Key System Mole in 1933

Six Interesting Facts About the SF Bay Peninsula

The San Francisco Bay Peninsula, known as the “Peninsula” by locals, is a fascinating region with a rich history and an abundance of little-known facts. We’ll work at more nuanced deep dives into some of these topics in the future, but for now, enjoy these six interesting facts about the SF Bay peninsula that will help you learn more about the area we call home. Here is what you need to know about this fascinating area.

San Mateo Surveyor 1894
Surveyor map excerpt 1894

Ancient Geography

First, the Peninsula was not always a peninsula. During the last Ice Age, the entire San Francisco Bay was a dry valley that was eventually flooded as the ice melted. This created the Bay as we know it today, with the Peninsula on one side and the East Bay on the other.

Satellite Image of The Bay circa 2019 | Credit: Wikipedia

Historic Buildings

The Peninsula is also home to the oldest running hotel in California. The Moss Beach Distillery was originally built in 1927 and served as a speakeasy during Prohibition. The building has survived multiple renovations, fires, and earthquakes over the years and is now a popular restaurant and bar.

Reportedly, illegal whisky was brought from ships, to the beach, and into vehicles for transport to San Francisco during Prohibition.[2] A variety of people came to Frank’s including the governor of California to Hollywood celebrities, such as actor Fatty Arbuckle.

from Wikipedia

A Major Tech Hub

The region is also known for its significant contributions to the world of technology. From Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg, tech titans have flocked to the Bay Area due to its abundance of technically skilled talent. The Peninsula is home to Silicon Valley, the birthplace of some of the world’s most successful tech companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook. In fact, the name “Silicon Valley” comes from the silicon chips used in the first computers that were developed in the area.

The ubiquity and fame of the idea and culture of Silicon Valley is satirized by an HBO comedy of the same name that debuted in 2014.

Native Tribal Roots

The Peninsula’s history goes back much further than the tech boom. It is the homeland of the Ohlone people, who lived in the region for thousands of years before the arrival of Spanish explorers in the late 18th century. The Ohlone have a rich culture and strong economy at their height, trading with other tribes from as far away as 200 miles away in the Sierra Nevada mountains.


Today, the Peninsula is known for its diverse and close-knit communities. It’s home to a large number of immigrants, with a significant population of Chinese, Filipino, and Mexican descent today, but has been a home to various peoples over the centuries looking for a place to call home. The region is known for its beautiful natural scenery, with miles of coastline and parks like the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which attracts millions of visitors every year.

Early Commitment to Public Transportation

San Mateo Surveyor 1894
Surveyor map excerpt 1894

In terms of transportation, the Peninsula has a fascinating history as well. You may know of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Caltrain, as well as the iconic SF Cable Car system, but the Peninsula’s transportation roots run deep. The area was once served by a network of streetcars and railways, including the famous Key System which operated between the East Bay and San Francisco. Today, the Peninsula is still a hub of transportation with major airports like San Francisco International and San Jose International, as well as major highways and public transit options.

Credit: Wikipedia

The San Francisco Bay Peninsula is a rich and diverse region with a long and fascinating history. From its prehistoric origins to its role in shaping the world of technology, there is always something new to learn and discover about this area and we’ll continue reporting some fun, lesser-known facts in future articles. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there are plenty of interesting and engaging facts to uncover in the Peninsula.

If you are interested in learning more about the area, have requests for specific topics or tips to share, feel free to drop us a line via our contact page.