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The San Francisco Bay Area Portal

California Bay Area county map
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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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An 1880s lithograph of the original California State Normal School campus in San Jose
San Jose State University (often abbreviated San Jose State or SJSU) is a comprehensive public university located in San Jose, California, United States. It is the founding school of the 23 campus California State University (CSU) system, and holds the distinction of being the oldest public institution of higher education on the West Coast of the United States.

Located in downtown San Jose, the SJSU main campus is situated on 154 acres (62 ha), or roughly 19 square blocks. SJSU offers 134 bachelor's and master's degrees with 110 concentrations and five credential programs with 19 concentrations. The university also offers three joint doctoral degree programs and will launch its first independent doctoral program in 2014. SJSU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). (more...)

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California wine grapes
Gerald Albert Asher (born 18 August 1932) is an English-born wine personality, based since 1974 in San Francisco, California. Initially a wine merchant and importer, today he is a wine writer.

Born in London and raised partly in rural Essex because of the Blitz, Asher's career in wine began in 1950, when he took a part-time job at a wine retailer in London's Shepherd Market. He founded his own merchant house, Asher, Storey and Co, in 1955, to import rare and lesser-known French wines to Britain. Active until 1970, the firm was widely seen as ground-breaking for its introduction to the British market of several previously obscure wines that proceeded to become popular. In 1971, Asher relocated to New York to take up a senior position at Austin, Nichols and Co, which imported Bordeaux-classed wines to the United States. The next year he also became wine editor at Gourmet magazine, a post he would hold for the next three decades, writing the "Wine Journal" column, which eventually became monthly. In 1974, he received the Mérite agricole from the French government for his contributions to French agriculture. (more...)

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Dogtown (originally named Woodville) is an unincorporated community in the rural West Marin region of coastal Marin County, California in the San Francisco Bay Area's North Bay. It lies at an elevation of 187 feet (57 m). With a population of 30, the town is located beside the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore, in the Olema Valley west of the Bolinas Ridge mountain range. (more...)

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Shakey the Robot at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View
image credit: Marshall Astor

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Exterior of V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena

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Did you know...

Emiko Omori and Victor Wong
Tim Stearns
The Oceanic, 1871
Ghost Ship warehouse interior

 • ... that filmmaker Emiko Omori (pictured, left, with Victor Wong) began her career in 1968 at KQED, becoming one of the first camerawomen to work in news documentaries?
 • ... that Fisher Creek is tributary to the largest freshwater wetland in Santa Clara County, Laguna Seca, a seasonal lake important to groundwater recharge and migratory birds?
 • ... that San Francisco based architect Jack Hillmer is known for his meticulously hand-crafted Modernist homes built from redwood, and was an exponent of what Lewis Mumford called the "Bay Region style"?
 • ... that Stanford University Department of Biology chairman Tim Stearns (pictured), together with his wife, medical researcher Susan Cleveland, tend a fruit tree orchard at their home in Redwood City?
 • ... that the Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company's flagship, the Oceanic (pictured), set a Pacific crossing record of 16 days and 10 hours, 8 days less than the ships of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company?
 • ... that the building consumed in the 2016 Oakland warehouse fire had at least ten complaints filed on it since 1998? (interior damage pictured)
 • ... that after Agnes Fay Morgan conducted a nutritional study with foxes, she presented her data wearing a stole made from the fur of her subjects?

Previous Did you know...

John A. Stones California Songster
Elizabeth Thacher Kent

 • ... that the 1985 Pacific Conference Games, held at Edwards Stadium in Berkeley, was the fifth and final Pacific Conference Games between Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the United States?
 • ... that California Gold Rush song collector John A. Stone composed Sweet Betsy from Pike? (songbook pictured)
 • ... that during the Cold War Fort Cronkhite was used to house soldiers of the nearby SF-88 Nike Missile launch site?
 • ... that Elizabeth Thacher Kent (pictured) helped create the Muir Woods National Monument by donating land to the government?
 • ... that Mountain View based Made In Space, Inc.'s 3D Zero-G Printer was the first manufacturing device in space?
 • ... that Marsh Creek State Park was named for John Marsh, the first non-Hispanic European to settle in what is now Contra Costa County?

February 2015

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Albert Dieudonné in Abel Gance's Napoleon

San Francisco Silent Film Festival is a film festival first held in 1996 and presented every July at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. It is the largest silent film festival in the United States. In 2012, The festival presented, in association with American Zoetrope, The Film Preserve, Photoplay Productions, and the British Film Institute, a restored version of Abel Gance's Napoléon. (Albert Dieudonné as Napoléon pictured)


~ "San Francisco", lyrics by Gus Kahn, from the 1936 film San Francisco
*more quotes about San Francisco from Wikiquote

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