San Francisco: A Cultural History

Overview

Within a generation San Francisco grew from an isolated Mexican trading post with more hills than people into America's major Pacific coast city. Shaped by entrepreneurs, eccentrics, and visionaries, it became renowned for accommodating those who dared to be different.

Mick Sinclair explores gold-rush San Francisco and the early free-for-all that led to corruption, vigilantism, and public hangings. From the nineteenth-century mansions of Nob Hill and the Barbary Coast with its ...

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Overview

Within a generation San Francisco grew from an isolated Mexican trading post with more hills than people into America's major Pacific coast city. Shaped by entrepreneurs, eccentrics, and visionaries, it became renowned for accommodating those who dared to be different.

Mick Sinclair explores gold-rush San Francisco and the early free-for-all that led to corruption, vigilantism, and public hangings. From the nineteenth-century mansions of Nob Hill and the Barbary Coast with its spiked drinks, he charts the 1950s San Francisco Poetry Renaissance that sired the Beat Generation. Through literature, music, and popular culture, he considers the rise of Berkeley's student activism, the genesis of hippie culture and Haight-Ashbury's legendary Summer of Love. Explaining how the Castro became the world's most famous gay neighborhood, he also reveals how a booming internet economy transformed and then threatened to destroy the city.

The City of Landmarks: the Golden Gate Bridge; the Transamerica Pyramid; the Ferry Building; Mission Dolores; City Hall, Coit Tower; Alcatraz Island; Yerba Buena Center.

The City of Psychedelia: Ken Kesey and the Acid Tests; the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane; the Trips Festival and the Human Be-In; underground culture and festivals.

The City of Writers: Ina Donna Coolbrith, Mark Twain, Bret Harte, George Sterling; Dashiel Hammett; Kenneth Rexroth; Allen Ginsberg; Herb Caen; Armistead Maupin.

About the Series

This series offers indepth cultural and historical guides to the great cities of the world. More than ordinary guidebooks, they introduce the visitor to each city's unique present day identity and its links with the past.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566568173
  • Publisher: Interlink Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/2010
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 896,526
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Sedge Thomson vii

Preface x

Introduction Navigating San Francisco

Historical Geography 1

The Modern City 2

Up and Down in San Francisco 4

Maritime Navigation 4

Part 1 The Instant City

A Great and Magnificent Port 5

Gold: Half the Size of a Pea 10

The World Rushes in 11

Winners, Losers-and Emperor Norton 16

Part 2 Shaping San Francisco

Rubbish and Bones 23

The O'Farrell Plan 25

Elegant and Handsomely-furnished Homes 26

The Nobs of Nob Hill 29

Pacific Heights 32

Taming the Hills: Andrew Hallidie's Cable Cars 34

Away From the Hills 35

San Francisco in Ruins 36

April 18, 1906 37

All Tomorrow's Parties 42

Citadels of Commerce 43

Willis Polk: Architect, Visionary, Drunkard 45

Manhattanization and Urban Renewal 47

The Ultimate High Rise 48

Yerba Buena Center 49

Part 3 Crime and Culture, Punishment and Pleasure

Fires, Ducks, Hounds, and Hangings 54

A Low Set of Politicians 58

Pandemonium Let Loose 61

Tom Maguire: Napoleon of the Stage 64

The Mesmerizing Adah Menken 66

Spider-Dancing Lola Montez 67

Lotta Crabtree's Beautiful Ankle 69

Isadora Duncan: The California Faun 72

The Barbary Coast 73

Pretty Waiter Girls 76

A Voyage to Shanghai 78

Three Hundred Pounds of Passion: 50 cents 79

The Breasts of Carol Doda 84

A Golden Era: Literary Life in the West 86

A Literary Fog 88

Bohemia in Russian Hill 89

A Story of San Francisco: Norris and Hammett 92

Atherton, Sterling, and Demarest 94

Shootings, Stabbings, and Feuds: Newspapers and Their Owners 96

William Randolph Hearst's Examiner 99

Herb Caen: Nostalgia Ain't What it Used to Be 101

Part 4 Landmarks, Ruins and Memories

Alcatraz Island, 1775, 1934, 1969 105

The Sutro Baths, 1896 110

The Ferry Building, 1898 114

City Hall, 1899, 1915, 1999 117

The St. Francis Hotel, 1904/The Palace Hotel, 1875 119

The Palace of Fine Arts, 1915 123

Coit Tower, 1933 126

Golden Gate Bridge, 1937 130

Treasure Island, 1939 134

The Transamerica Pyramid, 1972/The Montgomery Block, 1853 136

Part 5 United Nations

A Mission 142

The Mission District 146

Chinatown 150

A New Chinatown 156

Paper Sons, Paper Daughters 157

Celebrated Chinatown 158

Japantown 160

"A Jap's a jap" 162

Unhappy Returns 164

The Western Addition and the Fillmore District 165

Leidesdorff and Mary Ellen Pleasant 165

The Rise of the Fillmore 168

Black Panthers and St. John Coltrane 169

The Richmond 172

North Beach 174

Part 6 Turning America on its Head

A Howl in North Beach, 1955 180

Six Poets at the Six Gallery 185

Naked Before the World 188

Beat Goes Beatnik 189

Across the Bay: Berkeley and the 1960s 191

The Free Speech Movement 192

Power to the People Park 195

A Private Revolution: Haight-Ashbury, 1964-7 197

Altered States 198

Can You Pass the Acid Test? 199

Electric Music for the Mind and Body 202

Summer in the City 205

It's Free Because It's Yours 207

The San Francisco Sound 209

The Death of Hippie 211

The Castro: the Rise of Gay San Francisco 214

Harvey Milk and the Castro Clone 217

A Fury Unleashed 221

AIDS: A New Battle 222

Queer Capital of the World 225

A Cybernetic Ecology: SoMa, 1985-2001 227

South of the Slot 227

Multimedia Gulch 229

Silicon Suburbia 231

The Rise and Fall of the Cyberhood 233

Archive of the Future 236

Further Reading 239

Index 247

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