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Interesting Facts about San Francisco

1. Makoto Hagiwara created the "fortune cookie" They were handmade of a light dough flavored with vanilla and butter. The fortune was folded and put inside while the cookie was still hot. They were served for the first time at the Tea House in 1914 and soon became an integral part of the Tea House experience. Hagiwara shared the receipe with the San Francisco bakery, Benkyodo which invented a machine to bake and fold in the fortune for them and supplied the cookies for the Tea House.
Makoto Hagiwara maintained the Tea House and gardens from 1895 until 1942 when they were forced to evacuate their homes and move into internment camps. along with approximately 120,000 other Japanese Americans,  When the war was over, the Hagiwara family was not allowed to return to their home at the tea garden and in subsequent years, many Hagiwara family treasures were removed and the garden fell into ruin, and new additions were made.
2. Denim jeans were invented in San Francisco for the Gold Rush miners who needed tough, comfortable clothing
3. Irish coffee was invented in San Francisco.
4. Francis Ford Coppola famously wrote large portions of The Godfather Trilogy in Caffe Trieste, the first San
Francisco coffee shop, established in 1956
5. There are over three hundred coffee houses within the city boundaries of San Francisco.
6. The original United Nations charter was drafted and signed in San Francisco.
7. Al Capone spent five years in prison in Alcatraz.
8. The original Spanish name for San Francisco was Yerba Buena, meaning "good herb"or"good grass".
9. Nicknames include "Baghdad by the Bay", coined by columnist Herb Caen, and "The City that Knows How".
10. The first plans of the city were drawn by Jean-Jacques Vioget (Swiss) and Jasper O' Farell ( Irish)
11. The first construted street was Grant Street, originally named " Calle De La Fundacion "
12. Chop Suey was created in 1878 during a banquet or Li Hung-Chung, the first Chinese Viceroy to visit our city.
13. There are over 250 wineries in the nearby Napa Valley.
14. Muir Woods, an unspoiled stand of giant redwoods, is just across the Golden Gate bridge.
Yosemite National Park is only a couple of hours drive from the city.
15. In Star Trek, Star Fleet HQ is located just north of San Francisco.
16. "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" was written by a gay couple, Douglass Cross and his partner George Cory in 1954. Tony Bennett's recording in 1962 made the song famous.
17. San Francisco is built on 43 hills.
18. The crookedest street is not Lombard Street , Vermont Avenue between 22nd and 23rd is the "crookedest,".
Filbert between Hyde and Leavenworth is the steepest street at 31.5 degrees.
19. The population of San Francisco at the end of 2004 was 744,230 people
20. San Francisco has the highest number of homeless inhabitants per capita of any major city in the United States.
21.Washington Square Park at Columbus & Union is not actually a square because it has five sides. But then North Beach isn't a beach and the statue in the middle of the park is Ben Franklin not George Washington.
22. Behind New York, Moscow and London, San Francisco is 4th in the world in terms of numbers of billionaires living within its city limits, while having less than 10% the population of the the other three cities.
22. On Mar 14,1896, 7000 people gathered at San Francisco's Ocean Beach to celebrate the official opening of the
Sutro Baths, an extravagant public bathhouse envisioned and developed by the eccentric one-time mayor of San Francisco, Adolph Sutro. He also built the Cliff House.
23. Soon after the Golden Gate Park opened in 1890, John McLaren, the park's designer added a free-range zoo that was home to elk, bears, goats, and buffalo. The buffalo are the only ones that remain.
24. On Mar. 21, 1963, Alcatraz federal prison island in San Francisco Bay was emptied of its last inmates at the order of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.
25.San Francisco Bay is considered the world's largest landlocked harbor.

26.The Dahlia is San Franciscos official flower.

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 open / close                                                       SCENE THROUGH THE EYES OF LOVE

Gazing out my window through the fog at the Golden Gate,
she languidly lifts her gray gossamer gown revealing her golden
thighs. It is not difficult to wax poetic about our city and
the many things there are to do and see here.

San Francisco is for me as one poet described, the
living center of my universe.

I have enjoyed my lazy days in North Beach,
still fragrant with its Italian ambiance, the cool blues
clubs on Upper Grant Avenue, ghosts of the beatniks and
the living poets carrying on outside the Trieste cafe
enjoying their Cappuccinos and Spritzers.

Love to see the dapper older Italian gentlemen
holding forth with each other, the tourist families and lovers, poetry
on the sidewalks, Kerouac Alley, people practicing Tai Chi in Washington
Square. Strolling along Grant Ave window-shopping the newest boutiques,
and again feeling grateful that some of my fondly remembered spots from
the past still have miraculously survived. Art Shows, poetry readings, other
cultural events, music in the park and clubs are a few of my favorite things

Nearby is Chinatown. It's narrow streets of discordant
sidewalks accompanied by the pungent odors of the unusual vegetables
in the abundant Chinese markets. Chinatown is full of novelties, lovely
linens, chinese Herbalists and exotic treasures from the Far East.

Near upscale Union St. and Chestnut St. is the majestic
Palace of Fine Arts with its swans and regal brides posing for their photos.

Although I usually avoid Fisherman Wharf, I did enjoy the blues
music at Lou`s on Jefferson St and am consistently mesmerized by the
talented man in the street creating his amazing name-paintings.

There are many music festivals and happenings on the lush
greens in Golden Gate Park, which is an oasis for nature lovers
with its sublime Japanese Tea Garden, the lacey Conservatory of
Flowers and our truly splendid Strybing Arboretum.

San Francisco has all the museums and cultural attributes
one would expect in a world class city. My favorite Museum is 
The Legion of Honor, set  like a precious jewel in Lincoln Park.
And walking through Lincoln Park to the trail along the cliffs of
Lands End past the ruins of Sutro Baths is inspiring.

I have walked this fair city up , up, up its many hills and down
its secret steps and alleyways. I have searched out its treasure
spots for many years and still continue to find more.

The plethora of languages, colors, cultures living together
within forty nine square miles, getting along quite well with each other.
Tolerance, freedom of expression, and gay exuberance mixing and blending
into a tapestry representing inhabitants from every corner of the world.

I relish all the different neighborhoods and there are so many different
ethnic restaurants that you can eat in a different country every night
for many,many days. Some of the countries are no longer on the
worlds maps but their excellent cuisine continues
thanks to the people who have come here.

My San Francisco struggles to remain the gracious and hospitable hostess
she is in spite of all the urban problems she has in common with all cities
in these times. I am grateful everyday I am still able to live here on
the edge of the continent where I first felt the heart of the world.

~ nicole,, (memoirs)


"When you get tired of walking around in San Francisco, you can always lean against it."

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