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VIPS in the Port of San Francisco during the 1800s 

Domenico Ghirardelli was born near Genoa, Italy into a family of exotic foods importers. At a young age, Domenico was introduced to the chocolate and confectionary trade through an apprenticeship with a local candy maker.

In 1837, at age 20, Ghirardelli married his first wife and set sail for Uruguay to work in the South American chocolate trade. A year later, he was attracted by opportunities in Lima, Peru, sailed around the Horn and opened a confectionery store next to a cabinet owned by James Lick.

By 1847, Lick left for San Francisco, taking 600 pounds of Ghirardelli chocolate with him. Ghirardelli continued operating his store in peru, and changed his name to Domingo, its Spanish equivalent.

In 1849, Ghirardelli learned of the gold strike at Sutter's Mill; he sailed unaccompanied to California where he began to thrive by opening a general store in Stockton and then a shop in San Francisco. However, his holdings were destroyed in the great fire of 1851; he consolidated his salvaged assets and opened the Cairo Coffee House on Commercial Street. The coffee house did not thrive, so he formed a new company called Thirardely & Girard at Kearny and Washington; this establishment became the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company . . . by 1884 three sons had become partners in a business which had grown to 30 employees shipping products to points in the United States, China, Japan and Mexico. By 1885, cocoa bean imports by the company had reached 450,000 pounds.

Ships, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.By 1877, Domingo Ghiradelli was established in The San Francsico Bay Area and was noted as serving in Oakland as a County Court Juror.

In 1893, the company purchased to Pioneer Woolen Building, moved manufacturing into the location, and is still there more than 100 years later.

Oakland Tribune, February 16, 1908

PIONEER OAKLAND WOMAN IS BURIED

Mrs. Charles Sutton Carried to Rest by Six Nephews and Pallbearers

With six young nephews as pallbearers the remains of Mrs. Charles Sutton, former well known club and society woman of this city and daughter of the pioneer Ghiradelli family, were laid to rest in the Ghiradelli tomb at Mountain View cemetery yesterday. Services with teh Rev. Charles R. Brown officiating, were held from the residence of Mrs. Louis Ghiradelli, 1147 Popular Street.

Mrs Sutton died in Paris on January 25 after an extended illness. She and Mr Sutton with their daughter, Carmen had been traveling on the continent since last May. Mrs. Sutton became ill at Heidelberg some months ago. After some improvement the party went to the Italian Riviera and other places, arriving at Paris early In January. Mrs. Sutton gradually became weaker until the end.

Mrs. Sutton had resided in Oakland since childhood. She was a member ot the Ebell club and Fablola Hospital Association and was much loved by her friends. She was the daughter of Domingo Ghiradelli. founder of the pioneer spice and chocolate house and a sister of the late Joseph and Louis Ghlradelll, Domingo Ghiradelli of San Francisco and Mrs. Chris Jorgensen of Yosemlte.

Ownership changed hands over the years, and is now held by Lindt and Sprungli Chocolate out of Switzerland.

The Annals of San FranciscoShips, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.

Historical Atlas of California

Click for a Selection of California History Books

Ships, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.

Historical Atlas of California With Original Maps."Historical Atlas of California"uses nearly five hundred historical maps and many other illustrations--from rough sketches drawn in the field to commercial maps to beautifully rendered works of art. This lavishly illustrated volume tells the story of California's past from a unique visual perspective covering five hundred years of history from before European contact through the Gold Rush and up to the present. The maps are accompanied by a concise, engaging narrative and by extended captions that elucidate the stories and personalities behind their creation.

Frank Soule, John H. Gihon

1855. Written by three journalists who were witnesses to and participants in the extraordinary events they describe. The Annals of San Francisco is both an essential record for historians and a fascinating narrative for general readers. Over 100 historical engravings are included.

Partial Contents: Expeditions of Viscaino; Conduct of the Fathers towards the natives; Pious Fund of California; Colonel John C. Fremont; Insurrection of the Californians; Description of the Golden Gate; The Mission and Presidio of San Francisco; Removal of the Hudson's Bay Company; Resolutions concerning gambling; General Effects of the Gold Discoveries; Third Great Fire; Immigration diminished; The Chinese in California; Clipper Ships; Increase of population; and Commercial depression.

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; Maritime Library, San Francisco, California, various Maritime Museums around the world.

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