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10 Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know about Angel Island

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In honor of Outdoors Week, each day we'll highlight 10 amazing facts about some of San Francisco's favorite outdoor spaces. Yesterday it was Ocean Beach, and today it's Angel Island. From history to believe-it-or-nots, these lists will highlight the best of the best.

Angel Island is the largest island in the entire San Francisco Bay. Known as the "Ellis Island of the West," it's got a fascinating history open for tours along with some great biking and camping spots.


  • 1) In 1837, Antonio Maria Osio asked the governor of California to give Angel Island to him for use as a cattle ranch. title was disputed by various people, and a number of squatters took up residence on the island.

  • 2) In 1891 Ayala Cove operated as a Quarantine Station (then known as Hospital Cove), fumigating ships from foreign ports and keeping immigrants suspected of disease in isolation.

  • 3) From 1910 to 1940 the U.S. Immigration Station processed almost a million immigrants, with 175,00 from China. Most of the Chinese were detained for up to ninety days, some up to two years, while their applications were considered.

  • 4) Many detainees wrote and carved on the wooden walls. Some Chinese wrote poems, which are still legible today.

  • 5) During World War II, Japanese, and German POWs were detained at the Station before being sent to facilities farther inland.

  • 6) In the '50s and '60s, Angel Island was home to a Nike missile base. It was the military's last occupation of the island.

  • 7) The island is available to camp on, but the four environmental camping areas require hiking up to two miles. There's even a kayak camp site accessible by boat.

  • 8) There are over nine miles of bike trails on Angel Island. You don't have to bring your bike on the ferry - they can be rented right on the island.

  • 9) There's a baseball diamond near Ft. McDowell open to the public on the island. It was used during World War II by American soldiers.

  • 10) In the 1970s, the former employee cottages (designed by historic starchitect Julia Morgan) were burned down for the filming of Robert Redford's The Candidate.

· Outdoors Week 2014 [Curbed SF]