Rich Landscape
Project Vicinity Map.

The hull of the Candace, a 19th-century whaling ship, has rested under the bustling streets of San Francisco for 150 years. The Candace was discovered about ten feet below ground and near the remnants of an 1850s ship-breaking yard. Both are fascinating characters in California's maritime history, and are part of a maritime landscape that reaches back millions of years.

The valley which San Francisco Bay occupies probably began to form two to three million years ago. After millions of years of seismic and volcanic episodes, the general topographic landscape of the Bay Area was formed. Prior to the filling and grading activities of the mid-to-late 19th century, much of San Francisco was covered with undulating, chaparral-covered sand hills. Judging from archaeological evidence, traces of human habitation in the area date to around 6,000 years ago. Native Americans lived in and around San Francisco continuously between around 4,000 BC and the arrival of Europeans in the last decades of the 18th century.

Early European explorers marveled at the rich environment of San Francisco Bay. Many early writers commented upon the seemingly inexhaustible numbers of both marine and terrestrial mammals, fish, shellfish and waterfowl. This abundance of natural resources supported a thriving Native American population for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the first Anglo-American immigrants.

Previous  Next