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San Rafael Essential Info

Overview

San Rafael is a city in Marin County, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Historically one of the original Spanish mission settlements, San Rafael is now a mid-sized commuter town.

San Rafael was the site of what was originally a number of Miwok Native American villages. The city itself was founded in 1817 as an extension of Mission Dolores in San Francisco. Ailing newly baptized Native Americans from the Miwok tribe were recommended to move to the "beautiful valley surrounded with hills studded with oak trees," where many of them recovered. The mission was then named after Saint Rafael, whose name means "healing of God." Today, a replica of the original mission church stands overlooking downtown San Rafael.

San Rafael is situated in Marin County, whose county line begins halfway across the Golden Gate Bridge and extends North until it reaches Sonoma County. Marin is an affluent suburb of San Francisco with many protected parks and ecosystems and 11 towns total, with San Rafael being the largest in population. San Rafael is the county seat for Marin County.

Description is available from Wikitravel under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. A list of contributors is available at the original article.

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Fun Facts

  1. Mission San Rafael Arcángel was founded in what is now downtown San Rafael as the 20th Spanish mission in the colonial Mexican province of Alta California by three priests.
  2. What is now San Rafael was once the site of several Coast Miwok village.
  3. Its marshes are home to the endangered species Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse.
  4. After the arrival of George Lucas in San Rafael in 1970 to film the movie THX 1138, the city became a center for the entertainment industry, particularly the high-tech elements of the business.
  5. Isabel Allende, a Chilean-American author known for her novel The House of the Spirits, lives in San Rafeal with her family.

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