It's hard to comprehend that 134 years ago "thousands" of San Franciscans had never seen the Pacific Ocean : [bold added]
During the city’s first three decades, its western edge was difficult and expensive to get to. An 1863 toll road, Point Lobos Avenue, ran from Bush and Presidio to the Cliff House, but using it required owning or renting a horse and carriage, and its round-trip fare of $1 was beyond the means of most people. A decade later, paved roads to the beach were opened in the new Golden Gate Park, but the Park Commission did not allow commercial lines to use them.Leland Stanford and fellow "plutocrats" who ran the Southern Pacific built a rail line to the beach in advance of securing approvals, and
On Sunday, Dec. 9, 1883, more San Franciscans were at the beach than ever before in the city’s history. A reported 18,000 people filled the northern end of Ocean Beach, packed the Cliff House and spilled south toward Golden Gate Park.The round-trip fare was 20 cents, the equivalent of $16 today, and was gladly paid by thousands of San Franciscans.
“Along the Ocean Beach a sight was presented such as has not been seen before by those who for years had made almost daily trips to the beach in hack or buggy,” the Daily Alta California reported. “In spite of the cold wind the Cliff House end of the beach was literally thronged with people. Children, playing in the sand, looked at the ocean for the first time in their lives.”
Please note, language mavens, that even in the 19th century, literally did not necessarily mean "exactly true."