Brisbane, California

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Brisbane (pronounced /ˈbrɪzbeɪn/) is a small city located in the northern part of San Mateo County, California on the lower slopes of San Bruno Mountain. It is on the northeastern edge of South San Francisco, next to the San Francisco Bay and near the San Francisco International Airport.

The population was 3,597 as of the 2000 census.

Brisbane is called "The City of Stars" because of a holiday tradition established over 65 years ago. At the start of the Christmas/Hanukkah season, many residents and business owners place large, illuminated stars, some as big as 10 feet (3.0 m) or more in diameter, on the "downhill" sides of homes and offices throughout Brisbane. As Brisbane is built on the eastern slope of San Bruno Mountain, visitors and residents entering at night are treated to a star-studded mountain vista. Many of the stars are kept up all year.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.5 square miles (53.2 km²), of which, 3.3 square miles (8.6 km²) of it is land and 17.2 square miles (44.6 km²) of it (83.83%) is water.


The first inhabitants were the Costanoan Indians. They built dome-shaped dwellings of boughs and tules. By 1776, Spanish explorers had arrived and the Franciscan missionaries soon followed leaving numerous large land grants in their wake. With Mexican rule, the lands controlled by the Mission were released to private enterprise.

Brisbane was originally part of Rancho Canada de Guadalupe la Visitacion y Rodeo Viejo, a large tract of land that also included the Bayshore district of Daly City, the Visitacion Valley district of San Francisco, and San Bruno Mountain. Visitacion City, as it was initially known, was platted in 1908[1] adjacent to a new rail line that had been completed in 1907 to the east of the town site. The Southern Pacific Railroad built the new line to create a faster and more direct route into San Francisco. The railroad also planned to build extensive terminal facilities just north of the town site.[2] The Visitacion Valley rail yard and locomotive works were expected to employ over 1,000 workers, but construction was halted soon after it began due to the Panic of 1907.[3] The town site remained largely undeveloped for many years.[1] The railroad resumed construction of the yard and shops during World War I, and the facilities were completed by 1918.[3]

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