Port of San Francisco

San Francisco, California | C.1908

Photo Credit: Runxin Zheng

On the Western edge of the San Francisco Bay near the iconic Golden Gate Bridge lies the Port of San Francisco.  With a pledge to protect and manage the waterfront of the notorious California city, this semi-independent organization oversees the port facilities of the city.

The San Francisco Bay has been deemed one of the three great natural harbors in the world. It took two long centuries for navigators from Spain and England to find the harbor, and it was originally called Yerba Buena. At the time is was considered a port in which all the fleets of the world could find anchorage.

The earliest development of a port in San Francisco was two and a half miles east of the Presidio. Overseen by the Mexican regime, the original harbor was created in 1835 as the town of Yerba Buena. Before this time, the nearby port at Monterey had been considered the official port of entry to California.

The Port is currently run by a five-member Commission, who are appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Board of Supervisors. The control of the Commission comprises nearly eight miles of waterfront terrain, commercial real estate and maritime piers. The list of landmarks under port control include Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, the Ferry Building, AT&T Park and Pier 70 at Potrero Point.

After the 1906 earthquake, a new era of port development began on the San Francisco waterfront. Extensive development of the modern piers emerged, and the Port became the only port in the United States under a single control. By the early 1920s, the port’s assets were valued at $50 million with an additional $8 million of merchandise and raw goods handled yearly. A bustling marina of recreation and industry, the San Francisco Bay continues to be an iconic association with the city.

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