Sausalito (from Spanish: sauzalito "small willow grove", from sauce "willow" + collective derivative -al meaning "place of abundance" + diminutive suffix -ito; with orthographic corruption from z to s due to seseo; early variants of the name were Saucelito, San Salita, San Saulito, San Salito, Sancolito, Sancilito, Sousolito, Sousalita, Sousilito, Sousalita, Sousilito, Sausilito, and Sauz Saulita) is a San Francisco Bay Area city, located in Marin County, California, United States. Sausalito is located 8 miles (13 km) south-southeast of San Rafael, at an elevation of 13 feet (4 m). The population was 7,330 as of the year 2000 census. The community is situated near the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, and prior to the building of that bridge served as a terminus for rail, car and ferry traffic. Developed rapidly as a shipbuilding center in World War II, the city's industrial character gave way in postwar years to a reputation as an artistic enclave, as a picturesque residential community (incorporating large numbers of houseboats), and as a tourist destination. It is adjacent to, and largely bounded by, the protected spaces of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Located at Sausalito encompasses both steep, wooded hillside and shoreline tidal flats. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.2 square miles (5.8 km²). Notably, only 1.9 square miles (4.9 km²) of it is land. A full 15.18% of the city (0.3 square miles, or 0.9 km²) is under water, and has been so since 1868. Prominent geographic features associated with Sausalito include Richardson Bay and Pine Point.,
When Sausalito was formally platted, it was anticipated that future development might extend the shoreline with landfill, as had been the practice in neighboring San Francisco. As a result entire streets, demarcated and given names like Pescadero, Eureka and Teutonia, remain beneath the surface of Richardson Bay. The legal, if not actual, presence of these streets has proved a contentious factor in public policy, due to the fact that some houseboats float directly above them. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "State agencies say privately owned houseboats can't be located above the underwater streets because the streets are public trust lands intended for public benefit." The California State Lands Commission is reportedly pursuing a compromise which would move not the houseboats, but the theoretical streets instead.
Sausalito has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb) with far lower temperatures than expected because of its extreme proximity to San Francisco Bay and the resultant onshore breezes.
|Weather data for Sausalito|
|Average high °F (°C)||56 |
|Average low °F (°C)||45 |
|Precipitation inches (mm)||4.14 |
|Source: Weather Channel|
Sausalito was once the site of a Coast Miwok settlement known as Liwanelowa. The branch of the Coast Miwok living in this area were known as the Huimen (or as Nación de Uimen to the Spanish). Early explorers of the area described them as friendly and hospitable. According to Juan de Ayala, "To all these advantages must be added the best of all, which is that the heathen Indians of the port are so faithful in their friendship and so docile in their disposition that I was greatly pleased to receive them on board." Such placidity was likely a contributing factor to their complete displacement, which took place within the span of a few generations. As historian Jack Tracy has observed, "Their dwellings on the site of Sausalito were explored and mapped in 1907, nearly a century and a half later, by an archaeological survey. By that time, nothing was left of the culture of those who had first enjoyed the natural treasures of the bay. The life of the Coastal Miwoks had been reduced to archaeological remnants, as though thousands of years had passed since their existence."
The first European known to visit the present-day location of Sausalito was Don José de Cañizares, on August 5, 1775. Cañizares was head of an advance party dispatched by longboat from the ship San Carlos, searching for a suitable anchorage for the larger vessel. The crew of the San Carlos came ashore soon after, reporting friendly natives and teeming populations of deer, elk, bear, sea lions, seals and otters. More significantly for maritime purposes, they reported an abundance of large, mature timber in the hills, a valuable commodity for shipwrights in need of raw materials for masts, braces and planking.
Despite these and later positive reports, the Spanish colonial government of Upper California did little to establish a presence in the area. When a military garrison (now the Presidio of San Francisco) and a Franciscan mission (Mission Dolores) were founded the following year, they were situated on the opposite, southern shore of the bay, where no portage was necessary for overland traffic to and from Monterey, the regional capitol. As a result, the far shore of the Golden Gate strait would remain largely wilderness for another half-century.
The development of the area began at the instigation of William A. Richardson, who arrived in Upper California in 1822, shortly after Mexico had won its independence from Spain. An English mariner who had picked up a fluency in Spanish during his travels, he quickly became an influential presence in the now-Mexican territory. By 1825, Richardson had assumed Mexican citizenship, converted to Catholicism and married the daughter of Don Ignacio Martínez, commandant of the Presidio and holder of a large land grant. His ambitions now expanding to land holdings of his own, Richardson submitted a petition to Governor Echienda for a rancho in the headlands across the water from the Presidio, to be called "Rancho del Sausalito" (alternately spelled as "Rancho del Saucelito"). Sausalito is believed to refer to a small cluster of willows, a moist-soil tree, indicating the presence of a freshwater spring.
Even before filing his claim, Richardson had used the spring as a watering station on the shores of what is now called Richardson Bay (an arm of the larger San Francisco Bay), selling fresh water to visiting vessels. However, his ownership of the land was legally tenuous: other claims had been submitted for the same region, and at any rate Mexican law reserved headlands for military uses, not private ownership. Richardson temporarily abandoned his claim and settled instead outside the Presidio, building the first permanent civilian home and laying out the street plan for the pueblo of Yerba Buena (present-day San Francisco). After years of lobbying and legal wrangling, Richardson was given clear title to all 19,751 acres (79.93 km2) of Rancho del Sausalito on February 11, 1838.
In the post-Gold Rush era, Sausalito's unusual location became a key factor in its formation as a community. It was San Francisco's nearest neighbor, less than two miles (3 km) away at the nearest point and easily seen from city streets, yet transportation factors rendered it effectively isolated. A boat could sail there in under half an hour, but wagons and carriages required an arduous skirting of the entire bay, a journey that could well exceed a hundred miles. As a result, the region was largely dominated by two disparate classes of people, both with ready access to boats: commercial fishermen and wealthy yachting enthusiasts.
In the 1870s, the North Pacific Coast Railroad (NPC) extended its tracks southward to a new terminus in Sausalito, where a rail yard and ferry to San Francisco were established. The NPC was acquired by the North Shore Railroad in 1902, which in turn was absorbed in 1907 by the Southern Pacific affiliate, the Northwestern Pacific.
By 1926, a major auto ferry across the Golden Gate was established, running to the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco . This ferry was an integral part of old U.S. Highway 101, and a large influx of automobile traffic, often parked or idling in long queues, became a dominant characteristic of the town.
The opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in May 1937 made large-scale ferry operations redundant.
Sausalito was a center for bootlegging during the era of Prohibition in the United States. Because of its location facing the Golden Gate and isolated from San Francisco by the same waterway, it was also a favorite landing spot for rum runners. The 1942 film China Girl has some footage of Sally Stanford's Valhalla restaurant on the waterfront. The scene shows the docks and illustrates rum running.
During World War II, a major shipyard of the Bechtel Corporation called Marinship was sited along the shoreline of Sausalito. The thousands of laborers who worked here were largely housed in a nearby community constructed for them called Marin City. The soil which supports this area is dredgings from Richardson Bay that were placed during World War II as part of the Marin shipyards for the United States Navy. A total of 202 acres (0.8 km2) were condemned by the government. A portion of this total area was formed in the shape of a peninsula and this peninsula became known as Schoonmaker Point. In honor of the city's contribution to the war effort, a Tacoma-class frigate was christened the USS Sausalito (PF-4) in 1943. The ship Sausalito, however, was not built in Sausalito but at one of the Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond, California, also on the San Francisco Bay.
Following World War II a lively waterfront community grew out of the abandoned ship yards. By the late '60s at least three house boat communities occupied the waterfront along and adjacent to Sausalito's shore. But beginning in the '70s, an intense struggle erupted between house boat residents and developers. It was dubbed the "House Boat Wars". Forced removals by county authorities and sabotage by some on the waterfront characterized this struggle. This long fight pitted the waterfront against the "Hill People" or the rich on the hill looking down on the water front. Today two house boat communities still exist: Gallilee Harbor in Sausalito, Waldo Point and the Gates Cooperative just outside the city limit.
In 1965, the City of Sausalito sued the County of Marin and a private developer for illegally zoning 2,000 acres (8 km2) of land to build a city named Marincello right next to Sausalito. The city won the lawsuit in 1970, and the land was transferred as open space to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,330 people, 4,254 households, and 1,663 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,852.9 people per square mile (1,489.5/km²). There were 4,511 housing units at an average density of 2,371.1/sq mi (916.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.65% White, 0.65% African American, 0.29% Native American, 4.17% Asian, 0.25% Pacific Islander, 0.71% from other races, and 2.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.33% of the population.
There were 4,254 households out of which 8.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.9% were married couples living together, 3.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 60.9% were non-families. 45.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.72 and the average family size was 2.34.
In the city the population was spread out with 7.4% under the age of 18, 2.4% from 18 to 24, 39.5% from 25 to 44, 38.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $87,469, and the median income for a family was $123,467. Males had a median income of $90,680 versus $56,576 for females. The per capita income for the city was $81,040. About 2.0% of families and 5.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.1% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.