The nicest city in California is probably San Francisco. Everyone is more or less familiar with the street scene of this liberal city, with the ‘cable cars’, trams that run through the city center. They are of historical importance for the city, but today many people still use the trams to get from A to B.
Then of course there are the immensely steep hills of San Francisco on which houses have been built everywhere. Then you also have the Victorian houses that you often see in major Hollywood productions. Think of the Fullhouse and Mrs. Doubtfire. There is so much to see, so much to discover, San Francisco is a must see!
In the eighteenth century, European settlers reached San Francisco Bay. The sailors brought on land European diseases that the Indians could not withstand. Nearly all tribes were exterminated within a short time. Years later, almost simultaneously with the handover of California from Mexico to the US, San Francisco was founded. The first inhabitants of the bay were prospectors who had moved to California in the hope of getting rich.
In 1906 an earthquake caused extensive damage all over the city. Large parts of San Francisco had to be renovated. During these years of reconstruction, the Golden Gate Bridge was also constructed and built. The sixties and seventies saw a lot of rebelliousness in the city. Hippies in the 1960s saw San Francisco as a kind of hometown and the city was flooded with flower power. In the seventies a gay movement arose in ‘Frisco’ and the Castro district was officially renamed ‘gay’ district.
In San Francisco you will find a nice piece of architecture, namely the Golden Gate Bridge. Used in many movies/commercials and series such as Full House makes it a must see when in ‘Frisco’! The bridge connects the San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County and crosses the Golden Gate strait of the same name.
This strait connects the city’s bay with the Pacific. The name Golden Gate dates from the time when prospectors went to northern California to look for gold. When they arrived at the bay of the city, the strait got its name. Construction of the bridge designed by Joseph Strauss began in 1933. The Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937. This colossus has a length of more than 2.5 kilometers and is still one of the longest bridges in the US!
Fun fact: Although the bridge was completed in 1937, regular maintenance work still needs to be done. For example, there is a painting team that regularly provides the bridge with a fresh layer of orange paint!
In San Francisco Bay is a small, deserted island that once housed America’s most infamous prison. Indeed, this is Alcatraz. If you are in San Francisco, you can hardly avoid a visit to this National Park. In addition to a visit to the prison, you can also visit the oldest lighthouse on the American west coast. A visit to ‘the Rock’ is also free! You only pay a small fee for the ferry that takes you to the island. The remarkable events that have taken place in this controversial place alone make it an interesting day trip. Book your tour a few days in advance so that you know for sure that there is room.
Alcatraz was used for various purposes from the nineteenth century. It first served as a military fortress. It was then turned into a prison in 1907. Because of its isolated location, it was seen as a mission impossible to escape and that’s why serious criminals were locked up here, safe and far away from civilization. Thugs like Al Capone spent their days here.
Alcatraz was a prison for nearly sixty years until it was abolished in 1963. In the late 1960s, Alcatraz came back into the limelight. A group of Native Americans, Indians, had come to the island to protest. They claimed the island as Indian land for up to eighteen months. The uprising ended in 1970, when President Nixon deployed the military and ordered an end to the uprising.
Despite the end of the occupation, it did bear fruit. Native American tribes were no longer under the strict supervision of the government, but regained power in their own hands.