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Boomtown Video: From the Gold Rush to Today in Just 217 Seconds

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Perhaps the single most daunting thing about trying to distill the history of the Bay Area into a few blog posts is the sheer volume of stuff out there -- first-person accounts, histories, documentaries, websites -- detailing the region's past.

And when we say "stuff," that's not meant in a pejorative way. For the most part, the material we've been wandering through the past few months -- and will continue perusing for future posts -- seethes with life and color. The challenge is to try to assimilate a meaningful portion of it and do it justice in the retelling.

And, with some master storytellers working the same local history ground -- one thinks of Gary Kamiya, David Talbot, Rebecca Solnit and Chris Carlsson, for instance, and web projects like Burrito Justice and the Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco -- we're a little self-conscious about getting the story right.

A big part of that story, of course, is how quickly a landscape we can scarcely imagine today was remade into the metropolis. And In the video here -- Adam Grossberg's work -- we attempt to give a glimpse of that process, from the earliest days of the Gold Rush to this morning's stop-and-go traffic on the 101.

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