News & Tall Tales. 1800s.

San Francisco, California Real Estate News 1849.

California Real Estate News

August 30, 1849, Alta California, San Francisco California


The City of South San Francisco.

The undersigned beg leave to inform the public that a survey of the city of South San Francisco has just been completed, and a map of the city is now to be seen at the store of DeBoon, Townsend, & Co., on Clay St.

The site is located on the Bay of San Francisco, two miles southerly of the city of San Francisco, and in plain sight of the shipping in the harbor.

The same depth of water found in the harbor of the city of San Francisco is to be found in the harbor of the city of South San Francisco, and along the bay between the two harbors. The harbor is more securely protected from the wind than the harbor of the city of San Francisco, and ships of the heaviest burden may lay within a boat's length of the land at many points, and quite close generally along the whole front of the city, affording the best facilities for discharging cargo. The land rises in a gentle slope from the water, and is composed of a rich clay soil. There are extensive stone quarries, and springs of fine running water are found on the face of the hill in many places. The character of the soil always keeps the air free of dust, or sand. The surrounding scenery is highly picturesque, and a more pleasant place for residences, or a more convenient place for business is not to be found on the bay.

San Francisco 1849.
San Francisco, 1849

A stream of the finest water in California, and sufficient in quantity to water both cities, and all the shipping that ever may lay in their harbors, forms the northern boundary of the city, and will be conducted into a reservoir for such purposes.

The only practicable route for a good road from the city of San Francisco to San Jose, will pass through South San Francisco, crossing the mouth of Mission creek, and the mouth of the creek just alluded to. From San Francisco to San Jose and Monterey is one of the best natural roads in the world; and passing on this road from South San Francisco, you travel along a beautiful valley of hard grass land, a distance less than two miles. Persons desirous of seeing the city, will go out on the old Mission road, and will find the Mission about half-way.

It is but a short ride. Go out and see for yourselves, and if you wish to purchase lots, that will shortly equal in value those of the city of San Francisco, call on the subscribers, at the store of DeBoom, Townsend, & Co.

During 1849 seven hundred and seventy-five ships cleared from eastern ports for California, and fifty thousand men, women, and children, who trusted to horses and wagons and their own tired, bleeding feet, forged overland. At the end of the year the various land-routes to California were sign posted by discarded gold-machines, wash-basins, broken-down prairie schooners, the bleaching bones of men and beasts, and five thousand little mounds that marked the graves of the defeated; wrecks of ships were piled up along the coasts of the two Americas; and there was a vague wonder in eastern homes about the many valiant tubs that sailed out into the blue dusk and simply vanished.

There was nothing essentially thrilling or admirable about that greed for gold ; there was much that was insane, fantastic, sickening, and utterly rotten. In the early days of the old coasting traders, when perhaps two or three American ships touched at the Pacific coast in the course of a year, captains and crews alike were received with courtesy, and they extended courtesy.

Birds Eye View of San Francisco.

Birds Eye View of the Village of San Francisco
M & N Hanhart Chromo Lithograph Co.

Established in Mulhouse in 1830 by Michael Hanhart who initially worked with Godefroy Engelmann in London. The firm, established at Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square, was named after his two sons Michael and Nicholas. Artists like Joseph Wolf, Joseph Smit, J. G. Keulemans and others worked for him to produce natural history illustrations that were used in the Ibis (1859-1874), Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (1848-1900) and a range of books.

The terrific exodus of men and women to California opened, for a few years, one of the richest markets the world has ever known. Eggs were $1 each; onions, $2 the pound; beef, pork, and flour were $40 to $60 a barrel; salmon caught in the Sacramento River fetched $2 each; tea, coffee, and sugar sold at $4 a pound; wooden bowls were $2.50 to $7.50 each; boots were $50 a pair; whiskey was $10 to $40 a quart; a breakfast of ham, eggs, and coffee cost $6; a shave, $4; picks and shovels were $5 to $15 each; laudanum was $1 a drop; and quinine was any price. Cooks were paid $400 to $500 a month; stevedores, $20 to $30 a day; laundries received from $10 to $12 a dozen for washing shirts, and miners made anywhere from $100 to $1,000 a day washing dirt. The scarcity of food and supplies, with gold flowing in a ceaseless stream, threw eastern shipowners and shipbuilders into a lather of haste to replenish the needs and divert the stream.

All About America Gold Rush and Riches.All About America: Gold Rush and RichesGold Rush and Riches.
Paul Robert Walker
Meticulously researched, with specially-commissioned illustrations and original artwork from each period, reading lists, resources for further study. An immersive introduction to the history that shaped America. In 1848, carpenter James Marshall made a chance discovery: a few shiny flakes-of gold in a riverbed he was digging. Within a year 800,000 gold-seekers from all over the world were on their way to California. The Gold Rush was on.

Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in AmericaFreaks of Fortune.
Jonathan Levy
Until the early nineteenth century, "risk" was a specialized term: it was the commodity exchanged in a marine insurance contract. Here is a story of how the modern concept of risk emerged in the United States. Born on the high seas, risk migrated inland and became essential to the financial management of an inherently uncertain capitalist future. Focusing on the hopes and anxieties of ordinary people, Levy shows how risk developed through extraordinary growth of new financial institutions - insurance corporations, savings banks, mortgage-backed securities markets, commodities futures markets, securities markets - while posing moral questions. To be a free individual, whether an emancipated slave, a plains farmer, or a Wall Street financier, was to take, assume, and manage one's own personal risk. Yet this often meant offloading that same risk onto a series of new financial institutions. Levy traces the fate of personal freedom as it unfolded in the new economic reality created by the American financial system.

Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin
(California Studies in Critical Human Geography)
Gray Brechin
First published in 1999, this history of San Francisco traces the exploitation of both local and distant regions by prominent families — the Hearsts, de Youngs, Spreckels, and others who gained power through mining, ranching, water and energy, transportation, real estate, weapons, and mass media. The story is one of greed and ambition on an epic scale, tracing the connections between environment, economy, and technology with links that led, ultimately, to the creation of the atomic bomb and the nuclear arms race.

Tycoons.The Big Spenders: The Epic Story of the Rich Rich, the Grandees of America and the Magnificoes, and How They Spent Their FortunesAmerica's Super Rich.
Lucius Beebe
The Big Spenders was Lucius Beebe's last and many think his best book. Here he describes the consumption of the Gilded Age. Beebe enjoys it all immensely, and so do his readers, whether it is James Gordon Bennett buying a Monte Carlo restaurant because he was refused a seat by the window, or Spencer Penrose leaving a bedside memo reminding himself not to spend more than $1 million the next day.

Millionaires and Kings of EnterpriseMillionaires and Tycoons.
The Marvellous Careers of Some Americans Whose Pluck, Foresight, and Energy Have Made Themselves Masters in the Fields of Industry and Finance

James Burnley

Tycoons. The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J. P. Morgan Invented the American SupereconomySuper Economy.
Charles R. Morris
The acclaimed author vividly brings the men and their times to life. The ruthlessly competitive Carnegie, the imperial Rockefeller, and the provocateur Gould were obsessed with progress, experiment, and speed. They were balanced by Morgan, the gentleman businessman, who fought for a global trust in American business. Through antagonism and their verve, they built an industrial behemoth — and a country of middle-class consumers. These four determined men wrenched the economy into the modern age, inventing a nation of full economic participation not imagined a few decades earlier.

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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