San Mateo County Genealogical Society's Blog featuring society events, projects, meeting notes and other items of relevance to genealogists.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

San Mateo County Places - Brisbane

Brisbane, CA - Sharon Hart Darlin  - Some rights reserved
 Nestled between San Bruno Mountain and the San Francisco Bay,  at the southeast corner of the Guadalupe Valley,  Brisbane consists of 3.1 square miles of land and 17 square miles of water, the Brisbane Lagoon.  A portion of the Rancho Cañada de Guadalupe la Visitación y Rodeo Viejo which also included San Bruno Mountain, the Visitacion Valley district of San Francisco and Bayview district in Daly City, Brisbane was originally platted in 1908 with the name of Visitation City.


Seven Mile House - turn of century
Built in 1853 - Sports Bar and Grill today
The hope was to draw those who had been displaced by the earthquake to the area which was easily accessible by the Southern Pacific Railway line that ran just east of the site.  Originally the railroad planned extensive terminal facilities just north of town, with plans to employ over 1000 workers.  The panic of 1907 delayed those plans and the relatively high cost of the platted lots contributed to the very slow growth of the area.

In the 1920s Arthur Annis, stating that the name Visitacion City a handicap as it lay too close to the San Francisco district of the same name, proposed the name Brisbane instead. Conflicting stories state the name came from the port city of Brisbane, Queensland (Annis' daughter's version) or from newspaper columnist Arthur Brisbane who had a home in the area.

The railroad yard was finally built during World War I but it wasn't until 1929 that the area began to grow.  Annis sold lots during the depression by offering payments as low as $16 a month. By 1933 there were more than 400 homes.  Soon the area had a Fire Department, a resident physician, churches and numerous civic and social organizations.

Brisbane was incorporated in 1961.  In 2010 the population of the thriving community was 4282.

Brisbane is known as the City of Stars because of a holiday tradition established over half a century ago. At the start of the Christmas/Hanukkah season, many residents and business owners place large (3'-8') illuminated stars, on the downhill sides of homes and offices throughout the city. The Chamber of Commerce has been active in enabling the stars to be given out free of charge to both businesses and residents since it's inception in 1944.


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