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Three Famous Landmarks in Northern California

Updated on September 25, 2012
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay | Source

In the state of California there are well over 100 registered State Landmarks. Some are landmarks for a specific national person (For example; the birthplace of President Richard M. Nixon in Yorba Linda, CA) or a building or structure that has aesthetic value (Watts Towers in Los Angeles, CA) or Historic Value (Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento, CA).

Now the majority of the Californian landmarks are grouped into basically two areas of the state: Northern California area (primary the San Francisco Bay Area) and the Southern California area (primary the Los Angeles basin). I have a vast and passionate love of history and knowledge and any national landmark is drenched in historic value.

I decided to put together a list of three of Northern California’s most well-known historic Landmarks in the San Francisco Bay. There is no way I could cover the every single one of the state’s landmark, so I picked three of them that I know well.

I choose to concentrate on these three landmarks because they have been ones that I have personally visited on more than one occasion. That way my reviews of are more informative than if I had just researched them from a book or internet.

I have included interesting trivia, map locations, and websites for each of these landmarks. If you ever get the chance to visit them, I highly recommend it; these place are worth the trip.

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransico, CA
The Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransico, CA | Source
A markerGolden Gate Bridge -
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
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1. The Golden Gate Bridge

Located in San Francisco, CA; the bridge connects San Francisco and Marin.

-California Landmark #974 (1937)

-First commissioned in 1933, this one-mile-long bridge was completed and opened on May 27th, 1937. Its signature red arches have become a national symbol of American Freedom (along with the Statue of Liberty) that greets newcomers, immigrants and visitors to the West Coast.

-It has been featured in countless films and television shows (that take place in San Francisco). Even James Bond has been on the bridge (in a battle royale on the suspension cables in "A View To A Kill" starring Roger Moore and Christopher Walken).

-Sadly, suicides are prevalent on the bridge. As of 2005, there were more than 1000 suicides. There is a hotline and a sign about suicide prevention on plakes across the bridge; also there are high chainlink fences and nets underneath on the bridge.

Eagle-eye view of Fort Point from the Golden Gate Bridge
Eagle-eye view of Fort Point from the Golden Gate Bridge | Source
A markerFort point -
Fort Point, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA 94123, USA
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2. Fort Point

Located in San Francisco, California; underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.

-Originally, Fort Point was a Spanish fort. After mexico won independece from Spain it was a Mexican adobe which later was abandoned. After the Mexican-American war, the abandoned and empty adobe fort was “captured” by Captain John Charles Fremont and Kit Carson.

-The land that the fort sits on was chiseled out of the cliff face by hand with simple hand tools. It took eight years for 200 miners to complete the fort in 1861.

-It made a military strategic area and the fort that stands there now was built in 1853 (before the America Civil War) to help secure the local area and the entire San Francisco bay following the discovery of gold in 1849.

-Gun fortifacation and imbedded cannons line the southern embankment of the San Francisco harbor close to the fort.

-The fort was manned throughout the American Civil War (by the Union forces) but it never saw battle. There was a planned attack on San Francisco bay by the USS Shenandoah, but with the surrender of General Lee in 1965, the attack never occurred.

Alcatraz Island (photo by Jon Sullivan)
Alcatraz Island (photo by Jon Sullivan) | Source
A markeralcatraz island -
Alcatraz, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, CA, USA
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3. Alcatraz Island

Located in San Francisco Bay, California; east of the Golden Gate bridge

-Alcatraz Island and its now closed state prison, in the middle of the San Francisco bay, is a landmark of vast interest. It has been the subject of multiple Hollywood films (“The Rock” starring Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage, and “Escape From Alcatraz” starring Clint Eastwood), and the television show (J.J. Abrams' "Alcatraz"),

-throughout it's time as a federal prison, it housed the most famous mobster of the 20th century (Al “Scarface” Capone from 1934-1939) and, in recent years, been the stage for music concerts.

-One of the most infamous prison breaks in history occurred on Alcatraz in 1962. On June 11, 1962, Frank Morris, and the brothers, Clarence and John Anglin, managed to escape the island prison by using handcrafted mannequin heads (to fool the night guards) and a make-shift raft. Whether they survived the icy cold water of the San Francisco bay is unknown. But, no one who knew them at the time (friends or family) has ever come forward to say they contacted them. It is believed the strong current pulled the tiny raft out to the Pacific Ocean where they would have perished from either drowning or hypothermia.

-The history of the island is more than just the legendary prison. Originally, the natives believed the island was cursed and refused to use it. Then, after it was closed as a prison, it was used as a sanctuary for Native Americans for 19 month in 1969 through 1971.

-The island was made into a military reservation after the Mexican-American War by President Mallard Fillmore.

-The name "Alcatraz" translates to basically “Pelican” in Spanish. (From the word: “Alcatraces”.)

-The Alcatraz Federal Prison operated from 1933 to 1963.


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    • Edgar Arkham profile image

      Edgar Arkham 5 years ago from San Jose, CA

      Thank you for reading!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      Beautiful photos and lots of good information here. I love California with its perfect weather and scenery.

    • Photoshark317 profile image

      Leroy Brown 5 years ago from Lafayette Orgon

      LOL those are nice but if I were choosing places I visited more than once it would be a very long list. I believe I even did a hub on that very subject

    • Edgar Arkham profile image

      Edgar Arkham 5 years ago from San Jose, CA

      There are alot more of course, but I choose the three I'd visited more than once.

    • Photoshark317 profile image

      Leroy Brown 5 years ago from Lafayette Orgon

      Only three? And all in SF?

    • Edgar Arkham profile image

      Edgar Arkham 5 years ago from San Jose, CA

      Thank you for reading!

    • ALUR profile image

      ALUR 5 years ago from USA

      Informative and detailed. I'm not sure those particular landmarks call the poet in me, but surely worth visiting.

    • Edgar Arkham profile image

      Edgar Arkham 5 years ago from San Jose, CA

      Thank you for reading!

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 5 years ago from Southern Spain

      I enjoyed this as I have stood close to the bridge as well as cruising near it on the way to Alcatraz on my stopover back to Australia . I am looking to spending more time exploring San Francisco!