When ‘Codfish Fever’ Swept San Francisco 

Hungry Gold Miners Craved the Salted Fish, and so a Ragtag Fleet Set Off for Alaska

An affliction jocularly known as “codfish fever” swept San Francisco in the late 1800s. Caught up in the craze, a number of enterprising young men set to sea in whatever sort of vessels they could manage and headed to Alaska. They were going to catch codfish to salt and sell. Later, the industry journal Pacific Fisherman characterized the phenomenon as one of “dauntless enterprise and arduous endeavor, marked by many periods of discouragement.”

Codfish fever got its start in the years following the discovery of gold in central California in 1848, …

San Francisco Has Never Been More Pathetic—or More Powerful | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

San Francisco Has Never Been More Pathetic—or More Powerful

Vilified by Both Conservatives and Progressives, This Poor Little Rich City’s Problems Are Now National News

Dear San Francisco,

My heart breaks for you.

My eyes cry tsunamis when I think of you.

But I must stop weeping now, so I can summon the strength to offer …

When San Francisco Kicked Hollywood to the Curb

Angered by Negative Depictions of Their City, in the Early 1970s Civic Leaders Regulated Filmmakers Out of Town

Canada’s motion picture industry earned the nickname “Hollywood North” because the country so often serves as a center of location production for American films. But in the early 1970s, this …

California Needs Frank Capra to Rewrite Its Story

The Legendary Film Director Knew That the Golden State Isn’t About Rich Moguls, but About the Struggles and Triumphs of Ordinary People

The California story needs a remake.

Get me Capra!

Frank—legendary director of films including It Happened One Night to It’s a Wonderful Life—has been dead since 1991, you say? No matter! Just …

Can a Troubled Bridge Show California How to Avoid Big Errors?

The Bay Bridge’s New East Span Proves Why Megaprojects Must Be Both Transformational and Functional

How do you learn from a really big mistake?

Walk across it.

Which is why I recently found myself putting on a windbreaker and beginning a long, slow walk across the east …

The 1958 Governor’s Race That Launched a Dynasty

An Internecine Fight Between Two Republicans Opened the Door to Ambitious San Francisco Democrat Pat Brown

As Jerry Brown nears the end of his record fourth term as California governor, his final months are swathed in nostalgia, superlatives, and retrospectives on a remarkable five decades in …