past the bay entrance, in 1579. Drake mapped the coast farther north at Drake's Bay, naming the area "Nova Albion", but made little effort to claim or settle the land. (more...)

Selected biography

Installation of Hedrick's 1967 "War Room"
Wally Bill Hedrick (1928 in Pasadena, California – December 17, 2003 in Bodega Bay, California) was a seminal American artist in the 1950s California counterculture, gallerist, and educator who came to prominence in the early 1960s. Hedrick’s contributions to art include pioneering artworks in psychedelic light art, mechanical kinetic sculpture, junk/assemblage sculpture, Pop Art, and (California) Funk Art. Later in his life, he was a recognized forerunner in Happenings, Conceptual Art, Bad Painting, Neo-Expressionism, and image appropriation. Hedrick was also a key figure in the first important public manifestation of the Beat Generation when he helped to organize the Six Gallery Reading, and created the first artistic denunciation of American foreign policy in Vietnam. Wally Hedrick was known as an “idea artist” long before the label “conceptual art” entered the art world, and experimented with innovative use of language in art. (more...)

Selected city

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South San Francisco is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States, located on the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area. The population was 63,632 at the 2010 census.

South San Francisco lies north of San Bruno and San Francisco International Airport in a small valley south of Daly City, Colma, Brisbane, and San Bruno Mountain, east of Pacifica and the hills of the Coast Range, and west of the waters of San Francisco Bay. Locals often refer to the town as "South City," in much the same way that San Francisco is called "The City." People unfamiliar with the area often mistake "South San Francisco" as the southern part of the city of San Francisco. In fact, the city of South San Francisco is not even contiguous with the city of San Francisco, due to the city of Brisbane being between them. (more...)

Selected image

Sea Ranch Chapel.jpg
The Sea Ranch Chapel, a non-denominational chapel designed by James T. Hubbell, Sea Ranch
image credit: Ingrid Taylar

Recently in the Bay Area

2017
Warm Springs BART station on opening day
The United States of America, Arthur Szyk (1945)
Robert Taylor in 2008
Customers waiting to purchase the Tesla 3 in Walnut Creek, California

The Bay Area by year

1964
Don Edwards
Oakland Temple

Selected historical image

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The Street of Gamblers (Ross Alley) (Chinatown) Arnold Genthe (1898)
image credit: Arnold Genthe

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...

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July - September 2007

Selected periodic event

Police Officer on duty at the fair

The Castro Street Fair is a San Francisco lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender LGBT street festival and fair usually held on the first Sunday in October in the Castro neighborhood, the main LGBT neighborhood in the city. The fair was founded by Harvey Milk, and the group he led, the Castro Valley Association, in 1974. (San Francisco Police Officer on duty pictured)

Quote

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~ Herb Caen, on San Francisco (ca. 1949)
*more quotes about San Francisco from Wikiquote

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GoldenGateBridge-001.jpg You are invited to participate in the San Francisco Bay Area task force, a task force dedicated to developing and improving articles about the San Francisco Bay Area.

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