How did San Fransico get it's name? : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

Please tell me how San Fransico got it's name?

-- James Workman (, April 18, 2001


The Spanish founded the city in 1769 and named it after St. Francis of Assisi.

-- john martini (, April 18, 2001.

City was originally called "Yerba Buena" and the bay was called "San Francisco Bay." Shortly after the raising of the U.S. Flag at Yerba Buena, the town was re-named San Francisco by Washington Bartlett, alcalde("mayor") on January 23, 1847. See San Francisco Almanac(1995 ed.)p.139

-- Bill Trinkle (, April 22, 2001.

The second answer is more correct. The Spanish named the bay/ San Francisco Bay. The expedition headed north from Monterey prayed to St Francis to find a port. They knew that St Francis had answered their prayers when they saw the bay. Other cities were starting to use variations of the name Francisco. General Viliejo named the now town Benicia after his wife. After the Americans named Yerba Buena San Francisco, he changed the town's name to Benicia, another of his wife's

-- Craig Smtih (, April 23, 2001.

Well, that is not the way I understood it. The expedition headed north expecting to reach Drake's Bay to set up the Mission of San Francisco and were quite shocked to find this huge bay.

-- Harry Murphy (*), October 28, 2001.

Seriousness aside, I prefer the version I heard long ago (1937) in a poem about the origin of San Francisco. According to it, the very early residents of the yet unnamed city, fed up with the drifting sand that was everywhere, called it sand-can-drift-so. That, of course, was soon changed to San Francisco. The poem also claimed the Garden of Eden was located a short distance from the then Fleischhacker's Zoo, now the San Francisco Zoo. A minority opinion for sure, but who knows?

Bernard C. Winn

-- bernard C. Winn (, November 12, 2001.

Re: the discovery of the bay, Portola had been sent overland to establish a settlement at Monterey, but the Spanish explorer who "discovered" Monterey Bay (Vizcaino, I believe) had so overblown his description, that Portola continued north past Monterey. Portola's party discovered the San Francisco Bay by accident.

-- George (, October 06, 2002.

Gen Mariano Vallejo wanted to name the town now known as Benica after his wife. Her name was Francesca Vallejo. By then Yerba Buena had become San Francisco so to avoid confusion he used her middle name Benica for the town.

-- rosemarie garman (, March 06, 2005.

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