California Historical Landmarks in San Mateo County
California Historical Landmark 94
Portolá Expedition Camp
Crystal Springs Dam on Skyline Boulevard
0.1 Mile South of Crystal Springs Road
4 Miles West of San Mateo
The Portolá Expedition of 1769 camped on November 5 at a 'laguna grande' which today is covered by the Upper Crystal Springs Lake.
Citation from California Office of Historic Preservation
We have been unable to locate a commemorative plaque for the Portolá Expedition Camp at Crystal Springs Reservoir.
Proceeding a short distance up the beach, [the Portolá Expedition] turned into the mountains on their right, and from the summit beheld the immense estero o brazo del mar. Then descending into the Cañada de San Andres, they turned to the south and southeast, and traveling two leagues camped in the cañada at the foot of a hill, very green with low brush, and having a cluster of oaks at its base. The next two days they traveled down the cañada, coasting the estero, which they could not see for the low hills (lomeria) on their left, noting the pleasant land with its groves of oak, redwood (palo colorado), and madroño. They saw the tracks of many deer and also of bears. The Indians met them with friendly offers of black tamales and atole, which were gladly received by the half-starved Spaniards. They begged the strangers to go to their rancherías, but the governor excused himself, saying that he must go forward, and dismissed them with presents of beads and trinkets. On the 6th, they reached the end of the cañada, which suddenly turned to the east, and saw that the estero was finished in a spacious valley. To the cañada they gave the name of San Francisco.
From The March of Portolá and the Discovery of the Bay of San Francisco by Zoeth S. Eldredge
Portolá Expedition of 1769
Under orders from King Carlos III of Spain, Gaspar de Portolá i Rovira and Franciscan Father John Crespi marched north from San Diego on 14 July 1769 with sixty-three soldiers and one hundred mules.
Their destination was Monterey Bay, but they missed the fog-shrouded bay and instead became the first documented Europeans to see the San Francisco Bay.
Just seven years later, Spain founded Misión San Francisco de Asís on 29 June 1776.
The California Coastal Trail traces much of the route, and twelve California Landmarks in San Mateo County commemorate the expedition:
Some Missing California Plaques
When we visited the following sites, we were unable to locate a California commemorative plaque.
At some sites, it appeared that a California plaque had never been erected. At other sites, there was a base, but the plaque itself was missing. Some sites without California plaques had other historic markers, but they did not note that the site is a California Historical Landmark.
Montezuma, Tuolumne County
Montgomery Hill, San Jose
Napa Valley Railroad Depot, Calistoga
Negro Hill, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
Noble Pass Route, Lassen Volcanic National Park
Old Custom House, Monterey
Plymouth Trading Post, Plymouth
Pony Express Remount Station, Woodfords
Portolá Camp at Crystal Springs, San mateo County
Portolá Camp at Gazos Creek, Bean Hollow State Beach
Portolá Camp at Martini Creek, Montara
Portolá Camp at Pilarcitos Creek, Half Moon Bay
Portolá Camp at Pulgas Water Temple, San Mateo County
Portolá Camp at Purisima Creek, Half Moon Bay
Portolá Camp at San Gregorio State Beach, San Gregorio
Portolá Camp at Tunitas Beach, San Mateo County