The story of San Francisco's Marina District is the story of land and water repeatedly and dramatically altered by nature and by human development.Eight thousand years ago, American Indians lived on the dunes and near the tidal marshlands that today are the sites of apartment buildings, luxurious homes and some of the city's trendiest shops and restaurants. When the Spanish arrived here in 1776 and established the Presidio -- on the Marina's western border -- the marshlands looked pretty much the same as they would over a century later, in 1906, when the city of San Francisco was shaken and then burned by its first devastating earthquake and the resulting fire.It wasn't until the aftermath of the big quake that major development began in the Marina. Tons and tons of brick and rock rubble from destroyed downtown buildings were brought over and dumped into the Marina's marshlands, forming an initial (and unstable) foundation for development. A few years later, when the site was chosen as the location of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco had the impetus it needed to turn what began as a haphazard dumping ground into a breathtaking exhibit of architectural beauty.
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