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Norcal History Weekends

Historic Chinatown San Francisco: The Cantonese Enclave

Historic Chinatown San Francisco: The Cantonese Enclave

All year, Chinatown San Francisco presents an intriguing and exotic walk for any visitor to the city. A January-February visitor will be especially fortunate. The celebration of the Chinese New Year includes cheerful urban cacophony of unparalleled dimension.

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Sir Francis Drake’s Landing in California: Where in Point Reyes?

Sir Francis Drake’s Landing in California: Where in Point Reyes?

I am out exploring California as I update my book Northern California History Weekends for a new edition. This chapter is about the enduring mystery of where Sir Francis Drake landed in Point Reyes and how an impressive redwood grove was saved north of San Francisco and named to honor John Muir.

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San Mateo Peninsula Bayside: Billy Ralston’s Spirit, Eclectic Historic Gems

San Mateo Peninsula Bayside: Billy Ralston’s Spirit, Eclectic Historic Gems

The spirit of Billy Ralston is one of the best introductions to San Mateo County, the strip of land immediately south of San Francisco.

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Visiting Leland Stanford’s Farm: The Future Stanford University

Visiting Leland Stanford’s Farm: The Future Stanford University

Senator Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane, created Leland Stanford Junior University to honor the tragic death of their only child, a boy. As they said, “The children of California will be our children.” Today, anyone can visit Stanford University, one of the lovelier campuses in the West, adjacent to Palo Alto.

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Silicon Valley’s Hi-Tech Heritage: Three Great Museums Tell the Computer and Technology Story

Silicon Valley’s Hi-Tech Heritage: Three Great Museums Tell the Computer and Technology Story

The story of the computer and technology revolution affecting all of America comes alive in three great museums located, appropriately, in California’s Silicon Valley.

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Sarah Winchester’s Mystery House in San Jose, CA: An Urge to Build

Sarah Winchester’s Mystery House in San Jose, CA: An Urge to Build

Sarah Winchester, the heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune, built a 160-room mansion in San Jose, partly because she was obsessed with the process of building and partly because she had a disposable income of $1,000 a day.

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Silicon Valley Origins: The Mission and Pueblo

Silicon Valley Origins: The Mission and Pueblo

The historic origin of modern San Jose, CA, can be seen in the Santa Clara Mission and in the downtown preservation of the Peralta Adobe and Fallon House.

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Berkeley: Free Spirits and Free Speech at the University of California

Berkeley: Free Spirits and Free Speech at the University of California

There was a time in the 1960s, when Mario Savio spawned a Free Speech movement and protestors unhappy with the Vietnam War led an ongoing anti-war chant. At that time many Americans had a definite opinion on Berkeley, the stronghold of both movements.

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Alcatraz and Angel Islands in San Francisco Bay: The Secure Prison and The Island of Immigrant Hope

Alcatraz and Angel Islands in San Francisco Bay: The Secure Prison and The Island of Immigrant Hope

In the middle of San Francisco Bay, occupying some of the choicest real estate on the planet, with stunning views, are two islands that are symbols of opposite tendencies–Alcatraz Island (for secure incarceration) and Angel Island State Park (for immigrant hope).

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The Authentic Tourist Train from Nevada’s Carson City to Virginia City, the Historic Silver Mining Capital

The Authentic Tourist Train from Nevada’s Carson City to Virginia City, the Historic Silver Mining Capital

The thrill of a 21-mile ride on an authentic steam train carrying you back to the fabulously wealthy silver mining history of Nevada should be high on your must-do exploration list regarding the American West.

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