Odds & Ends
“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Unknown, or, anyone who’s spent a summer in San Francisco.
Unbeknownst to many non-native San Franciscans, the San Francisco climate can be as surprising as the earthquakes. Close to the shore, the weather is warmer and the sun is brighter, but higher inland elevations experience cool summers and dense fog. The average high for an SF summer is about 73 degrees Fahrenheit (usually in July and August). So even in the summers, it’s smart to bring a sweater wherever you’re headed.
Alcatraz: The name of America’s most infamous prison comes from the Spanish word Alcatraces, which means pelicans. The island was originally named for the abundance of pelicans nesting on the island, although no pelicans are known to make this their home today. The Native Americans in the San Francisco area originally considered this island to be cursed and stayed far from its shores (many former inmates have done the same).
Cable Cars: San Francisco cable cars are the only moving National Historic Landmark and 9.7 million people take the 9 mph ride each year. At the Cable Car Barn Museum, 500-horsepower electric motors turn the endless cable loops.
Denim & San Francisco: Denim jeans were invented in San Francisco during the California gold rush. They were the only pants durable enough to last on the workmen. While it’s commonly believed that Levi Strauss was the mastermind behind modern blue jeans, the truth, as anyone from Latvia will tell you, is not so straightforward. Jacob Youphes, better known by his Americanized name Jacob W. Davis, was a Latvian-Jewish tailor who immigrated to San Francisco and was in fact responsible for designing and patenting the first jeans, including the distinctive “V” stitching on the back pocket. Levi Strauss, a prominent German-Jewish tailor in the area, provided the financial backing for the patent and the fabric for the design, becoming Jacob Davis’ employer after the initial filing in 1873. It wasn’t long before the Levi Strauss brand became world famous for the new invention.
“Chinese” fortune cookies: ‘Made in San Francisco’ before ‘Made in China’ became the fashion! Fortune cookies were invented at Golden Gate Park’s Tea Garden!
The one per cent: San Francisco ranks 4th in the world in terms of the numbers of billionaires living within its city limits, behind New York City, Moscow, and London.