April 23, 2019

Today in History: Alcatraz Island

Today in History–August 11–the Library of Congress features Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. On this date in 1934 a group of federal prisoners arrived at the newly opened Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, designed as a high-security, escape-proof fortress. Before that, the island had been used to house military prisoners. Alcatraz is an English version of the Spanish name—Isla de los Alcatraces (Isle of the Pelicans)—given by Juan Manuel de Ayala following his 1775 exploration. Later, it was … [Read more...]

Today in History: Golden Gate Bridge

Today in History–May 27–the Library of Congress features the Golden Gate Bridge, opened on this date in 1937. The orange suspension bridge was the longest at the time, spanning 4,200 feet and connecting San Francisco to the south with Marin County, California to the north. Lead engineer Joseph Baermann Strauss stressed safety during the bridge building, instituting the wearing of hard hats and installing a net underneath the construction that saved 19 lives. Find out more about the … [Read more...]

Today in History: Committee of Vigilance & Vigilantes

Today in History–May 15–the Library of Congress features San Francisco's second Committee of Vigilance organized on this day in 1856 to combat crime in the boomtown. Committee members were overwhelming Republicans and Democrat "crooks" were often the target of the vigilance. Learn more by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access primary sources related to San Francisco's Vigilance committees and vigilantes from all over. Letter, California vigilante … [Read more...]

Today in History: Sutro Baths & Cliff House

Today in History–March 14–the Library of Congress features the official opening of the Sutro Baths on this date in 1896. The Sutro Baths was an extravagant public bathhouse just north of Cliff House, another popular San Francisco attraction also owned by a former city mayor, Adolph Sutro. Learn more about these baths by the sea by visiting the Today in History section, then following the links below. Sutro Baths from America's Library Sutro Baths image set Sutro Baths films Sutro … [Read more...]

Today in History: 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

Today in History–April 18–the Library of Congress features the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which shook the city early on this morning more than a century ago. The 8.3 magnitude (Richter Scale) earthquake and a subsequent fire leveled a large portion of the city and killed thousands. Find out more by visiting the Today in History section, then follow the links below to access primary sources about this tragic event and the city of San Francisco. The Great San Francisco Earthquake April 18, … [Read more...]

Today in History: San Francisco, California

Today in History–August 5–the Library of Congress features San Francisco, California. On August 5, 1775, the Spanish ship San Carlos, commanded by Juan Manuel de Ayala, entered what would later be called San Francisco Bay. Learn more about this golden city by visiting the Today in History section, then follow the links below to access more primary source treasures. San Francisco maps San Francisco images Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, … [Read more...]