San Francisco History

July 8-12, 2019 | 9 am to 3 pm

No US city is richer in history, legend and culture—or a better urban setting for historical fiction—than San Francisco:

Twenty thousand years ago, a river valley emptied through the Golden Gate into a grassy plain teeming with exotic mega fauna, stretching 30 miles toward jagged coastal mountains, the peaks of which are today the Farallones Islands. The Ohlone-Yeluma arrived roughly 15,000 years later, and were living here when the Spanish first camped at Mountain Lake in 1769.  Eighty years after that, gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill, and sleepy Spanish Yerba Buena became the San Francisco we can recognize today.

Mountain Lake, Mission Dolores, the Place of Fine Arts, Angel Island, Fort Point. Crissy Field, the Cable Car Museum, Cliff House and Sutro Baths, WWII and Cold War fortifications along the Bay, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury—even the recollections of your own elderly relatives, neighbors or fellow-citizens. Come throw a rock in San Francisco this summer. You’re guaranteed to hit a setting that has informed and shaped our great, urban city of San Francisco.

This one-week course is a vigorous, build-your-story-while-your-are-flying-it mash-up of on-line research, exploratory field trips, and white-knuckled narrative. Your culminating project is a piece that accurately and compellingly captures a slice of our urban city’s dizzying history.


  • $325 by the “Early Bird” deadline of April 22, 2019
  • $375 after April 19, 2019

Ages: Students entering 7th-9th grades in the fall of 2019

Lunch is included!

Instructor: John Zwolinski
John Zwolinski, AKA “Mr. Z”, is a career educator who has traveled and lived throughout the world, and who has taught in Micronesia, Korea, all over the US, and, most recently, at AP Giannini in San Francisco, where he teaches history and Social Science. He is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and UC Berkley’s Graduate School of Education. He’s enthralled by history of all kinds; loves (loves) to read and write; gets a giddy kick out of teaching and learning with his students; and happily lives in San Francisco’s Ocean Beach Tsunami Inundation Zone with his partner Krista and their 14- and 15-year-old sons.

Located in the

Heart of the city