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HoP: San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley #4

Updated: Jan 18

A Short History of California and The East Bay.

by Stephanie Warshauer

Civics Period 8. (1928, cont...)

San Francisco.

The city of San Franciaco was founded by Anza in I770 and first named Yerba Buena. It consisted for many years of a presido near where Fort Scott now stands, and the Mission Dolores, and a few scattering Indian settlements. Loacted on the harbor of San Francisco, its importance even in these early days was recognized. Father Font said of it: "The port of San Francisco is a marvel of nature and may be called the port of ports." In I837 it consisted of a tent of the harbor master and traders' house and store on the edge of the cove. At the Mission Dolores there were at various times from a few hundred to a thousand neophytes. Only occasionally a vessel would the harbor; such an arrival up to I848 was considered a great event by the few inhabitants.

The discovery of gold brought to San Francisco a large number of undesirable people, and the new conditions in the rapidely growing city brought about a reign of terror. This reign of terror was taken care of by the first vigilance committee.

When gold was discovered in I848, San Francisco had 800 inhabitants. The discovery of gold brought to Yerba Buena the gold seekers of the world. In I850 the city was incorported under the name of San Francisco.

San Francisco has been the victim of several great fires. The first fire was in I849, the next in I850 and the greatest one of all the fire and earthquake of April I8, 1906.

Since 1906 everything has been new in San Francisco-new homes


new business blocks, new schools, new churches, and new public severice utilities.

The rise of San Francisco from a little hamlet of a few houses to a great city during the gold rush is a story more wonderful than: that of any other city in our country.

San Francisco 1s Intresting because of its commanding and picturesque situation. From the hills over which it has spread there is a view of the sea of the bay and of the mountains beyond. San Francisco has natural advantages which have made it the chief commercial and manufacturing city in California.



Because of the deep water lying close along the shore, the ships coming through the Golden Gate anchored on the peninsula side, and it was on the peninsula that the padres built their mission. The establishment of the presido and fort built by thé Spaniards also tended to bring to this side the travel both by land and sea, and it was very natural that the first town on San Francisco should be on the peninsula. -

Across the bay, on the mainland, was a low, broad plain, covered with great oaks and hills beyond whose raving abounded redwoods.

Men from Portola's expedition camped here, and in 1797 Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen had established farther down south the Mission San Jose, but it was not until twenty-three Jears later that the first settlers came to that part of the mainland across from Yerba Bueana. Don Luis Maria Peralta received, on June 20, 1820, from Governor de Sala, last of the Spanish governors of California, a grant of land which included all of the sites of the present cities of Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro, and which was called the Rancho of San Antonio.

Peralta had four sons, and in I842 the Rancho San Antonio was divided among them. To Jose Domingo Peralta was given the northwestern part, embrasing what is now Berkeley. The adjacent part, that which is now the main part of Oakland, including the Encinal del Temescal, then an oak grove, was given to Vicente Peralta. To Antonio Maria Peralta was given that which now Includes East Oakland and Alameda, while to Ignacio Peralta was given the land to the south, as far as San Leandro Creek.

With the great wave of immigration following the discovery


of gold came the gradual overflow of the white settlers upon the Peralta lands. In I850 one Moses Chase, said to be the first white settler in Oakland territory, pitched his tent beside the estuary. In I85I Edson Adams, A. J. Moon and H.W. Carpentier squated on Vicente Peralta's land near the point where Broadway now touches the estuary. Peralta appealed to the law and finally leased to the three men the tract of land on which they laid out the city of Oakland, which was incorporated in I852.

The little town had at this time only about I00 inhabitants.

There were a few scattered ranchos in the vicinity and the lumbering of the redwoods in the adjacent hills was the only industry. Wild Mexican cattle still roamed the hills, which were luxuriantly covered with yellow mustard and wild oats. Yet so rapidly was California growing, and so promising the future of the little city, that in I853 Oakland was reported to have a population of 8,000

Now the Rancho San Antonio is covered with the spreading and constantly lengthening streets of the east bay cities, separate in government but one in interest, and so closely grown together that they are in one appearance. Handsome homes are being built high up in the hills where once the clumsy oxen dragged great redwood logs to the mill, and the estuary sho res where Moses Chase pitched his tent are covered with busy factories. A quarter of a million people call Oakland their home.

Oakland is a city which is always developing and there is much in store for her in the future.


Berkeley is the home of the University of California, the largest university in the world. The town is situated north of Oakland on San Francisco Bay. It devrived its name from Goerge Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, Ireland, who came to this country for the purpose of establishing colleges early in the eighteenth century. It was he who wrote the famous lines, "Westward the star of the empire takes its way." When the university was located on its site in I868 there was a small village called Ocean View. It was from this village the Berkeley of today has grown. It is now a rapidly growing with a population of 56,036, according to the I920 census. It has a go0d harbor, large factories, and industrial works, and beautiful homes.

Besides being the educational center of the West it has an industrial future with its excellent location.




California The Golden by Rockwell D. Hunt.

America Volume 2.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Volume 7.

California by Harold W. Fairbanks.

Beginners History by William H. Mace.

California History by Harr Wagner and Mark Keppel.

History of California by H. Chapman.





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