News & Tall Tales. 1800s.

Along the Wharves

December 29, 1872, Daily Alta California, San Francisco


The steamer "Ajax" will sail for Portland on Tuesday next.

The bark "Pearl" has been hauled into the Lumbermen's wharf, where she will take on a cargo.

The "Nebraska" will sail from Folsom street for Australia, Honolulu, etc., on Wednesday, 1st prox.

On Monday, at eleven o'clock, the crews of the barks "Solomon" and "Comet" will be paid off at the office of the United States Shipping Commissioner.

A telegram has been received here of the loss of the British ship "Benares," on her voyage from Hongkong to this port. She was wrecked at the Loo Choo Islands. The greater portion of the crew perished.

The dredger which has been employed at the Pacific Mail Steamship Company's wharf, for some ten days past, has finished the job, and been towed around to the slip between Howard and Mission streets, where it was anchored yesterday.

San Francisco 1800s.
Wooden-framed houses
on stilts and pilings
along San Francisco's shoreline. 1800s

Yesterday morning the steamship "Great Republic" was towed around from Oriental dock to the Mail wharf, for the purpose of facilitating the removal of the broken shaft and the getting in of the new one. It will probably require a week or more to complete the work.

The United States steamship "California," although announced to sail for Honolulu some days ago, is still in port, and is in want of men. Able-bodied seamen, ordinary seamen, landsmen and marines can all secure berths by applying to the boatswain at the foot of Third street.

United States Shipping Commissioner Stevenson cannot find situations for all the sailors applying to him for situations, and during our visit to his office yesterday we saw four or five turned away with the answer to their applications: "There are no positions open at present - perhaps there will be on Monday."

At Beale-street wharf yesterday, there was more activity than at any of the other wharves; the "Satsuma" was taking in the last installment of her cargo; the "Mallevllle" was receiving lumber, and the "Savoir Faire" was taking in grain, which was being delivered from wagons and trucks. The "Trowbridge" was taking out coal and two schooners wore discharging lumber.

The appearance of Eureka, North Point and Greenwich wharves was similar to that presented on Sunday, with the addition of the laboring men standing about. Dining the after part of the day, when the rain had ceased to fall, a little work was done toward putting grain into the bark "Nusatan," and taking coal out of the "Ella Beatrice" at North Point Dock, but only about half a force was employed.

Not a single event worth chronicling was learned during our visits to Front street wharf, Vallejo street wharf, Pacific street wharf, Jackson street wharf, Washington street wharf, Clay street wharf, Market street wharf or Larues' wharf. At all of these wharves were vessels ready to discharge, or waiting to take on cargo, but afraid to begin, owing to the threatening character of the weather.

The passenger trade has been materially affected, either by the rains or the holidays, or maybe by both causes, and the result is that the Petaluma, San Rafael, Santa Rosa and Vallejo boats got out with comparatively few persons on board. The dullness extends even to the ferry-boats plying between this city and Oakland and Alameda. The ladles nearly all stay at home, and where formerly hundreds were to be counted, not tens are seen now.

Owing to the condition of the streets in the neighborhood of the wharves - which are in some places actually impassable - teamsters have been compelled to go out of service for a few days. This fact has been the principal cause of the coal-laden vessels suspending operations. It is impossible to get the coal carted off the wharves, and it might just as well be in the ships as to be on the wharves. In fact, the wharfingers will not permit only a certain amount to be put on the wharf at a time, for fear of a crash.

The continuance of the rain during Friday night and yesterday forenoon prevented active operations on the water-front, and very little business was transacted at any of the wharves. The longshoremen were congregated in the warehouses, sheds and saloons in the immediate vicinity of the wharves, waiting for the rain to cease falling, so that they could go to work; but their hopes were destined to be unrealized, and with the greater portion of them the day passed away without their being called to labor. The officers of the vessels were on the alert, because the wind was shifting from point to point, and made it necessary for extreme caution to be observed to prevent damage from chafing.

At Mission-street wharf we came very near getting an item of considerable importance, but fortunately for the owners of the vessels concerned we did not. The bark "Mary Glover," which had been lying in the slip between Mission and Howard streets, was about putting to sea, and had hauled up her anchor. The wind was blowing pretty sharply at the time, and she was driven with force against the "Moses Taylor," which was moored alongside the wharf. Several stauncheons were broken by the collision and the two vessels commenced dialing together. Fortunately, a tug-boat was lying in the slip with steam up, and she immediately hitched on to the bark and towed her away. The damage will not exceed a few dollars.

The Annals of San FranciscoTales of Early San Francisco.Cliffhouse.Stories of Early San Francisco.
Frank Soule, John H. Gihon, Jim Nisbet. 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.

San Francisco, You're History!
A Chronicle of the Politicians, Proselytizers, Paramours, and Performers Who Helped Create California's Wildest City
San Francisco Artists.San Francisco.California Performers.
J. Kingston Pierce
Seattle-based writer Pierce presents a fascinating view of a variety of colorful people and events that molded the unique environment of San Francisco. He chronicles historical highlights: the Gold Rush, earthquakes, and fires and introduces the lives of politicians, millionaires, criminals, and eccentrics.

Click for a Selection of California History BooksCalifornia History.
including the "Historical Atlas of California," with nearly five hundred historical maps and other illustrations -- from 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. It offers an informative look at the transformation of the state prior to European contact through the Gold Rush and up to the present. The maps are accompanied by a concise narrative and by extended captions that elucidate the stories and personalities behind their creation.

Artful Players: Artistic Life in Early San Francisco Artistic Life in Early San Francisco.
Birgitta Hjalmarson
San Francisco.Artists in early California.With a handful of wealthy Gold Rush barons as indulgent patrons, an active community of artists appeared in nineteenth-century San Francisco almost overnight. A subculture of artistic brilliance and social experimentation was the result -- in essence, a decades-long revelry that purportedly ended with the 1906 earthquake. Witness Jules Tavernier, hungry and in debt, accepting a stuffed peacock and two old dueling pistols in payment for a Yosemite landscape; Mark Twain as reluctant art critic.

Publications About San Francisco, including Infinite City
What makes a place? Rebecca Solnit's reinvention of the traditional atlas, searches out the answer by examining the many layers of meaning in one place, the San Francisco Bay Area. Aided by artists, writers, cartographers, and twenty-two gorgeous color maps, each of which illuminates the city and its surroundings as experienced by different inhabitants, Solnit offers views that will change the way we think about place. She explores the area thematically -- connecting, for example, Eadweard Muybridge's foundation of motion-picture technology with Alfred Hitchcock's filming of Vertigo. She finds landmarks and treasures -- butterfly habitats, murders, blues clubs, Zen Buddhist centers. She details the cultural geographies of the Mission District, the culture wars of the Fillmore, South of Market. This atlas of the imagination invites us to search out the layers of San Francisco that carry meaning for us.

The Naval Order of the United States has a history dating from 1890. Membership includes a wide range of individuals, many with highly distinguished career paths.

The San Francisco Commandery meets the first Monday of each month at the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club in San Francisco, California and holds two formal dinners each year.

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.




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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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