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California Historical Landmarks in San Francisco
Landmark 236
First Ship into San Francisco Bay
Beach and Larkin Streets in Aquatic Park
First Ship into San Francisco Bay Commemorative Plaque
First Ship into San Francisco Bay Commemorative Plaque
25 May 2008
(Click Photos to Zoom)

First Ship Into San Francisco Bay

On August 5 1775, the Spanish packet San Carlos, under the command of Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala, became the first ship to enter San Francisco Bay. A month and a half was spent in surveying the bay from its southernmost reaches to the northern end of present-day Suisun Bay. The San Carlos departed September 18, 1775.

California Registered Historical Landmark No. 236

Plaque placed by the State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the San Francisco Twin Bicentennial, Inc., August 5, 1975.

The San Carlos was anchored in San Francisco Bay for forty-four days , first off Fort Point then off Angel Island. From the Angel Island Anchorage, pilot Don Jose de Canizares led a crew in the ship's launch to explore and map the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. Their map shows Spanish names which survive today in Anglicized form. Isla de los Angeles, Saucelito, and Isla de Alcatraces became Angel Island, Sausalito, and Alcatraz. (The Ayala expedition actually gave the name Isla de Alcatraces to the island later named Goat Island, then Yerba Buena Island, but an English sea captain drew a map in 1826 which showed the wrong island labelled Alcatraz, and his mistake prevailed.)
This commemorative plaque is located in the Aquatic Park Historic District. The square-rigger in the background is the Balclutha, docked at the Hyde Street Pier.
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