Portal:San Francisco Bay Area
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Portal:San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area Portal

California Bay Area county map
SF Bay area USGS.jpg

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...)

Selected article

Temple Sinai First Hebrew Congregation of Oakland2.JPG
Temple Sinai (officially the First Hebrew Congregation of Oakland) is a Reform synagogue located at 2808 Summit Street (28th and Webster Streets) in Oakland, California, United States. Founded in 1875, it is the oldest Jewish congregation in the East San Francisco Bay region.

Its early members included Gertrude Stein and Judah Leon Magnes, who studied at Temple Sinai's Sabbath school, and Ray Frank, who taught them. Originally traditional, the temple reformed its beliefs and practices under the leadership of Rabbi Marcus Friedlander (1893-1915). By 1914, it had become a Classical Reform congregation. That year the current sanctuary was built: a Beaux-Arts structure designed by G. Albert Lansburgh, which is the oldest synagogue building in Oakland.

The congregation weathered four major financial crises by 1934. From then until 2011, it was led by just three rabbis, William Stern (1934-1965), Samuel Broude (1966-1989), and Steven Chester (1989-2011).

In 2006 Temple Sinai embarked on a $15 million capital campaign to construct an entirely new synagogue campus adjacent to its current sanctuary. Groundbreaking took place in October 2007, and by late 2009 the congregation had raised almost $12 million towards the construction. As of 2011, the Temple Sinai had nearly 1,000 member families. The rabbis were Andrew Straus and Jacqueline Mates-Muchin, and the cantor was Ilene Keys. (more...)

Selected biography

Lange's well known 1936, Migrant Mother, Florence Owens Thompson
Lange in 1936

Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 - October 11, 1965) was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange's photographs ("Migrant Mother", 1936, pictured, left) humanized the consequences of the Great Depression and influenced the development of documentary photography.

Lange was educated in photography at Columbia University in New York City, in a class taught by Clarence H. White. She was informally apprenticed to several New York photography studios, including that of the famed Arnold Genthe. In 1918, she moved to San Francisco, and by the following year she had opened a successful portrait studio. She lived across the bay in Berkeley for the rest of her life. In 1920, she married the noted western painter Maynard Dixon, with whom she had two sons. (more...)

Selected city

Mill Valley, city hall (2012).jpg
Mill Valley is a city in Marin County, California, United States, located about 14 miles (23 km) north of San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge. The population was 13,903 at the 2010 census.

Mill Valley is located on the western and northern shores of Richardson Bay. Beyond the flat coastal area and marshlands, it occupies narrow wooded canyons, mostly of second-growth redwoods, on the southern slopes of Mount Tamalpais. The Mill Valley 94941 ZIP code also includes the following adjacent unincorporated communities: Almonte, Alto, Homestead Valley, Strawberry and Tamalpais Valley. The Muir Woods National Monument is also located just outside the city limits. (more...)

Selected image

"Large Four Piece Reclining Figure" by Henry Moore, 1973. Bronze. Currently located outside the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco
image credit: J. Ash Bowie

The Bay Area by year

Contemporary performance at Children's Fairyland

Selected historical image

Did you know...

San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds
San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds

Previous Did you know...

the statue Ashurbanipal in April 2011
Liberty Head double eagle

 • ... that critics complained that a bronze statue (pictured, left) of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal standing in San Francisco's Civic Center more closely resembled the Sumerian king Gilgamesh?
 • ... that the twenty-dollar Liberty Head double eagle (pictured, right) was minted after the California gold rush as the "most efficient way to coin a given quantity of gold bullion"?
 • ... that the Blue Wing Inn (pictured, right), started as a one-room hotel in Sonoma, California, in 1836, was also a saloon, a gambling hall, a stagecoach depot, a grocery store, a winery, a museum, and a retail center?
 • ... that Mike McCormick was the first San Francisco Giants pitcher to win the Cy Young Award?
 • ... that First Lady of California, Anne Gust has served as both an Executive Vice-President for Gap Inc. and on the board of directors for Jack in the Box?
 • ... that Bay Area Bike Share, the first large-scale bike sharing service deployed on the West Coast of the United States, opened to the public in five cities on August 29, 2013?

August - October 2013

Selected periodic event

San Francisco Boys Chorus, past performers at the festival

Midsummer Mozart Festival is an annual music festival that exclusively features the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The festival was founded by George Cleve in 1974 and is held at various venues across the San Francisco Bay Area. (The San Francisco Boys Chorus, past performers, pictured)


Larry Harvey wdydwyd.jpg
~ Larry Harvey, on the origins of Burning Man. (Inc. interview, 2012)
*more quotes about San Francisco from Wikiquote

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