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The San Francisco Bay Area (referred to locally as the Bay Area) is a populous region surrounding the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses the major cities and metropolitan areas of San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland, 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 7.68 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 statistical area of the region is the second-largest in California (after the Greater Los Angeles area), the fifth-largest in the United States, and the 43rd-largest urban area in the world with 8.80 million people.

The Bay Area has the second-most Fortune 500 companies in the United States, after the New York metropolitan area, and is known for its natural beauty, liberal politics, entrepreneurship, and diversity. The area ranks second in highest density of college graduates, after the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and performs 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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Mission San Francisco de Asís, or Mission Dolores, is the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco and the sixth religious settlement established as part of the California chain of missions. The Mission was founded on June 29, 1776, by Lieutenant José Joaquin Moraga and Father Francisco Palóu (a companion of Father Junipero Serra), both members of the de Anza Expedition, which had been charged with bringing Spanish settlers to Alta (upper) California, and evangelizing the local Natives, the Ohlone. The settlement was named for St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order, but was also commonly known as "Mission Dolores" owing to the presence of a nearby creek named Arroyo de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, meaning "Our Lady of Sorrows Creek."

The original Mission consisted of a log and thatch structure dedicated on October 9, 1776 after the required church documents arrived. It was located near what is today the intersection of Camp and Albion Streets, about a block-and-a-half east of the surviving adobe Mission building, and on the shores of a lake (supposedly long since filled) called Laguna de los Dolores.

The present Mission church, near what is now the intersection of Dolores and 16th Streets, was dedicated in 1791. At the time of dedication a mural painted by native labor adorned the focal wall of the chapel. The Mission was constructed of adobe and part of a complex of buildings used for housing, agricultural and manufacturing enterprises (see architecture of the California missions). Though most of the Mission complex, including the quadrangle and convento, has either been altered or demolished outright during the intervening years, the façade of the Mission chapel has remained relatively unchanged since its construction in 1782–1791. (more...)

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Serranus Hastings

Serranus Clinton Hastings (November 22, 1814 – February 18, 1893) was a 19th-century politician, rancher and a prominent lawyer in the United States. He studied law as a young man and moved to the Iowa District in 1837 to open a law office. Iowa became a territory a year later, and he was elected a member of the House of Representatives of the Iowa Territorial General Assembly. When the territory became the state of Iowa in 1846, he won an election to represent the state in the United States House of Representatives. After his term ended, he became Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. He resigned after one year in office and moved to California. He was appointed to the California Supreme Court as Chief Justice a few months later. He won an election to be Attorney General of California, and assumed office shortly after his term as Chief Justice ended. He began practicing law again as Attorney General. He earned a small fortune with his law practice and used that fortune to finance his successful real estate venture. In 1878, he founded the University of California, Hastings College of the Law with a donation of US$100,000. (more...)

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Daly City is the largest city in San Mateo County, California, United States, with a 2010 population of 101,123. Located immediately south of San Francisco, it is named in honor of businessman and landowner John Daly. It remained a relatively small community until the late 1940s, when developer Henry Doelger established Westlake, a major district of homes and businesses, including the Westlake Shopping Center. (more...)

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The Bay Area by year

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1850
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John W. Geary
First Street, San Jose, ca. 1868-1885
Capitol building, Benicia

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Northern Valley Yukut Indians hunting on bay of San Francisco, California, Louis Choris c. 1822

Did you know...

San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds
San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds

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Galilee, built in Benicia, California
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March/April 2011

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San Francisco Boys Chorus, past performers at the festival

Midsummer Mozart Festival is an annual music festival that exclusively features the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The festival was founded by George Cleve in 1974 and is held at various venues across the San Francisco Bay Area. (The San Francisco Boys Chorus, past performers, pictured)

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~ Robert Frost, A Peck of Gold (1926)

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Bay Area regions, geographic features and protected areas

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