1878 Panorama of San Francisco from California Street Hill

1878 San Francisco: is this a 30 y.o. city?

  • Yes

    Votes: 2 6.5%
  • No

    Votes: 27 87.1%
  • Not Sure

    Votes: 2 6.5%

  • Total voters
    31
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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I feel different. At 12:30 in the afternoon a 230k city should not look like this. Where is everyone?

As far as building it with the population they had... cathedrals alone had to have taken longer to build. Unless kit buildings were used, which still does not explain the absence of the population.
Digging them foundations alone with shovels, for no excavators were allegedly available, would have taken years. We are being told that back then builders enjoyed 2 story deep basements, for no mud flood had ever officially took place. There are a few humongous buidings in the photos. Shovels and horse buggies to excavate and transport the dirt away?

What about the pressurized water supply system for the entire city? How easy was that to build?

That coiled lawn hose on one of the pictures. Was this water supply system planned prior to building the city, or was the existing SF retrofitted with it? Either way, that’s a lot of digging and house piping/repiping.

I’m watching this small condo complex being built next to I-90 in Issaquah, WA. They are in their 4th year already, and probably about 2 more from finishing it up. Needless to say what equipment they use.

Horse buggies is what this 1876 SF was built with? I doubt.

Back to population again. 57k in 1860, 150k in 1870. The reduced population numbers make the time frame even less achievable, imo. These photographs are 1878.

I guess the question is who was building and with what equipment. I doubt that all of those gold rushers were professional builders.

Then we have a simple issue of supplying the construction with materials and accessories. I.e., how many windows does this city have? Probably hunderds of thousands? Were those produced in place, or ordered from somewhere else.

Little but important things like this can go on and on. A plausible explanation for everything is easy to find.

I think there is nothing normal in the way this city looked like in 1878. We are either not being shown the real tech, or this city is much older, which opens a possibility for a serious time gap in our conventional time table.

Yet, the most important question here would still pertain to the 1878 SF population. Where are the people at noon? Where is the street life? Where are the cable cars established in 1873? If this is the normal state for that 1878 SF, what did they even need cable cars for? There is nobody to transport.
 

jd755

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The people are inside out of the sun and are at work, school etc. Unemployment back then was like as not almost non existent. The signs of buildings being in use are everywhere as evidenced by the steam and the copious washing hanging out to dry.

The buildings for the most part in 1878 are made primarily of wood. Whilst there is a brickworks and brick and stone is being used these materials are very much in the minority. What appears to be stone is often render over wood as evidenced by the tools/baths etc in the pictures above.

The work rate if an Irish Navvy is a truly unknown quantity to today's population and it is the Irish Navvies who did most if not all of the early construction infrastructure layout. Look them up. As close to superhuman endeavours as one can get in my experience.

Yes all the dug out dirt was moved to the shoreline to fill it in either by horse and cart or possibly temporary railways although I have found no evidence for them but the presence of cable cars and their predecessors horse drawn steetcars and the ironworks points to the possibility as does the fact the railroad was what made Stanford his fortune.

The pressurised water supply is a doddle really. All that is required is a water source high up in the hills to provide the head and pipes laid to supply the outlets. I haven't found any reservoirs or dams or sources but then again I haven't looked beyond the snippets posted above pulled from the Chronicle.

Mains run in the street not under houses and buildings and enter the building through and outside wall not under the floor so its an easy matter to dig up the dirt under the road and boardwalk to lay mains and just as easy to connect them to the buildings as evidenced above in the cropped pictures.

Take the gold rush people. If there really were the numbers claimed mining for gold then consider the number required to keep them supplied with all that their gold could by. This is why the Mormon Sam Brennan wasn't into mining. He was into supplying the miners. That's where the money was to be made. Gold Rushers didn't build a thing, the Irish did the building.

Everything was shipped in. Checkout the pictures of the docks.These days we're removed from the sheer volume of material ships can carry by the magic of containers and mechanisation.

By way of comparison here's the time line from the town where I grew up in in Lancashire which came into being and was developed during an almost identical time frame.

In 1843 there were 32 dwellings, including two pubs in what was then a hamlet.
In 1846 the first section of railway from mines to jetty was finished and in use.
In 1850 hematite was discovered.
In 1857 the railway was connected to the main line.
Between 1863 and 1881 a system of docks was constructed and put into use.
First population count of the town was in the 1851 census which revealed there were then 700 in the town.
By the 1871 census it was 18,584 and in the 1881 census it stood 47,259.

So in just 40 years or so the population shot up from under 700 to just over 47,000 on the back of industrial exploitation of natural resources in the same period San Francisco was being populated.

Here is just one example of how quick the place developed.
Iron and Steel makers of Barrow-in-Furness.

In the year 1859 an event took place which set the seal on the future prosperity of the Furness Railway. This was the establishment at Barrow of the Ironworks of Schneider, Hannay and Co. In the previous year (1858) this firm had bought land from the Furness at Hindpool on which to build their plant. This eventually became the steelworks and blast furnace plant of the Barrow Hematite Steel Co. With the setting up of the smelting plant at Hindpool the Furness Railway lost most of the shipment traffic in iron ore, as the bulk of this was now smelted locally, but this loss was more than offset by the pig iron and coke traffic which resulted from the establishment of Messrs. Schneider and Hannay's works [1]

1864 The company was incorporated 1864 with the (7th) Duke of Devonshire as Chairman, Sir James Ramsden as MD and Josiah T. Smith as General Manager. The company was registered on the 1 April[2]

1865 Premises erected alongside iron works of Schneider and Hannay which were bought by the company. Ten blast furnaces gave an output of 5,000-5,500 tons a week - recognised as largest ironworks in world.

1866 Steel works commenced operations with 18 5-ton Bessemer converters.

The ironworks and the steelworks formed 2 physically separate units, separated by the Furness Railway main line of the early 1860s.

1872 14 furnace tops were enclosed to make use of waste gases.

The company controlled some local iron ore mines, including Park (output 375,000 tons in 1872) and Stank.

1870s This company was thought to have the largest turn-over of any manufacturing concern in Great Britain.[3]

1879 Reduced capacity to 11 larger converters, and to 8 larger converters from a later date. Steel poured in 2-ton ingot moulds. Converters fed from 250-ton metal mixer sited between blast furnaces and converters.

Large proportion of output used for rolling steel rails. Mills originally of the three-high-type driven by beam engines with 42 1/2 ins. diam x 6-ft stroke at 55 lbs pressure, 28 strokes per minute.

Up to 1880 11 steam hammers, when replaced by cogging mills.

The Bessemer process was eventually supplanted by Siemens furnaces at Barrow though rails continued to be rolled.

The point being is here everything was built in brick from the get go whereas in San Francisco right up till the 1878 date of the panorama it was overwhelmingly wood being used as the construction material.
Wood buildings fly up and have less cash and labour invested in them than brick so it is easier to tear them down and replace them even after very few years of use.

The people pushing the development of Barrow imagined a place far larger and more influential than it ended up so the works put in place were planned accordingly from the get go.

In early San Francisco the people pushing that towns expansion were the ones making money from supplying the gold mining fraternity with 'anything they wanted' as evidenced by Sam Brannan for example and it was they who 'laid out' the town plan based on similar ideas of expansion as the street plan above is evidence of.

Anything 'out of place' in that 1878 panorama and the earlier picture I have documented above.

Here's some pictures of street level and couple of the docks.

View of a column of Union artillery passing by with a large crowd of spectators watching during an Independence Day parade on Montgomery Street in San Francisco, California, July 4, 1865. By Carleton Watkin

18449

1880 street car in use. Stopped and posed for the camera as evidenced by the ghostly figures.
18448

San Francisco July 4, 1861 Streetcar rails clearly visible in the road way.

18447

1851 shoreline. Check out the creep of the buildings up the hill in the background.

18445

1880 Alacatraz Island. Just look at how much warehousing there is on that dock front.

18444

But enough we could go on like this for days.

For me the real mystery lies the Russian connection and the religious obsession with converting heathens. That map I posted up aways to me reveals that most of the world at that time was still 'heathen' and hadn't been corrupted by the money cult.
San Francisco's dubious annexation (stealing) connected one coast of the United States with the other. The fact they were Russians who allegedly built Fort Ross who were working for the Russian American company (sounds like these companies Hudson Bay. East Indian. Dutch East Indian etc etc are front organisations for the money cult, the creators of religion, to me at least) suggests to me the money cult/religion spread was into the north western edge of Siberia at least but absent from the rest of it. Tartarus was in effect everything outside of the white bit on the map.
 
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KorbenDallas

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I do not think we are going to agree on the 1878 SF Issue.
The people are inside out of the sun and are at work, school etc.
This gentleman here also had an explanation for the empty streets. We can always find a plausible one. Interesting how easy it is to find crowded streets from the adjacent time frames, but not from the presented one.

Anyways, would be nice to hear forum members' opinions on this.
 

Timeshifter

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I do not think we are going to agree on the 1878 SF Issue.

This gentleman here also had an explanation for the empty streets. We can always find a plausible one. Interesting how easy it is to find crowded streets from the adjacent time frames, but not from the presented one.

Anyways, would be nice to hear forum members' opinions on this.
As I replied KD, I do not believe the exposures are long enough on any of these plates to fully hide 150,000 or however many people... if these exposures were so long in duration, all movement of people, horses etc would be hidden, but they are clearly not, hence not looooong exposures.

I am more inclined to believe, that when this set of images was taken, people were scarce. There maybe some signs of occupation, or re-ocupation, but not enough for the suposed population.

Only my opinion if course :)
 

jd755

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I do not think we are going to agree on the 1878 SF Issue.

This gentleman here also had an explanation for the empty streets. We can always find a plausible one. Interesting how easy it is to find crowded streets from the adjacent time frames, but not from the presented one.

Anyways, would be nice to hear forum members' opinions on this.
Aah but the shadows in the Panorama and the clock show the time they were shot was around noon so that 'they wanted them empty very long exposure' argument doesn't fit.
I am not looking for agreement just looking for evidence of what was likely going on. Just as it seems likely the house used for the pictures may well have been Stanfords not Hortons.

Any way off I went looking for evidence of railway lines used in the regrading of the hills and this page appeared California Bound | Boston Daily Evening Transcript passenger lists
Boston Daily Evening Transcript
Ship Passenger Lists Port of Boston ..... 1849

Astonishing numbers were sailing from Boston as evidenced by the lists on the page. It goes on and on and clicking any of the 'see also links' brings up sailings from other ports.
And other evidence such as this.

New York Herald
New York, New York
January 28, 1849
Bark Eliza, Capt. Clark, sailed yesterday for California, with a full cargo, consisting of merchandise and mining implements to the amount of $60,000. The following is a list of her passengers:--

New York Herald
New York City, New York
January 27, 1849
The brig Mary Stuart, Captain Tucker, will sail this morning, for San Francisco. She has been purchased by a company of gentlemen in this city, all of whom are of the first respectability and character; and has a complete outfit for two years. The gentlemen who go in her intend, on reaching San Francisco, to establish themselves as shipping and commission merchants. The following are their names:--


The schooner Laura Virginia, Capt. How, which sailed yesterday morning for San Francisco, carried out the Brooklyn United Mining Company, numbering 12,

Also, the Rockaway Mining Company, numbering 8,

New York Herald
New York City, New York
February 3, 1849

The Nantucket Inquirer of Wednesday ststes that a company, consisting of the following gentlemen from that place, go out in the Falcon, intending to proceed immediately to San Francisco and the gold mines:--

Cook, Charles W.
Field, Alfred E.
Field, Caleb W.
Palmer, Joseph E.
Swain, Joseph C.
Worth, Henry C.
Wright, George W.

These gentlemen, along with Mr. Jonathan Wright, of Boston, who was one of Colonel Fremont’s exploring party, have formed themselves into a mining association. They go out, furnished with tents, abundant supplies for two years, a complete apparatus for mining and testing gold.
 

anotherlayer

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I do not think we are going to agree on the 1878 SF Issue.

This gentleman here also had an explanation for the empty streets. We can always find a plausible one. Interesting how easy it is to find crowded streets from the adjacent time frames, but not from the presented one.

Anyways, would be nice to hear forum members' opinions on this.
I hate to be on the boring side of opinions, but I do think there are plenty of people around in that panorama. There is enough laundry hanging and running water to convince me to just shrug my shoulders and assume that this is high noon and people were indoors eating tacos and sipping sarsaparilla.
 
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jd755

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Then some things like this just leap off the screen and 'the Russian connection' gets reconfirmed.

New York Herald
New York City, New York
January 16, 1849
The city [Philadelphia] ice boat dragged nine vessels after her down the river this morning, including the brig Osceola, Captain Fairfowl, for California.

Kepheldt, Major General J., of Russian Army

So this chap is a lowest rank of general in the Imperial Russian army but still a general traveling seemingly alone on a United State brig, not steamship, heading to California in 1849 long after the Russian American Company sold Fort Ross to Sutter and everyone in it left in Russian American Company ships according to the articles I have read.
I suppose he could have been retired but given Popov sailed his clapped out little fleet to San Francisco during the civil war there appears to be somethng there that has a Russian connection.

A little more reading brings up these interesting little snippets.

From here San Francisco History - 1853 Sketch

I had read a couple of weeks back that some ships sailed with bricks as ballast which is authenticated by these two buildings.

The first brick building was erected of Montgomery and Clay streets, by Mellus and Howard, in September, 1848. This was the second brick building in upper California, one having been previously erected at Monterey.

At an election for Councilmen in October, 1848, 158 votes were polled; at an election in December, the number of votes was 347; and at an election held in August, the year following, the city was able to poll 1519 votes.

By February, 1849, the population had increased to two thousand. The duties collected at the Custom House for the four quarters of 1848, were as follows:—First Quarter, $11,931—Second Quarter, $8835—Third Quarter, $74,827—Fourth Quarter, $100,480.

It was computed that the number of immigrants in the country by the beginning of June of that year [1849] was fifteen thousand, of whom the larger portion had disembarked at this port. Sixty-four vessels were in the harbor. In the month of July there arrived by sea 3614 souls. Some idea of this rapid march of the country in those times may be formed from the fact that on a single day, the 1st of July, there arrived 17 vessels, with 889 passengers.

In August, 1849 The number of arrivals in the month was 3895, of whom 87 were females. In September the arrivals were 5802, including 122 females, and in October, 4000.

The Baptists built the first Protestant house of worship in California, and dedicated it on the 5th of August, 1849. It is the same building now used by them, standing in Washington street below Stockton.

In the year ending April 15, 1850, there arrived 62,000 passengers, 2000 of whom were females. The number of vessels conveying them was 695 American, and 418 foreign.

In the course of the year 1850, the principal streets were graded and laid with planks. Commercial street, from Montgomery to Kearny, was first completed. Anticipating another winter like the past, the preparation of the streets was hastened as the autumn advanced, and when the season for rain arrived, the chief thoroughfares were effectually covered with wood.

The winter, however, brought but little rain, and the fires of May and June following, destroyed a large portion of the costly expenditure, which had added largely to the debt of the city.

Hitherto nothing effectual had been accomplished to secure the city against the ravages of fire. But now the most vigorous efforts were set on foot, consisting of the organization of fire companies, and the construction of wells and reservoirs. Many brick buildings were erected, and Montgomery street, from Washington to Sacramento, on the west side, was built up almost entirely with substantial brick structures, intended to be fire-proof.

In July, 1850, there were seven churches in the city
, viz:

The First Baptist Church, Washington street, near Stockton; the First Congregational Church, corner of Jackson and Virginia streets; Trinity Episcopal Church, corner Jackson and Powell streets; Grace Church, corner Powell and Jackson streets; the Methodist Episcopal Church, Powell street near Washington; and the Catholic Church, Vallejo street, near Dupont.

Seems my hunch was right at least one temporary railway was used.

In the summer of 1851, the work of filling in the docks was carried on with great activity. The wharves had stretched out a great distance into the Bay, and hundreds of wooden buildings had been erected on piles in places lately occupied by shipping. A steam excavator, better known as the "Steam Paddy," was set to work on the sand hills in Happy Valley, back of the Oriental Hotel, and the cars, laden with sand, ran on a railroad of descending grade along Battery street, depositing their freight from California to Clay street.

The first brick edifice constructed on the newly made soil was the American Theatre, in Sansome, south of Sacramento street.
The sub-stratum on which the sand had been deposited, consisting of soft, yielding mud, many doubts were expressed as to the safety of the building. On the night of its opening, it was crowded with people, whose weight occasioned the walls to sink one or two inches. But as the building stood firm, encouragement was given to proceed, and in a short time the foundations of many substantial brick storehouses were laid in the artificial soil. By the summer of 1852, the bay section of the city was studded over with storehouses of solid masonry, which would have done credit to any city in the world. At the same time, similar buildings were erected in other quarters, presenting effectual barriers against the recurrence of such conflagrations as those of May and June, 1851.

Meantime, Front and Davis streets had been laid out and partly built. California and Market streets were run out far beyond their intersections, the sand hills of Happy Valley were literally almost leveled and cast into the sea, and the rocky hills at Clark's point rent to pieces and subjected to the same fate. Foundries and workshops lined the bay shore to Rincon point, the heights at the point began to exhibit spacious brick edifices, and the city was rapidly taking possession of other heights on the north and west. In fact, the year 1852 witnessed a greater progress in the substantial and permanent improvement of the city, than any other year


and the Irish connection I was on about above takes a suprising turn. The Cable Car Home Page - When Steam Ran on the Streets of San Francisco II

Market Street, San Francisco’s main stem, was laid out in characteristic San Francisco fashion – without regard to topography. Jasper O’Farrell, an Irish engineer who had migrated from Valparaiso, Chile, began surveying and mapping the city’s streets in 1846.

Underwater "paper blocks" were created, since some of O’Farrell’s streets went straight into San Francisco Bay! Others have grades of more than 20 per cent, and some grades too steep for any type of street vehicle.

Market Street of the late 1850s was far from being either broad (except on paper), magnificent or populated. Sand dunes obstructing the street towered as high as 60 feet above "street level." Stagnant pools of water occupied sites destined for commercial development. The wind literally propelled real estate, consisting largely of sand, in all directions. On wet days Market Street was muddy. On dry days it was dusty.

The goal was to bring the land to market. The method would be a railway. Thomas Hayes, who owned a large tract in the Western Addition, now known as the "Hayes Valley" and the banking house of Pioche and Bayerque, who held Hayes’s mortgage, ultimately joined with several large property owners in the Mission, to form a business alliance to build a rail line connecting the main part of San Francisco with the old Mission settlement, a distance of three miles.

On May 3, 1859, grading began southwesterly along Market Street, beginning at 3rd Street. Grading was not as easy, as it would now appear. High sand hills often covered Market Street’s official grade. Scrub oak was laid as a thatch to help prevent sand engulfing the rails. A steam locomotive, built by Young and Stoddart, began moving, on December 28, 1859, cars loaded with sand from 3rd Street to lower Market Street. This date marked the beginning of the steam locomotive era for San Francisco.

During the construction period, the downtown streets next to Market Street were lowered, including the surrounding blocks. Once these projects were completed the "downtown" gained the level topography that it has today.

The roadbed was completed one month later, in late April, thanks largely to the use of a steam shovel (steam paddy). From 3rd and Market the line ran on Market to Valencia and then on Valencia to 16th Street.

A steam paddy Steam-powered excavator, 19th century - Stock Image - C023/4029

18461
 
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KorbenDallas

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I can demonstrate a whole bunch of similar technological advancements dated prior to 1868: 1868 boring machine, and some other equipment examples Unfortunately, we can see no such equipment in the images in question.

Interesting San Francisco fact:
  • In the 1880 Census there were 233,959 San Franciscans and an estimated 23,000 horses.
Apparently people and horses are hiding in the middle of the afternoon, when they have to be highly visible. How exactly do you hide 23,000 horses? There should have been one, may be two or three next to each house.
  • 2019 SF is ~ 46.87 mi². In 1878 the city was supposed to be smaller.
    • Yet, even today we would have approximately 500 horses per square mile, were we to place 23,000 horses in there.
    • We also would have approximately 5,000 people per square mile.
That's some quality hiding. To me, this city looks like there is a repair-maintenance crew in town, no more than that.
18525


1875 The Palace Hotel
Constructed between 1873 and 1875
18526

Source

Stumbled into this wonderful description of the Palace Hotel:
  • The Palace Hotel was another jewel in the Market Street crown, the largest and most luxurious hostelry on the West Coast. Opened in 1875, it boasted 800 well-appointed rooms and rose an impressive seven stories high. It was the interior that awed most visitors, featuring a central grand court surrounded by tier after tier of columned galleries and crowned by a domed ceiling of amber-colored glass.
  • The hotel was the brainchild of William Ralston, one of San Francisco’s earliest boosters. Equal parts hardheaded businessman, robber baron and dreamer, Ralston knew the area was vulnerable to earthquakes.
  • Although Ralston's Bank of California collapsed in late August 1875, and Ralston himself "drowned" in San Francisco Bay on the same day that he lost control of the institution, it did not interfere with the opening of the Palace Hotel two months later on October 2, 1875.
  • In 1865 and 1868 the Bay Area had been shaken by temblors, and Ralston was determined to protect his creation from the capricious forces of nature. Three thousand tons of ‘earthquake proof’ iron banding strengthened the 2-foot-thick walls.
  • Ralston also knew that fire was a danger, so he left nothing to chance. There was a 358,000-gallon subbasement reservoir beneath the grand court, and also six water tanks on the hotel’s iron roof. Hoses were stored on each floor to allow bellboys to fight any blaze. As a final touch, no less than 12 fire hydrants just outside the hotel on Market and New Montgomery streets were linked to the roof tanks.
  • Interesting website dedicated to the Palace Hotel.
18527

This 1878 SF was definitely an interesting place, in my opinion. That is if it really was 1878 back then.
 

Searching

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In the 1880 Census there were 233,959 San Franciscans and an estimated 23,000 horses.
23,000 horses, but I don't see any stables. I don't see any water troughs.... maybe I'm missing them.
Where were these horses stored?

Horses and buggies did not build these amazing structures. That is why I see no stables.

When I point out this grand (unnecesarily so) architecture, I am told, "Well, people had a good work ethic back then."
I don't give a f*** what kind of work ethic they had. We're told these people were pioneers. Even the most disciplined work ethic cannot produce blueprints and materials out of thin air.

So I guess everyone in the gold rush was either an architect or a builder. Both occupations are lucrative careers. Why would they risk their families' lives to trek across the great unkown and "fight off indians" to get rich quick panning for gold only to not pan for gold? Instead they immediately fell back on their trade of designing and building grandiose architecture?

This architecure, when compared to that of today, is absolutely ostentatious. We still have displaced people living in Katrina asbestos trailers for crying out loud.
It boggles my mind that people can look at buildings of old and still believe we are the most advanced society has ever been.
 
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BStankman

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I hate to be on the boring side of opinions, but I do think there are plenty of people around in that panorama. There is enough laundry hanging and running water to convince me to just shrug my shoulders and assume that this is high noon and people were indoors eating tacos and sipping sarsaparilla.
Well the Spanish roots are right in the name San Francisco. So maybe it is siesta time.

My experience is lunch hour is one of the busiest times of the day.
The old people are out. People are getting take out or going home.
And generally running errands. The bank and dealing with bankers hours was a big one.

Granted, I wasn't alive before the federal reserve act of 1913. But in my lifetime, prior to the ATM, getting to the bank was a chore of a routine.


I find this interesting that this is a news worthy focus.

In August, 1849 The number of arrivals in the month was 3895, of whom 87 were females. In September the arrivals were 5802, including 122 females, and in October, 4000.

In the year ending April 15, 1850, there arrived 62,000 passengers, 2000 of whom were females. The number of vessels conveying them was 695 American, and 418 foreign.


18537

The buildup seems focused on attracting women to the city.
San Francisco needs women badly. Of any kind. Indian, Hispanic, Chinese, Irish, Barbary.
Including slaves. It seems emancipation did not include women in California.

18543
18544

I guess this could explain the part of this. But I have a hard time imagining these frontier men cashing their paychecks at the saloon.
Spending more at the brothel. And then having enough to tithe the construction of all these churches.
 

jd755

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Its beginning to feel to me the Panorama of 1878 had a predecessor in 1877.
Search Results for 'muybridge' - OpenSF History Images - Western Neighborhoods Project - San Francisco History

18547

Bricklaying looks very much like it does today.
"U.S. Sub-Treasury Building & Mint under construction at 608 Commercial. [April 24, 1876 South side of Commercial St. in front of Sub Treasury Bld."

18548

Search results for crowds Search Results for 'crowds' - OpenSF History Images - Western Neighborhoods Project - San Francisco History

"Stockton near Clay circa 1882
Elevated view north on Stockton to Dragon Parade, crowds, people on rooftops. Porch with iron railing at far left is part of First Presbyterian Chinese Church, 911 Stockton.[Chinese Parade With The Dragon "

18549
 
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Red Bird

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Now that I'm off work I will recite some of the more interesting things I found in the book Annals of San Francisco from 1854:

- A recurring theme in the book is the idea that the citizens of San Francisco, being mostly young men, were unusually fond of elaborate practical jokes and satire, even allowing these to contaminate official records and news reports; readers are thus cautioned to be wary of taking the latter too seriously.

- It is admitted that the fires which reportedly destroyed the city repeatedly were of a peculiar nature in that they a) were of a very short duration, b) generated so much smoke that the flames were almost concealed therein, and c) invariably occurred during the night. The conflagration of 1851 is reported to have been so horrible that "descriptions by the pen would be but dark lines , and the painter has not found the colors nor the light and shade which could do it justice." The only calamity analogous to this fire, says the author, was "the burning of Moscow." This utter destruction notwithstanding, "fully one fifth of the whole number [of buildings] destroyed was again fit for habitation and business" just ten days later.

- Russian Hill, so designated even in the very early days of the city, was apparently named for its former Russian occupants, on the summit of which was "a burying ground of the Russian settlers of the town and bay." While Russian settlers and fur trappers are reported to have traversed the areas north of San Francisco, their presence in the city itself is omitted from the standard history. Wikipedia says, implausibly, that in the cemetery were buried sailors who met their death on the Russian Merchant ships sailing in the area.

- Strangely, Australia is seemingly regarded as relatively close-by, which circumstance is adduced in explanation of the prevalence of Australian troublemakers in the city.

- Much is made of the many races comingling in San Francisco: the Chinese, the Germans, the Spanish, the French, the Mexicans, the (local) Indians and so forth. The predicate "native," however, is used only to refer to those (white people) born in the Spanish territory of California or--inexplicably--in England.

- The book reproduces in facsimile form a contemporary concert program, one act of which ("Yankee Town Meeting") features a Mr. Massett giving "imitations of seven different persons who had assembled for the purpose of 'suppressing the press.'"

One point of history that I think should be reexamined is the person of Emperor Norton I. The official line is that he was a crackpot but so charming that the entire city humored his delusion, even going so far as to honor his--supposedly--self-made currency. (Somewhat off-topic: there is a ontemporary character in San Francisco named Frank Chu who attained the indulgence of the city in a somewhat like manner; a bar in the Mission District, Twelve Galaxies, is named after the intricate conspiracy he propounds.)

Regarding the emperor, a second source, B. E. Lloyd, relates that before entering his delusion, Norton, an Englishman, had been involved in negotiating a treaty between France and Russia. He is also described as one of the largest landowners in California.

I will post more tidbits of interest as I find them.


Now this is weird. A building contained within a wooden wall higher than the building.


That, I believe, is the spite wall built by Charles Crocker around the property of a neighbor in revenge for refusing to sell the lot to him. It would have been on nob hill. That's the story at least.
Does it say what their delusions were?
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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One point of history that I think should be reexamined is the person of Emperor Norton I.
Agreed, Emperor Norton definitely should be looked into. The explanation of this guys existence are laced with enough ridiculousness to justify a closer look.

Additionally, the 1860s SF was being given too much credit on the importance scale, in my opinion. For a town of 50k it sure appeared to be an important stronghold.
 

jd755

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Just noticed. In that bricklaying picture there are no less than seven bricklaying teams in action (count the mortar boards). True they could be two and one gangs but even so that would mean at least 7 skilled bricklayers laying the bricks and 4 skilled labourers or hodmen keeping them supplied with bricks and mortar for a working week of six days and a working day of up to 12 hours.
I know inconceivable to those 'in work' today but there it is.
 

0harris0

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In that bricklaying picture there are no less than seven bricklaying teams in action (count the mortar boards).
I don't see how 7 boards = 7 gangs? I've laboured for brickys, a gang of 6/7 (2 labourers, 4/5 brickys) and we had up to 10 mortar boards along where the wall is being built, with bricks already stacked. we'd fill all the spots with mortar before the layers start laying!
 

jd755

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I don't see how 7 boards = 7 gangs? I've laboured for brickys, a gang of 6/7 (2 labourers, 4/5 brickys) and we had up to 10 mortar boards along where the wall is being built, with bricks already stacked. we'd fill all the spots with mortar before the layers start laying!
Well the bricklaying gangs in my day were too fast to work in anything other than a 2 and 1 gang. Even working on foreigners it was always 2 and 1. Watching todays bricklayers 'in action' it is watching slow motion bricklaying.
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So off I goes looking for evidence, ie text and pictures, of where the horses were and up popped this site Looking back: The lost tracks of the San Francisco Bay Area | Topics: California, lost tracks, Looking Back, San Francisco | Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

"In December 1851, a tremulous and sickly traveller arrived at San Francisco harbour, having made a long and gruelling journey across the Pacific from Australia. Tremulous and exhausted from the punishing voyage, the globetrotter was greeted by a large crowd.

Who was this émigré that drew such interest? It was no star of the stage, nor a great adventurer, nor a European royal. The new arrival was, in fact, a horse, and the event has gone down in history as the entry of the first Thoroughbred into California. Black Swan, as the mare was named, set racing in the Golden State on fire. Her decisive win in 1852 over prized Spanish stallion Sarco in a nine-mile contest captured the imagination of the West Coast, and prompted the importation of a stream of Thoroughbreds.

San Francisco and its environs grew to become a centre of Thoroughbred racing and breeding and the home of a succession of racecourses. Continuing an occasional series on lost tracks, this article explores the bygone circuits of the Bay Area."
 
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0harris0

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Well the bricklaying gangs in my day were too fast to work in anything other than a 2 and 1 gang. Even working on foreigners it was always 2 and 1. Watching todays bricklayers 'in action' it is watching slow motion bricklaying.
that's the difference between day rates and price per brick.. if only everyone got paid per work done rather than hourly/daily/job rates, we'd have a much more industrious society!
one of our crew hated day rates, too used to doing 100s of bricks before lunchtime and then calling it a day!
(we were on a massive site doing 4 or 5:2, had to walk 250m+ to get to the mixers o_O there were a few days when it was me vs 4 brickys... sweaty!! thankfully we weren't on price per brick haha)
 

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From here The Russian Diocese in the San Francisco Call, 1900 - Orthodox History

Posting the entire article as it, to me at least points to the Russians once again AND again to me points to the continuing conversion of heathens/tartarians/indians into god fearing (church fearing in reality) men which I feel reached a turning point when Alta California was annexed by the United States.
The connection with St Petersburg will not be lost on those on here who looked even slightly into that city.
Bolded bits are my emphasis.

Editor’s note: On April 22, 1900, the San Francisco Call published a full-page spread on Orthodoxy in America. The author, Sarah Comstock, visited San Francisco’s Holy Trinity Cathedral and interviewed the cathedral dean, Fr. Sebastian Dabovich. The resulting article (below) was accompanied by several photos, some of which I have reproduced here.


It has advanced quietly enough. Churches and missions have been established here and there, and without the blowing of trumpets. Now, at the top of all the years’ climbing, the Most Holy Synod in St. Petersburg creates the diocese of North America, names a Bishop therefore and chooses San Francisco as the see city. This is the largest diocese in the world. And it was only so long ago as 1759, I believe Mr. Inkersley turned aside from his seal skinning long enough to set up the first cross ever planted by orthodox hands on this side of the Pacific.
“Most Rev. Tikhon, Bishop of the Aleutian Islands and North America,” is the whole of it. A man of no more than 35 years claims the title. Rev. Tikhon of San Francisco is the Bishop over all our continent.
Over in the northern part of our city live the Greeks and the Russians and the Slavs who trudge hills up or hills down to their orthodox service. There are so many of them that little Trinity Cathedral nigh overflows. In the days to come there will be such a cathedral built here as the great cities of the mother land have built. So much the 600 members are glad of and proud of, but they do not wait until then to worship. They are a hard-handed, bleakly clad congregation for the most part, who drudge for the six days that it is permitted to drudge, and on the seventh day they stand for two hours in reverence that will be no deeper when the splendor of the Orient is about them.
Last Sunday I saw them come in ones and twos and threes of them, and some came in the weariness of sagging muscles and some brought curious, restless little children because they must bring them or forego the worship of people together. Great, vigorous men were there, such and so many as I have not seen before inside church walls on a Sunday when the green things outside are newly green and the ceiling of the park is of a color with the blue, far away glimpses where north-bound streets come to their end. From first to last these people stand while they watch green-robed priests moving slowly, intricately through the royal gates; while they listen to the voices that chant without accompaniment as it is written.

Interior of Holy Trinity Cathedral, San Francisco (SF Call, 4/22/1900)
Trinity Cathedral is an adapted house. From without it gives no promise of Oriental gorgeousness. Within is the color spilling from high windows and the gleam of rare ikons, gold draped, and warmth of paintings. The monotony solemn sound and the heavy fragrat from swaying censers and the presence faith make all things drifting.
In the midst of the priests and deacons I saw the Bishop – the newly famous man. He stood with his back to the people, and for a time I knew only that his robe was splendidly green and gold like the rest, only more splendid, and that the miter was beautiful with turquoises, and that beneath it flowed long locks of yellow hair that may or may not indicate something by its fineness. I saw that the form of the man was magnificent enough to belong to the savage past or the enlightened future.
So much I watched during long and ceaseless music, all of which was a mere accompaniment to the organ tones of the big faced proto deacon, who is known to people and clergy as “the man of the strong voice.” Now and again I caught a glimpse of the Bishop’s hand extended for the kisses of baby acolytes, and I thought the hand was like a woman’s. It contradicted the power of the figure. And I waited to see the face.
When at last the man, the teacher, the priest turned, it was borne in upon me that there was no contradiction after all. The candles had been given to him. The signs he made with them were mechanical. But while I understood not one word of his, I looked into his face and I felt that we were being blessed. I am sure that he is gentle as a woman and strong as a man, and that is why he has been chosen for a spiritual guide to both.
The race of him is written in every feature. Dully fair in coloring as Russians are; wide and square of countenance as the Russians are; clumsy of feature as the Russians are. But the expression is one that claims no race, for it is great enough to be universal.


Father Sebastian Dabovich, who is the Bishop’s tireless assistant in charge of Trinity Cathedral, has outlined the Bishop’s life for me. It seems that he was the son of a parish priest in the Russian province of Pskov, and in the steps of his narrowly bound father he went about doing good. Then there was a reach toward bigger things and the young Tikhon was sent away to St. Petersburg, where the world is a wider one than in the province of Pskov. The boy liked to learn and he studied well, and at last he came to teach others, for he was made a professor of theology in the Seminary of Kazan. In 1892 came a presidency at the Seminary of Cholm, and 1897 saw his consecration. He was made Bishop of Lublin, assistant to the Bishop of Warsaw.
From that year on he has grown greater in the eyes of the church. He was promoted to the independent diocese of Alaska in 1898, and then began his American labors. It was not altogether easy to pull up roots. Russia is his home and the church’s home, and Alaska gives dreary welcome to strangers. But the seal of the work was upon him, and he knew the joy of sacrifice.
He came to the field where those first eight missionaries had labored. It was in 1794 that they cut a way through pathless Siberia and struggled to achievement. This achievement was the conversion of the Aleuts. In the time that followed, chapels were built. They were simple affairs, but they held together the worshipers. The Indians came regularly to service and joined the church. To-day a priest on the Aleutian Islands has little to do in the way of conversion. The ground is won and must be settled.
One church, that of Sitka, has been adorned. Its royal gates are famous. Its ikons are rich. Its peal of bells is music. This cathedral will hold the first place for beauty in the Greek Church of America until the San Francisco cathedral is built.
Among the meek Aleuts Bishop Tikhon labored in churches and schools. He saw the little Indians making themselves awkward in the clothes of civilization and he was happy as a father. But he was not satisfied with this work alone. Alaskan affairs were in smooth running order, hence he helped the church extend. It is reaching to all parts of our land now.
His new title is the outward climax of his labors. The American diocese, being so large, has been divided into four deaneries, Father Sebastian tells me: one in the Eastern States, one in the Western and two in Alaska. “The Bishop is to be assisted in the administration by a consistory,” he says. “This sits with him in San Francisco. There are thirty priests in the diocese, four deacons, two sub-deacons and twenty-five teachers and parish clerks.
“We have strong parishes in Pennsylvania and New York. We have one in Portland, in Seattle, in Jackson, California, and we hope to build in Los Angeles before long.”
Already there are treasures here that will go to make beautiful the new cathedral. An ikon of Christ is one, and one of the Mother and Child is another. The orthodox church differs from the Roman in its view of the Mother. In this point it comes nearer to the Anglican branch, while on the other hand, its elaborate service is more like the Roman.


Another treasure kept at Trinity Cathedral is a miter worn by the Bishop on great days. It is set with jewels of every color and is valued at $2000. It is the finest in America. Such is the wealth of the church in Europe that there are miters there worth as much as $50,000.
The wealth of adornment, the dignity of service, the devotion of worship have established themselves in our land. How much stronger hold they will gain – who knows?
 

0harris0

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Considering that we have two brick laying experts. What would be an approximate brick count to build that Palace Hotel up above?
depends on construction method! is it a "half brick" deep wall tied in to a frame (or onto the outside of a previously existing structure), as in modern construction? or are the walls "whole brick" deep?
Brick calculator - estimate the number of bricks or blocks required for a wall
either way, that is a s**tload of bricks... rough estimate of the corner of that hotel and the 3 windows on either side is at least 300 square metres top to bottom.. so an absolute minimum of 18000 bricks just that first corner o_O
 

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