The city was founded in 1776 by Spanish colonists, who named it in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.
The Great San Francisco Earthquake destroyed 75% of the city in 1906.
People Born in San Francisco
San Francisco in People's Lives
Hunter S. Thompson: I traveled here in October of 1960, after hitchhiking across the United States. I loved this city, and it was one of my favorite places in the world. I often frequented the City Lights Bookstore, and the North Beach area. Just as in New York, however, I soon grew weary of city life here. I struggled to find a place to live, until a friend agreed to let me use his vacant apartment until the lease was up. However, even despite finding accomodation, I could not find employment - though I applied at dozens of jobs, from an encyclopedia salesman to bartending. When my application to the San Francisco Chronicle was not even rejected but simply ignored, I wrote the editor an angry letter that ruthlessly criticized the city and accused him of being a "sell out." I left to Big Sur in 1961. I returned here in 1965, now a 28 year old journalist struggling to find his big break, and also married with a one year old son. I fell back into the atmosphere of this city, and became immersed in the emerging drug and hippie culture here. I also began writing for an indie underground paper based in Berkeley, called The Spyder. I finally found major success when I was hired to write an article for The Nation in 1965, about the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang. It was published in 1965, to great acclaim, and I began recieving multiple offers for book deals. I spent a year living and riding with the gang, gathering material for and writing a book about my experiences. Things appeared to be going well until the gang came under the impression that I was exploiting them, and demanded a share in the profits of my writing. I refused, and was thus thrown out of the gang, and violently beaten - which the Hells Angels called "a stomping." Nevertheless, my book Hell's Angels was published in 1966, and became a bestseller. My feud with the Hells Angels was covered heavily by the tabloids, gaining me even further recognition. After the success of my first book, I was able to publish articles in highly acclaimed publications that I had never before been able to access, such as Harpers, Esquire, and The New York Times Magazine. I continued to write with great success, and moved to Woody Creek, Colorado in 1967. I returned here to live temporarily in the spring of 1985, to work at the infamous Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theater, a strip club and at times pornographic studio. I worked and spent my evenings here as research for an article for Playboy. I wrote a novel about my experiences at the club, called The Night Manager, but it was never published.
Jack London: I was born here in 1876, into a bit of a complicated situation. My mother Flora had become pregnant with me while living with her lover, a man named Chaney. They were likely unmarried, though my mother at times used his surname as her own. When she told Chaney that she was pregnant with me, he demanded that she have an illegal abortion, but she refused, after which he vowed that he would never claim the child as his own. He would later say that his reason had been that he was impotent, so my mother's pregnancy must have meant that she was cheating on him. Hysteric, my mother shot herself while carrying me, but survived the attempted suicide, and I was born a few months later. My mother was from a distinguished family - my grandfather had built the Pennsylvania Canal, and my ancestry could be traced back to one of the first settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. However, to support herself, she now worked as a music teacher and a spiritualist, claiming to channel the spirit of the Sauk Native American chief Black Hawk. When I was less than a year old, my mother married a partly disabled Civil War veteran, and took his surname "London," also giving it to me. Chaney was long gone. My mother left my caretaking to an African-American woman named Virginia, who raised me and served as my mother figure. Virginia had been a former slave, and brought me up with a strong inclination against racism, injustice, and class divide. My mother, step-father, and Virginia moved to Oakland when I was about 10 years old, around 1886. I famously covered the Great San Francisco Earthquake here in 1906, as a special correspondance journalist.
Kanye West: I flew my best friend and girlfriend Kim Kardashian here in 2013, for her 33rd birthday. However, she was unaware that I also flew her entire family in, rented an entire baseball stadium, and planned to propose to her. As she walked in, fireworks went off, a band began playing "Young and Beautiful" by Lana del Rey (one of her favorite songs), and I asked her to marry me. She said yes, and we attended a party with all of her family members right afterward.
Kellan Lutz: I traveled here in 2006 to perform as Hilary Duff's love interest in her music video for the song "With Love." It was one of my first real acting roles. We filmed at the San Francisco City Hall.
Liam Neeson: I traveled here in 1987 to film scenes of the movie The Dead Pool. We filmed all over the city, including at an apartment on Mason Street, at the Nam Yuen restaurant in Chinatown, at the National Military Cemetary, at Silver Restaurant, in the Potero Hill neighborhood, the Dogpatch, on the Camino del Mar, at the Hall of Justice on Bryant Street, and on Wisconsin Street.
Milo Ventimiglia: After graduating from high school, I did a summer program at the American Conservatory Theater here, in 1995, at the age of 18. I returned around 1997, having gotten a scholarship to a music school here. Meanwhile, my acting career was landing me bigger and bigger roles.
Rudyard Kipling: I traveled here in 1889, during a world tour of sorts through Asia and the United States. I arrived in May, just having concluded a 20-day stay in Japan and an even longer voyage by sea. I witnessed a gunfight in Chinatown. This city left a lasting impression on me, and in the book I later wrote about my travels across the States, From Sea to Sea, I lingered the longest on my time in San Francisco.
Ziyi Zhang: I traveled here in 2004 to film scenes of Memoirs of a Geisha.