Sign In  |  Register  |  About San Rafael  |  Contact Us

San Rafael, CA 69℉
May 29, 2017 6:20pm
7-Day Forecast | Traffic
  • Search Hotels in San Rafael

  • CHECK-IN:
  • CHECK-OUT:
  • ROOMS:
  • Compare Our Rates To

SanRafael phone book 728 90

History Of San Rafael

Share |
Featured Story
The History of San Rafael, California

Centuries ago San Rafael was once the home of several Coast Miwok peoples. The villages that were identified are Awani-wi, near downtown San Rafael, Ewu, near Terra Linda, and Shotomko-cha, in Marinwood.

When the Spanish colonized California, four Spanish Franciscan priests founded Mission San Rafael Arcángel in 1817, four years before Mexico gained independence from Spain, in what is now downtown San Rafael. It was the twentieth Spanish Mission in the colonial Mexican province of Alta California and the second-to-last mission built in California. The Mission and the city are named after the Archangel Raphael, the Angel of Healing.

The Mission was originally built to serve as a hospital for Central Valley American Indians who had become ill living at the cold San Francisco Mission Dolores. The Coast Miwoks who were living in Mission San Jose were also relocated to start the new community in Mission San Rafael. Father Luis Gil, who spoke several Native American languages, was put in charge of the facility. Largely because of its warmer and milder weather, San Rafael was granted full mission status in 1822. In the first year the Mission gained 300 converts and 1,140 converts by 1828. The Mexican government took over the California missions in 1834, and Mission San Rafael was abandoned in 1844, eventually deteriorating into ruin. The current mission was built in 1949 in the style of the original, but is at right angles to the alignment of the original building.

After the Mexican-American War, in 1853, the territory which Alta California was part of was annexed by the United States. Approximately 1,000 Mexican families in Alta California were still residing there at the time.

Technology was changing the world and also brought change to northern California. The San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad reached San Rafael in 1879. The city was linked to the national rail network later in 1888. San Rafael remained an important town along the railroad. The United States Navy operated a San Pablo Bay degaussing range from San Rafael through World War II. The railroad brought opportunity, more settlers, and businesses. These years saw new growth in San Rafael.

The history of San Rafael is brought to life vividly by the documents on the Marin History Museum’s website. Biographies of two San Raphael and one Marin personality paint portraits of life in the greater Marin County area of immigrants, adventurers, pioneers, a working woman, and a prospector.

The year 1901 recorded a disaster in San Rafael. The Ferry San Rafael entered a thick fog and collided with the Ferry Sausalito. Despite knowing that the other ferry was approaching, a series of events and misjudgments led the Sausalito to ram the San Raphael’s starboard. Four people perished, one was listed missing.

The earthquake of 1906 shook San Rafael, jolting many homes off their foundations and knocking chimneys off rooftops.

Today, San Rafael is a lively, thriving city which has many historical buildings recalling its past and an eclectic mix of modern buildings indicating where the city is going. Be sure to check out the museums to see how the area evolved from over the last few centuries.

Add A Listing
Directory Listings
Marin County Civic Center
Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive San Rafael, CA 94903
Thousands of visitors come to Marin County each year to see the futuristic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin County Civic Center. It was Wright's...
Be the first to rate this business!

 Read More
Is this your business? Claim it now
Mission San Rafael Arcangel
Mission San Rafael Arcangel
1104 5th Ave San Rafael, CA 94901
In 1817, Mission San Rafael was built as an assistencia or “helper” mission to Mission Dolores in San Francisco. Its original purpose was to...
Be the first to rate this business!

 Read More
Is this your business? Claim it now
Sheldon Donig Warehouse Museum
739 A St San Rafael, CA 94901
The Sheldon Donig Warehouse Museum is a large imposing brick warehouse in downtown San Rafael. It is listed on the National Register of Historic...
Be the first to rate this business!

 Read More
Is this your business? Claim it now
World War II US Military Vehicle Museum
1050 Anderson San Rafael, CA 94901
The World War II US Military Vehicle Museum in San Rafael has one of the largest collection of military vehicles. All are in working condition and...
Be the first to rate this business!

 Read More
Is this your business? Claim it now
Falkirk Cultural Center
Falkirk Cultural Center
1408 Mission Ave San Rafael, CA 94901
Falkirk Cultural Center is an imposing 1888 Queen Anne-style Victorian building which was previously the home of shipping magnate Robert Dollar...
Be the first to rate this business!

 Read More
Is this your business? Claim it now
Marin History Museum
1125 B St San Rafael, CA 94901
Be the first to rate this business!

 Read More
Is this your business? Claim it now
Bolinas Museum
48 Wharf Cir San Rafael, CA 94903
Be the first to rate this business!

 Read More
Is this your business? Claim it now
1
SanRafael Welcome banner 300 250