50 Golden Facts about San Francisco, Paris of the West

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26Yardbird Temple

There was a church named Yardbird Temple in San Francisco that worshiped jazz saxophonist John Coltrane as God incarnate.

27. San Francisco’s LBGT culture was rooted in the gold rush when the city’s population was 95% men. The unbalanced gender ratio made things such as cross-dressing and same-sex dancing commonplace.

28. The famous fog that San Francisco is known for, has a name: Karl. Karl has an Instagram page with more than 250,000 followers.

29. San Francisco's Treasure Island is radioactive because it was once a navy nuclear facility, and they botched the cleanup.

30. The San Francisco Bay has an average depth of only about "a swimming pool - 12 to 15 feet."

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31Bob Geary

In 1993, the entire city of San Francisco voted on whether a police offer (Bob Geary) could keep a ventriloquist dummy (Brendan O’Smarty) with him on patrol. The officer won.

32. During the San Francisco Police Department Strike of 1975, the SFPD clashed with the law and the Mayor. Eventfully a bomb was detonated on the Mayor's lawn with a sign reading "Don't Threaten Us."

33. Botto Bistro, an Italian restaurant in San Francisco, started a campaign “Hate us on Yelp” to become the worst-rated restaurant in Yelp. It also offered a 25% discount to customers who gave it a 1-star review on Yelp.

34. Tanforan Racetrack which is 10 miles south of San Francisco, was used as an internment camp and forced detention processing center for Japanese Americans during World War 2. It’s now a shopping mall.

35. “Manilatown” in San Francisco was one of USA’s first Filipino American communities. In the 1960s, the community was getting destroyed due to city development and forced eviction, which led to an anti-eviction/tenants’ rights campaign that helped rent control laws to be established in 1979.

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36Great San Francisco Earthquake

In the Great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, three men were caught alive on the roof of a hotel that was ablaze. Rather than see the men fall and be burned alive, a nearby military officer ordered his men to shoot them.

37. San Francisco is both a City and its own County. It's the only consolidated City-County in California.

38. The San Francisco Fire Department has three separate fire-fighting water supply systems. The three are low-pressure water supply, the high-pressure auxiliary water supply, and 172 underground water cisterns holding approximately 11 million gallons of water.

39. Between 1867 and 1974, various cities of the United States had "ugly laws". In San Francisco, a law of 1867 deemed it illegal for "any person, who is diseased, maimed, mutilated or deformed... to expose himself or herself to public view."

40. In 2013, Federal District Court in San Francisco dismissed a lawsuit from Dairy Farmers to rename Almond Milk to "Nut Juice" for false advertising since "Nuts don't Lactate" It was rejected as "No reasonable consumer would mistake a product like soy milk or almond milk with dairy milk from a cow.”

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41Chinatown Relocation

In 1906, San Francisco tried to relocate Chinatown before China sent over diplomats stating that the Emperor was unhappy, and threatened the Cessation of Trade to San Francisco.

42. The San Francisco Fire Department still uses wooden ladders, which they make and maintain themselves. Some are close to 100 years old and still in operation.

43. Although it's called the "San Francisco Bay Area", the city of San Francisco isn't even the biggest city in that area. San Jose, it's neighbor to the South, is more populous and nearly 4 times larger in area.

44. The San Francisco Bay wasn't discovered for over 200 years after Europeans first discovered California due to the Farallon Islands. Expeditions were so fearful of them that they sailed west to avoid them, thus missing the small Golden Gate inlet. The Bay was later discovered by land.

45. The Jesuit-Run University of San Francisco had their phone prefix as 666 from 1972 to 1992.

46BART escalators

In 2012, when repair workers pulled open a broken BART escalator at San Francisco’s Civic Center Station, they found so much human excrement in it that they had to call a hazardous-materials team.

47. 29% of San Francisco's air pollution comes from China.

48. In 1904, the founder of Bank of Italy in San Francisco, Amadeo Giannini, converted a saloon to a bank to help the immigrants other banks would not serve. He made loans on handshake deals and claimed every loan was repaid.

49. The term Golden Gate (Bridge) refers to the Golden Gate Strait which is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.

50. The “Antique Vibrator Museum” in San Francisco, California is devoted to the history and preservation of vibrators from the mid-1800s to the 1970s.


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