Mission Bay (San Francisco)

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For other uses of the name, see Mission Bay (disambiguation).

Mission Bay, once a bay and the estuary of Mission Creek, on the west shore of San Francisco Bay, between Steamboat Point and Point San Quentin or Potrero Point. It is now mostly filled in and is the location of the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco.


Mission Bay was a lagoon nestled inside of a +500 acre salt marsh and was occupied by year-round tidal waters.[1] This area was a natural habitat and refuge for large water foul populations that included ducks, geese, herons, egrets, ospreys and gulls. The Native American tribes who resided in this area were the Costanoan people who spoke eight different languages which delineated between the various tribelets. The tribe most prevalent in the Bay area was the Patwin people who resided in the area for over 5,000 years. By the early 19th century, European immigrants exposed the population to various deadly diseases that reduced the Patwin population dramatically.

From the 1850s the area was used for shipbuilding and repair, butchery and meat production, and oyster and clam fishing.[2] Beginning in the mid-1800s, in attempts to make this area suitable for building, Mission Bay like most of the shoreline of the city of San Francisco, was used as a convenient place to deposit refuse from building projects and debris from the 1906 earthquake. As the marsh stabilized with the weight of the infill, the area quickly became an industrial district. With the addition of the railroad, Mission Bay became the home to shipyards, canneries, a sugar refinery and various warehouses.[3]


  1. ^ Nancy Olmsted, Mission Bay Gazeteer of Historic Places, foldout at the end of "Vanished Waters: A History of San Francisco's Mission Bay" published by the Mission Creek Conservancy, and republished by foundsf.org with their permission. From foundsf.org accessed 3/29/2015.
  2. ^ History of Mission Bay from acc-missionbayconferencecenter.com accessed 3/29/2015.
  3. ^ History of Mission Bay from missionbayparks.com accessed 3/29/2015.

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