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ninety miles in length by eight to fourteen miles in width, a large portion of which is adapted to agricultural purposes—being exceedingly fertile, producing abundance of wild oats and clover, where not under cultivation. The Russian river valley, which also opens to the sea, is also very fertile. Further inland, sheltered from the cool sea breezes by the outer range of mountains, are many tolerably broad and very beautiful valleys, which produce the finest grain, fruit, and vegetables raised on this part of the coast.
Among these inland valleys of the Coast Range are Sonoma, Napa, and Petaluma, having navigable rivers connecting them with the bay of San Francisco; Berreyesa, Suisun, Vaca, Clear Lake (the Switzerland of California), Amador, San Ramon, Santa Clara, Pajaro, and many others, which will be referred to more particularly when describing the topography of the counties in which they are located.
The outer coast valleys are generally separated by steep, barren ridges, while those inland are divided by gently sloping hills, somewhat similar to the rolling prairie lands of Illinois, and are susceptible of cultivation over their entire surface. All the coast valleys are tolerrably well watered.
The most familiar and thoroughly explored division of the coast mountains, is the Monte Diablo range, which covers a territory about one hundred and fifty miles long and from twenty to thirty miles wide. This division possesses much importance, from its containing the only coal-mines in the State now profitably worked. It is bounded on the south by Los Gatos Creek, on the east by the valley of the San Joaquin, on the west by the bay of San Francisco and the Santa Clara Valley, and on the north by the straits of Carquinez and San Pablo bay. The portion of this range which forms so picturesque a background to the landscape, as seen from San Francisco, across the bay, are the Contra Costa hills. These hills being in front of Monte Diablo, from that point of view, only its crest is seen above them; but it forms a conspicuous object in the scene from all other points, and is one of the best known landmarks in the State, although it is not so high as many other mountains in the Coast Range. Mount San Bernardino, in San Bernardino county, is 8500 feet high; Mount Hamilton, 4440 feet; Mount Ripley, in Lake county, 7500 feet; San Carlos peak, in Fresno county, 4977 feet; Mount Downey, in Los Angeles county, 5675 feet; Monte Diablo being 3881 feet. There are nearly twenty unnamed peaks along the coast, reaching from 4000 to 5000 feet in height .
Owing to the peculiarly isolated position of Monte Diablo—standing aloof, as it does, from the throng of peaks that rise from the Coast Range, like a patrician separated from plebeians, the beauty of its outline commands the attention of the traveler by land or sea—makes it a landmark not possible to mistake, and causes its summit to be a center from whence may be viewed a wider range of country than can be seen from almost any other point in the State. On the north, east and southeast, may be seen a large portion of the great valleys of the Sacramento and San Joaquin, with many thriving towns and villages, environed with gardens and farms, while sweeps and slopes of verdure mark the distant plains with hues inimitable by art. In the extreme distance, as a border to this grand panorama, rising range above range, is seen the Sierra Nevada mountains, stretching along the horizon upwards of three hundred miles. In an opposite direction the beautiful valleys of the Coast Range come into view, with all the charming features of prosperous and skilled rural industry, and the broad bay of San Francisco, where are riding at anchor the fleet of ships, from the masts of which the ensigns of nearly all nations may be seen fluttering; while beyond, extending from the water-line to the very summit of the highest hills, is San Francisco city, the home of nearly one fourth of the population of the State. To the right is seen the forts and earth-' works that guard the Golden Gate, while beyond, as far as the eye can reach, is the Pacific ocean, bearing on its bosom numberless vessels, passing to or fro on the peaceful mission of commerce.
The aborigines called this great landmark of California, Kah Woo Room —the mighty mountain. The Spaniards called it Sierra de los Gorgones, either of which is preferable to its present name, which really does not belong to it, but to a small hill seven miles to the north, to which the name was applied from the following incident: About the year 1814, a party of Spanish soldiers were sent from the presidio of San Francisco to chastise the tribe of Indians who roamed through this portion of the Coast Range. In a fight that took place, three of the Spaniards were killed, the others "retired in good order "to the little hill, as a place where they could defend themselves against the swarm of Indians. At night, the sentry, half asleep at his post, fancied he saw a spectral figure, of colossal proportions, flying through the air towards the hill where his comrades lay sleeping. Terrified by the apparition, he cried out, "El Diablo! El Diablo!" The Spaniards, being more afraid of the devil than they were of the Indians, fled from the spot, which was thereafter known as Monte Diablo. As there was a good spring of water in the vicinity, it was often resorted to by hunters, who, in describing it to their friends, called it the Monte Diablo spring. In after years, settlers began to make their homes near Monte Diablo, and when the great influx came in 1848 and 1849, the name was transferred from the little hill to the large mountain, and has since been applied to the whole range.
There is but one river in the whole coast range of California connecting with the ocean that is navigable—the Salinas, in Monterey county. There is quite a number which connect with San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun bays, from the interior, and are consequently of nearly equal importance for purposes of trade and commerce, as if they connected with the ocean. The Suisun, Napa, Sonoma, and Petaluma, all enter on the north of San Pablo bay, and are navigable by steamers. North of the Golden Gate, are Russian river, in Sonoma county; Mad and Eel rivers, in Humboldt county; and the Smith and Klamath, in Del Norte county—all of which are permanent streams of considerable magnitude, but have too many impediments, and too great a fall, to be navigable. The Eel has been cleared within the past few months, as it is proposed to run a steamer up it for a few miles. On the south are the Pajaro, in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties; the Santa Inez and Santa Clara, in Santa Barbara county; the Santa Maria, in San Luis Obispo county; the Santa Ana and San Gabriel, in Los Angeles county; and a number of others; but as the latter are little better than channels for carrying off the superfluous rain during the wet season, being dry at nearly all other seasons, they are not of sufficient importance to deserve further mention in this place.
THE HARBORS OF CALIFORNIA.
BAN FRANCISCO HARBOR.
This, the safest, best, and most capacious harbor on the western coast of North America, is a securely land-locked bay, nearly fifty miles in length, by an average of about nine miles in width, with deep water, good anchorage, and well sheltered by the surrounding hills from the violence of the winds, from every point of the compass. The entrance to this bay, which none of the early navigators were able to discover, is in latitude 37° 48' north, and longitude 122° 30' west from Greenwich, is through a strait about five miles in length and a mile wide, which was most appropriately named Chrysopalace —the Golden Gate—by Fremont, in his "Geographical Memoir of California," written in 1847, before the source of the golden streams which have since flowed through it, was discovered.
As all the waters from the interior flow through this opening to the sea, there is a considerable outward current, at ebb tide, which runs at the rate of six miles an hour, at ordinary seasons, and with much greater force during seasons of flood; but such are the admirable arrangements made by Nature, in completing her work at this point, that this current offers no impediment to vessels coming in, there never being less than thirty feet of water on any part of the entrance. The shores of this strait are bold and rocky, rising on the north side, in some places to nearly two thousand feet in height, bare and bleak. On the south, many of the hills, which are from three hundred to four hundred feet high, are covered with nearly white sands, which are shifted by every breeze. While on the outside of this entrance, all is drear and gloomy—nothing to be seen but barren rocks and sandy dunes, rendered additionally dismal by the fogs which prevail a greater portion of the year, during the early part of each day, once through the narrow opening, the scene changes as by magic. Passing through the strait, which trends at right angles to the bay, as its end is reached, a striking contrast is presented: the fog is left behind, the gently sloping hills, on the north of the lower bay, are either emerald green, in the spring, or russet brown with the remains of the summer's verdure, in the fall. In front, in the middle of the channel, and only about four miles from the entrance, is Fort Alcatraz, bristling with heavy ordinance, and crowned with a tall light-house. To the right, and still nearer to the "Gate," on a projecting spur of rocks, which appears to have been placed there for that express purpose, stands the red brick buildings of Fort Point, surrounded by a labyrinth of solid granite fortifications. Beyond, on the south, appears a forest of masts of vessels anchored in the stream, or moored to the wharves, which extend along the entire city front. On the right, spread over miles of deeply cut hills, and artificially made levels, which extend far into the waters of the bay, lies the city of San Francisco. On the opposite shore is Oakland and Alameda, peeping through groves of live oak, while, around in all directions, is seen the gently undulating country which forms the garden of the State, its hills rising tier above tier, each of different tint, as "distance lends enchantment to the view."
The beauties of the bay of San Francisco are not, however, of that soft, voluptuous, enervating type, which poets and travelers ascribe to the famous bay of Naples; they are of a sturdier, hardier, more active and animated character—as much in conformity with the spirit of the people who dwell along its borders, as the warm, npplelesa waters of the Neapolitan bay are in consonance with its lazzaroni.
There are a number of islands and harbors within San Francisco and connecting bays, of considerable importance.
Alcatraz island, near the entrance of the Golden Gate, is about 1,600 feet in length by 450 feet in width, containing about thirty-five acres. Its highest point is 135 feet above the waters of the bay. It is the key to the fortifications of the harbor.
Angel island is the largest in San Francisco bay. It contains upwards of eight hundred acres of good land, with an abundant supply of fresh water. It was formerly well timbered with oak, when it formed an interesting object in the landscape, as seen from the city of San Francisco, four miles distant. It contains few trees now, but produces good crops of wheat and barley. There are upon it quarries of excellent building stone. Most of the rock used in constructing the fortifications on Alcatraz, and at Fort Point, was obtained at these quarries; the stone used in the erection of the Bank of California, one of the handsomest structures on the coast, was also obtained here.
Yerba Buena, or Goat island, lies directly opposite San Francisco. It is much smaller than Angel island.
Molate island, or Bed Rock, about four miles north of Angel island, is a barren rock, of some little importance, as it contains a vein of manganese ore, of which several shipments have been made to England.
Bird Rock, and the Two Sisters, are unimportant but picturesque rocks, near the northern end of San Francisco bay.
There are several other rocks and islands around the shores of this bay, which are not of sufficient importance to be noticed in this place.
At the head of San Pablo bay stands Napa or Mare island, on which the United States navy-yard is located, forming one side of the straits and bay of Napa, which connects with Napa creek, a stream from the Suscol mountains.
Vallejo—a rapidly improving town, once the capital of the State— is located on the east side of Napa Bay, and opposite the navy-yard on Mare island. There is good anchorage and shelter, and plenty of water for the largest vessels in this bay. The Vallejo and Sacramento railroad, connecting with the Central Pacific, the Folsom and Placerville, and the Northern or Marysville railroads, has its terminus here, bringing the Pacific railroad within thirty miles of San Francisco. At the eastern entrance of the Straits of Carquinez, which have a length of seven miles, are situate the towns of Benicia and Martinez. They occupy sites opposite each other—the straits here being about four