Travel Guide to California

2015 Travel Guide to California

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12 2 0 1 5 T R A V E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A HISTORY A Land of Immigrants and Entrepreneurs Innovation and starting fresh are embedded in California's cultural DNA BY DAVID ARMSTRONG The Spanish Franciscan friar blessing an adobe church at Mission Basilica San Diego Alcata in 1769; the Chilean miner trying his luck panning for gold in a cold Sierra cataract in 1849; the Chinese laborer crossing the heaving Pacific to work on the transcontinental railroad in 1869; the African American leaving the South to build warships on the Oakland waterfront in 1942; the Haight-Ashbury hippie with her wakeful dreaming in San Francisco's Summer of Love in 1967; the Indian engi- neer launching a high-tech startup in Palo Alto in 2015, all have something in common: starting over. The United States is said to be a place where the world comes to begin again—to reinvent itself, in the current coinage. If so, California is the "America" of America. This was so even in pre-history, when the first migrants from Asia crossed the land bridge between Siberia and Alaska, hung a right, walked southward, found pastures of plenty, rich marine life and heart-stoppingly beau- tiful mountains and either decided to keep walking or stop right where they were. The place wasn't called California then, of course. That came later, the name taken from a 16 th -century Spanish novel and used by explorers, soldiers and missionaries, who SONGQUAN DENG/SHUTTERSTOCK . OPPOSITE: MARIUSZ S. JURGIELEWICZ/SHUTTERSTOCK ; LOWE LLAGUNO/SHUTTERSTOCK ; ANDREA VISCONTI/SHUTTERSTOCK ALCATRAZ ISLAND Alcatraz dominates San Francisco Bay beyond the former Coast Guard Station, which is now restored as part of Crissy Field in the Presidio, itself part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), the largest urban national recreation area in the USA. Alcatraz has been present in the popular culture since its time serving as a maximum- security federal prison from 1934 to 1963. Both Alcatraz Island and the Presidio of San Francisco are National Historic Landmarks.

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