If you live in the San Francisco area or maybe you are just visiting, it doesn’t take long before you recognize the true origins of the city. Even those who might not be particularly knowledgeable about the west coast, it’s easy to find key evidence of San Francisco’s origins, especially the maritime industry that even today permeates the life of the region. Indeed, from the first look you take at the natural setting of the harbors you will get a feel of the stories of where men have labored in the waters off-shore to earn their livelihood, directly or indirectly. Even when the inhabitants of the area consisted only of native Americans, they were dependent on the waters and the products that came from them, just as the white fishermen did after them, and even today.

When the Gold Rush started in 1849, the emphasis on fishing and other maritime activities slowed only slightly since San Francisco and the surrounding areas became the epicenter to one of the greatest population and commercial explosions to ever happen. Even after the area was almost totally devastated by the great earthquake of 1906, San Franciscans proved their resiliency by quickly rebuilding, not only in order to replace what had been their city before the disaster but to establish their city as a major financial and cultural beacon for the world over.

In 1912, a movement is known as “greater San Francisco” started, with the vision of reconstruction that was modeled on New York City, with San Francisco as the “Manhattan” while outlying areas became boroughs that included Marin County, certain areas of Alameda County, including Berkeley, Oakland, Piedmont, and northern San Mateo County, and from north of San Bruno. Some of these efforts to begin this process were started in earnest, but soon the California legislature caused the effort to slow considerably, turning the efforts instead to the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915, which was designed to promote the opening of the Panama Canal, but effectively unveiled the new and revitalized city of San Francisco to the world instead.

During World War II, the city of San Francisco became a major supply and transportation hub for the war effort.