The Great Sand Waste of the Outside Lands
Prior to the 1860s, the western two-thirds of San Francisco, the 'Outside Lands', was only sand dunes and coastal scrub. The undesirable land had no level ground and was covered in ever-shifting dunes, some more than 100 feet tall. However the growing city needed land, so local developers began to employ huge steam shovels to level the sand hills and fill in the extensive tidal marshes. By 1864 the area had it's first toll road, Geary Blvd, extending from the city, seven miles west, to the ocean.

At first the area attracted only businesses that required lots of cheap land like race tracks, cemeteries, dairy farms, and orphanages. But eventually the road prompted many downtown residents to move out and settle along the road. Within a few years there were 3,000 residents and local boosters, hoping to attract more homeowners, renamed one area 'The Sunset' and another 'The Richmond' due to its perceived similarity to Richmond, Australia.

Soon prestigious neighborhoods were also being developed, such as Presidio Terrace, Lake Street, Sea Cliff, and Presidio Heights (photo above). By the turn of the century the reclaimed area, highlighted by the lush, expansive Golden Gate Park, had been transformed from barren sand dunes into a series of residential neighborhoods with trees, lawns, parks, and landscaped hills. The former Outside Lands were no longer recognizable as the Great Sand Waste.
[ MAP F-10 ]


Blogger rudyfan1926 said...

This post has been removed by the author.

7:50 AM  
Blogger rudyfan1926 said...

Ramsey, so sorry that FogBay will be ending it's run. I will miss my daily dose of SFBay knowledge be it trivial or an amazing piece of history that has eluded me that is matched with a great photo (or two).

I cannot help but rejoice that you will continue your photographic explorations, and that you will be sharing it elsewhere.

Your talent is inspiring and your photographs are stunning and beautiful as well as thought provoking. You have an amazing eye for a great picture.

Thanks and best of luck with your photographic and creative future.


7:59 AM  
Blogger Bethany said...

Sure you'll get a billion of these messages, but seriously, we'll miss ya. Yours is one of the few SF blogs I subscribe to, thanks to your gorgeous photos and your choice of history tidbits. Glad you're continuing the photoblog!

11:00 AM  
Blogger Photo Cache said...

You're calling it quits? Oh I'm gonna miss you. I may not leave comments here but I visit you regularly and you're on my blogroll too. I learn so many things from you that I did not learn in my 16 years in this region.

God bless and when you do pop somewhere else, just drop me a note and I'll follow yah.

Until the next blog then.

11:51 AM  
Blogger AphotoAday said...

Ramsey --
I just looked at your new site and it looks GREAT. Glad we will still be able to leave comments. Good navigation on the site. Looking forward to it, but of course will miss your illuminating history of the Bay Area...

And had to laugh about your constraints to a vertical format on Fog-Bay -- I have the opposite problem on what I call my "big" site... Love SEEING vertical photos though... You have a very distinctive style and way of doing them...

5:52 AM  
Blogger dutchbaby said...

I will miss FogBay terribly. My knowledge of Bay Area history will be stunted at post 1000 because I have no idea where else I would pick up all the great tales you shared with us.

I admire your discipline in rhythmically delivering this great body of work while staying true to your format (1000 vertical images - wow!) and standard of quality.

Your new site looks wonderful - I'm already a groupie.

10:20 AM  
Blogger AphotoAday said...

Hi Ramsey - (again)

Just wanted to ask if you were now willing to reveal some of your sources for all of this wonderful, quirky, and obscure history you have been so kindly feeding our historically starved selves...

I always marvel at the amount of effort you obviously put into your research -- and it all comes out interesting... It all could go into a very fine book (if the web isn't enough) -- I hope you've thought of that...

Anyway, thanks again -- it's been great... And again, looking forward to seeing your new site develop...

1:04 PM  
Blogger FogBay said...

Thanks for the nice comments everyone. I appreciate your kind words. I'm beginning to think that FogBay is going to be harder to walk away from than I imagined.


APAD, Your Choice:

Option A: During the last few years I've collected over a hundred books on SF history, many out-of-print and found in used bookstores. I've scoured and cataloged them for unknown and little-known stories that might make interesting posts.

Option B: I'm the great, great, grandson of Lillie Hitchcock Coit's love child with Emperor Norton.

8:36 PM  
Blogger dutchbaby said...

I don't know what you look like, Ramsey, but I have a great image of you bouncing on Emperor Norton's knee :-D

7:50 AM  

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