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Angel Island State Park, California, USA

May 1st, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Angel Island is an island in San Francisco Bay that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin County Headlands and Mount Tamalpais. It is a California state park, Angel Island State Park. The highest point on the island, almost exactly at its center, is Mount Livermore at 788 ft. (240 m). The island is almost entirely in Marin County, California, although, surprisingly, there is a small sliver (0.7%) at the eastern end of it which extends into the territory of San Francisco County. The United States Census Bureau reported a land area of 3.107 km² (1.2 sq mi) and a population of 57 persons as of the 2000 census.

Until about ten thousand years ago, Angel Island was connected to the mainland; it was cut off by the rise in sea levels due to the end of the ice age. From about two thousand years ago the island was a fishing and hunting site for Coast Miwok Native Americans. In 1775 the Spanish naval vessel San Carlos made the first European entry to the San Francisco Bay under the command of Juan de Ayala. Ayala anchored off Angel Island, and gave it its modern name (Isla de los Angeles); the bay where he anchored is now known as Ayala Cove.

Like much of the California coast, Angel Island was subsequently used for cattle ranching; this destroyed most of the native oak woodland and brush cover. In 1863, during the American Civil War, the U.S. Army established a camp on the island (now known as Camp Reynolds or the West Garrison), and it subsequently became an infantry garrison during the US campaigns against Native American peoples in the West. In the later nineteenth century, the army designated the entire island as "Fort McDowell" and developed further facilities there, including what is now called the East Garrison or Camp McDowell. During the Spanish-American War the island served as a discharge depot for returning troops. It continued to serve as a transit station throughout the first half of the twentieth century, with troops engaged in the First and Second World Wars embarking and returning there. During World War II, Japanese, and German POWs were also held on the island. The army abandoned the island in 1946, but returned in the 1950s when a Nike missile base was constructed; this was decommissioned as obsolete in 1962.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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