Inside SF - The San Francisco Scoop

SF History

Here we post current affairs inspired articles on San Francisco’s fascinating history.

San Francisco's founding

San Francisco’s Founding

July 14, 2022

If you look at a map of the West Coast of the U.S. it seems logical that there would be a port in the Bay Area. It’s far and away the best natural harbor between San Diego and Seattle, so it seems entirely natural – almost ordained really – that San Francisco exists. However, like…

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Chinatown crime and vice

Old Chinatown: Crime & Vice

May 19, 2022

San Francisco has the oldest Chinatown in the U.S. and one of the oldest in the West. Chinese first began moving to the city in 1849, as news of “Gam Saan” (Gold Mountain) spread around the world and reached China, firing the imaginations of thousands of young men who were struggling after years of prolonged…

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How The Gold Rush Created San Francisco

May 13, 2022

On May 12, 1848, Mormon pioneer and businessman Samuel Brannan walked onto Portsmouth Square, shouting “Gold! Gold from the American River!”, while holding aloft a phial full of gold flakes. He hadn’t discovered the gold and he never attempted mining it, but it fired the starting gun for the great California Gold Rush. He owned…

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Maiden Lane, San Francisco

Maiden Lane: From Brothels To Boutiques

April 15, 2022

Today Maiden Lane is an upscale, boutique-lined, pedestrian street running east off Union Square, notable chiefly for its gates and for being the home of San Francisco’s only Frank Lloyd Wright designed building. However, the narrow, quiet, street has a scandalous past as one of old San Francisco’s main red-light districts, in the late nineteenth…

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‘Big’ Alma: From Poor Nude Model To Rich Art Patron

March 19, 2022

In the center of Union Square, on a very high column, is a statue of Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory. If you read the inscription at the base you’ll find that it’s dedicated to Admiral George Dewey, the victor of the Battle of Manila Bay of 1898, in the Spanish-American War. Big deal, you…

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Haight-Ashbury: Summer Of Love, 1967

March 7, 2022

ORIGIN OF THE SUMMER OF LOVE In the mid-1960s, San Francisco exploded with a counterculture movement. A tremendous spontaneous expression of youthful enthusiasm, loving life, allied with opposition to the Vietnam War, attracted an estimated 100,000 young people to San Francisco. More than ten years earlier, in the early 1950’s, another counter-cultural movement, also against…

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St Francis Hotel Fatty Arbuckle

The Fatty Arbuckle Scandal & St Francis Hotel

February 10, 2022

ST FRANCIS HOTEL Long before the Fatty Arbuckle scandal the St Francis Hotel opened in 1904 on Union Square, built as an investment vehicle for Charles Crocker’s grandchildren. Crocker was one of the ‘Big Four’ that had dominated San Francisco in the nineteenth century and, although he had died ten years before, his enormous mansion…

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Maya Angelou

How Maya Angelou Changed San Francisco

February 3, 2022

For Black History Month this article will highlight the influence of one of our most famous former inhabitants, Maya Angelou, and show the indelible mark she left on San Francisco. Angelou was born in St Louis, Missouri, but while still young her family moved to Oakland and in 1944, aged just sixteen years old, she…

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San Francisco Chinatown

The Original Chinatown: San Francisco

January 7, 2022

A “Chinatown” is defined as an ethnic enclave of people of Chinese background, that is outside China itself. From the 1830’s onwards a large, and growing, number of them have popped up all over the world, in cities like New York, London, Los Angeles and Melbourne. The oldest in the Western world is considered to…

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Nob Hill

A Short History Of Nob Hill

September 25, 2021

San Francisco is one of many cities around the world that claim to be built on seven hills (for some reason it’s always seven), going back all the way to ancient Athens and Rome. In our case the ‘The Seven Hills of San Francisco’ are Telegraph Hill, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Rincon Hill, Twin Peaks, Mount Davidson and Lone Mountain or Mount Sutro. At…

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