Down by the Bay: San Francisco's History between the Tides

Down by the Bay: San Francisco's History between the Tides

Down by the Bay: San Francisco's History between the Tides

Down by the Bay: San Francisco's History between the Tides

Synopsis

San Francisco Bay is the largest and most productive estuary on the Pacific Coast of North America. It is also home to the oldest and densest urban settlements in the American West. Focusing on human inhabitation of the Bay since Ohlone times , Down by the Bay reveals the ongoing role of nature in shaping that history. From birds to oyster pirates, from gold miners to farmers, from salt ponds to ports, this is the first history of the San Francisco Bay and Delta as both a human and natural landscape. It offers invaluable context for current discussions over the best management and use of the Bay in the face of sea level rise.

Excerpt

To visiting tourists, the iconic experience of the San Francisco Bay Area may be viewing orange bridge towers emerging from swirling fog. For locals, however, it is crossing San Francisco Bay to go to work. Every weekday morning a million people leave their homes around the bay and drive, bike, or ride a train or ferry to work. For many, the destination is the city of San Francisco, where some 765,000 people sleep but nearly a million spend their workdays. San Francisco sits at the tip of a peninsula surrounded by water, so for most commuters, getting to work means crossing the bay on one of eight bridges.

The experience is similar at each bridge. Idling in traffic, drivers may see or smell a patch of remnant marsh or fragrant brown mudflat along the water’s edge. Most drivers do not see, or choose to ignore, the sprawling, rusting network of railroad tracks between the highway and the . . .

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