San Francisco's Economic and Technological History


The U.S. takes control of San Francisco

July 9, 1846

The United States tried to buy Yerba Buena from the Mexican government., and many Americans tried to move there and fight for independence. Finally, Captain James B. Montgomery anchored in Yerba Buena with his crew and took position of the land. They renamed the place San Francisco, and it slowly developed into a small settlement.

Rapid Growth Leads to Major Fires

1849 - 1851

The rapid growth of the city combined with poor structures and overcrowding led to an outbreak of six major fires in San Francisco. The businesses were booming, but the city was not built for such rapid growth.

Economic Explosion with the '49 Gold Rush


Around 40,000 gold miners arrived sailed into the San Francisco Bay, and then another 30,000 traveled across the United States. In addition, about 9,000 moved north from Mexico. The sudden increase in people led to growth of the business economy, but left many miners poor and empty-handed.

Silver and Railroad Boom


The silver boom of Nevada’s Comstock Lode again brought throngs of people and business to the streets on San Francisco. In addition, the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad brought thousand of Chinese laborers and enabled the city’s grid to spread over its steepest hills through the use of cable cars.

Earthquake and Fire Disaster

April 18, 1906 - April 21, 1906

A 7.8 earthquake destroyed water mains and caused fires that raged for four days, killing 3,000 people, destroying 25,000 buildings, and leaving 250,000 homeless. However, this did not break the city's spirit, and the people quickly rebuilt a new and improved city layout.

Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge begins in San Francisco Bay

January 5, 1933

The 1930s brought continued economic growth for the city and the construction of it's infamous Golden Gate Bridge.

World War II and Cold War Hub

1939 - 1945

San Francisco became the main point of embarkation for World War II’s Pacific theater, and the city also became one of the leading arms production centers in the nation which continued to bring jobs and economic growth. During the Cold War, San Francisco also hosted the 1945 conference at which the U.N. Charter was drafted and continued to draw scientists to develop technologies for the nuclear age.

A Second Major Earthquake

October 17, 1989

The earth quake damaged buildings, collapsed freeways and killed 67.

Continued Growth and Prosperity


Today, San Francisco is a center for Internet technology, entrepreneurs, and tourism. The city population continues to increase raising rent and general living expenses. The crowded city draws tourists and new businesses daily.