Port of San Francisco Company History Timeline

1835

Fifty years later, in 1835, Captain W.A. Richardson was designated as the port s first Harbor Master.

1848

Long Wharf or Central Wharf now Commercial Street was the first major pier built in San Francisco 1848 50 . It eventually extended 2,000 feet into the Bay over shallow water and mud flats that prevented ships from docking at the shoreline.

1850

By the Fall of 1850, about six thousand feet of pier space, extending into the bay like the fingers of two large hands and costing about one million dollars, had been constructed.

1851

Some wharves were developed to such an extent that by 1851-52, they were small cities of stores, shops, and storeships lining the waterfront.

San Francisco also had its share of savory characters, so much so that in 1851 the first Vigilance Committee was established.

1863

The Port traces its official beginning to this date in 1863, but the Port s history goes back much further in time.

In 1863, Governor Leland Stanford signed legislation Senate Bill 90 creating a Board of State Harbor Commissioners for San Francisco to better serve maritime commerce for the entire state and to protect the waterfront from total private control.

1867

He bought the business in 1867 and renamed it G.T. Brown Co., continuing his efforts to document the gold rush towns and other Bay Area settlements.

1872

Brown sold his business in 1872 in order to devote his time to traveling and painting.

1875

On October 2, 1875, the Palace Hotel officially opened.

The Palace Hotel below , built in 1875, envisioned by William Chapman Ralston and William Sharon, was reputedly the largest, most luxurious and costly hotel in the world.

1880

By 1880, over two and a half miles of seawall were completed from Fisherman s Wharf in the north to China Basin Channel in the south.

1892

In 1892, planning began to replace the Ferry House with a new, efficiently planned building designed by A. Page Brown.

1898

In 1898, the Ferry Building rose at the foot of Market Street as headquarters for the Harbor Commission and a vast ferry boat fleet that served the entire Bay.

The army first shipped men and supplies to the Pacific through San Francisco in 1898 during the Spanish-American War.

1900

Six million tons of goods from around the world passed through the Port in 1900.

1906

Like most of the waterfront, the Ferry Building escaped virtually unscathed in the 1906 earthquake and fire that destroyed most of downtown San Francisco.

1908

The Port had constructed 23 piers along the waterfront by 1908.

1912

As early as 1912, Fort Mason served as the headquarters for the San Francisco Port of Embarkation.

1914

Maritime commerce flourished and the Port experienced a steady increase in trade after the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914.

1915

The Port of Embarkation, completed in 1915, included three long wharves designed so the transport ships could align up against them supplies were stored in adjacent warehouses and sheds.

1922

Tonnage at the Port increased sharply to 14.5 million tons in 1922.

1939

In the fall of 1939, the SFPE personnel had expanded to 130 military personnel and over 500 working civilians.

1945

Following the end of the war in 1945, the Port faced another identity crisis brought on by containerization.

1959

The Ferry Building and Embarcadero were blocked by the Embarcadero Freeway beginning in 1959, creating a dramatic physical barrier between the waterfront and the city.

1972

In 1972, the San Francisco Port of Embarkation was listed as a National Historic Landmark.

1991

To learn detailed information about the historic buildings, download the San Francisco Port of Embarkation Historic Structure Report NPS, 1991 PDF 24 MB.

2000

For the first four deserters who have left any ship or ships of the Squadron since the 4th day of July last, 2000 two thousand dollars, or 500 each.

2013

On April 24, 2013 the Port of San Francisco celebrated the 150th anniversary of the creation of the State Harbor Commission.

All eyes are on San Francisco's waterfront, as the city prepares for the 34th America's Cup, to be held in San Francisco in 2013.

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