ⓘ San Francisco Bay Discovery Site
The San Francisco Bay Discovery Site is a marker commemorating the first recorded European sighting of San Francisco Bay. In 1769, the Portola expedition traveled north by land from San Diego, seeking to establish a base at the Port of Monterey described by Sebastian Vizcaino in 1602. When they reached Monterey, however, they were not sure it was the right place and decided to continue north. The party reached San Pedro Creek on October 31 and camped there for four nights, while scouts led by Jose Francisco Ortega climbed Sweeney Ridge, where they could see over the ridge toward the east, and so became the first Europeans to see San Francisco Bay on November 1.
The scouts returned on November 3, and led the whole party to skate on 4 November. Franciscan missionary Juan Crespi noted in his diary: "from the top of the peak, we saw a large estuary, or arm of the sea". Looking at the huge Bay to the East, and having learned from scouts that the further movement will be blocked North of the Golden Gate, the party turned Southeast and went down to the Bay.
Sweeney ridge is located in the Northern County of San MATEO and is now part of the national recreation area Golden Gate. On the website of the historic sights of California and a national historic landmark. The site chosen for the marker is to some extent arbitrary because the precise place where the party Portolas reached the top of the ridge is not known. The area attraction includes two of the highest hills in the ridge.
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