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Important Dates in San Francisco History

1542, November 16 Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sailed along the coast near San Francisco and discovered the Farallones.

1575 Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno landed in Drake's Bay, claimed the land for Spain, and named it Puerto de San Francisco.
Sir Francis Drake landed in Drake's Bay, claimed the land for England, and named it Nova Albion.

1769, November 2 Scouts, including José Francisco Ortega, from a Spanish expedition led by Don Gaspar de Portola, discovered the Golden Gate.

1776, March 27 A Spanish expedition led by Juan Bautista de Anza reached Monterey.
1776, June 27 A colonization party led by Lieutenant José Joaquin Moraga reached the original site of
Misión San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores).
1776, July 4 The United States of America declared its independence from Great Britain.
1776, October 9 Misión San Francisco de Asís was officially dedicated.

1846, July 7 As the Mexican-American War unfolded, the United States took possession of a portion of California which included San Francisco. The pueblo of Yerba Buena (founded in 1835) was renamed San Francisco by an ordinance published in the California Star.

1848 Gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill, setting off the Gold Rush of 1849.

1850, February 18 San Francisco County was created by the California Legislature.
1850, April 1 The San Francisco County Government was established.
1850, April 15 The City of San Francisco was incorporated by act of the legislature.
1850, September 9 California became the 31st state admitted to the Union.

1856, July 1 The Consolidation Act, combining the City and County of San Francisco, went into effect.

1861, February 15 Fort Point was completed to defend San Francisco.

1865, October 8 San Francisco was hit by a massive earthquake that caused extensive damage to the city.

1868, October 22 San Francisco was hit by another massive earthquake, causing even more damage and loss of life than the one in 1865.

1873 Jacob Davis and Levi Stauss obtained a patent for their jeans.
1873, August 2 Andrew S. Hallidie tested his first cable car system near the top of Nob Hill at Clay and Jones streets.

1906, April 18 A magnitude 8.25 earthquake was followed by a massive firestorm. The combination of disasters destroyed about 28,000 buildings, killed about 3,000 people, and left some 225,000 persons homeless.

1915, February 20-December 4 San Francisco hosts the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The Palace of Fine Arts was built for this exposition.
1915, December 28 Mayor James Rolph dedicated a new City Hall.

1923 A portion of Lombard was turned into the crookedest street in the world.
1923, September 29 The Steinhart Aquarium and Golden Gate Park opened to the public.

1933 The Coil Tower on Telegraph Hill was completed.

1936, November 12 The Bay Bridge was officially opened.
1937, May 27 The
Golden Gate Bridge was officially opened to pedestrian traffic. It was opened to vehicular traffic the next day.

1945, June 26 The United Nations World Charter of Security was signed in San Francisco.

1972 The Transamerica Building was officially opened.

1978, November 27 A disgruntled ex-city supervisor killed City Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone.

1989, October 17 A magnitude 7.1 earthquake caused about $3 billion worth of damage in San Francisco, in addition to the millions of dollars worth of damage done in surrounding areas.

Sir Francis Drake
Don Gaspar de Portola
Juan Bautista de Anza
Misión San Francisco de Asís
Mexican-American War
Gold Rush
Panama-Pacific International Exposition
Golden Gate Bridge

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The Robinson Library >> San Francisco

This page was last updated on June 26, 2018.