California Seaports

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: ° Alameda: ° Berkeley ° Oakland
Contra Costa County: ° Crockett, ° Martinez ° Port Costa
Marin County: ° Point Reyes, ° San Rafael (China Camp), ° Sausalito, ° Tiburon
° Mendocino ° Sacramento
San Francisco (City and County)
Solano: ° Benicia (St. Paul's Church), ° VallejoMare Island
Sonoma: ° Petaluma ° Fort Ross
CENTRAL & SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: ° Long Beach ° Los Angeles ° Monterey County ° San Diego County ° Santa Barbara ° Santa Monica ° The Channel Islands

Los Angeles

South-facing San Pedro Bay was originally a shallow mudflat, too soft to support a wharf. Visiting ships had two choices: stay far out at anchor and have their goods and passengers ferried to shore; or beach themselves.

That sticky process is described in Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr., who was a crewmember on an 1834 voyage that visited San Pedro Bay.

San Pedro Harbor.

On February 2, 1848, when California came under American control, business at San Pedro Harbor was booming. It was evident, however, that the Harbor needed to be expanded to accommodate the increasing cargo volume coming into the bay for the growing population in Los Angeles. Phineas Banning, owner of a stagecoach line with routes connecting San Pedro to Salt Lake City, Utah and Yuma Arizona, saw the need to dredge. In 1868, he had already built a railroad to connect San Pedro Bay to Los Angeles, the first in the area. In 1871, he dredged the channel to Wilmington in to a depth of 10 feet. The port handled 50,000 tons of shipping that year.

San Pedro.Railroad Kings.

After Banning's death in 1885 his sons pursued their interests in promoting the port, which handled 500,000 of shipping in that year. The Southern Pacific Railroad and Collis P. Huntington wanted to create Port Los Angeles at Santa Monica, and built the Long Wharf there in 1893. However the Los Angeles Times' publisher Harrison Gray Otis and U.S. Senator Stephen White pushed for federal support of the Port of Los Angeles at San Pedro Bay. The matter was settled when San Pedro was endorsed in 1897 by a commission headed by Rear Admiral John C. Walker (who later went to become the chair of the Isthmian Canal Commission in 1904). 

With U.S. government support breakwater construction began in 1899 and the area was annexed to Los Angeles in 1909. The Port was officially founded in 1907 with the creation of the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners.

May 26, 1902, Woodland Daily Democrat, Woodland, California, USA

Its Maintenance Brings Good to San Joaquin Valley.

Calvin B. Brown Is secretary of the Stockton chamber of commerce. While on a recent visit to Sacramento he told of the practical results which have followed the maintenance of a bureau in Los Angeles. His explanation makes it quite clear that the Sacramento valley development association, cooperating with the San Joaquin valley counties that have affiliated for the purpose of maintaining the Los Angeles bureau might do some very effective advertising. Among other things Mr. Brown says:

"The affiliation was effected and the exhibit room opened February 1st. During the three months ending May 1st over 15,000 people have visited the exhibit, and been given literature relative to the San Joaquin Valley. Weekly excursions have been run into the valley from Los Angeles, each carrying from fifteen to sixty prospective land buyers. An active real estate market at once sprang up throughout the valley; sales were made in every county in the valley; the register at the Stockton chamber of commerce has for more than a mouth recorded the names of ten Easterners dally, most of whom were seeking investments. The money for the support of this Los Angeles exhibit room was pro rated among the counties of the valley, and about $100 per month for a period of three months was guaranteed by San Francisco banks.

Before the expiration of this guarantee the California promotion committee had been formed in San Francisco, and the banks which had subscribed to the valley fund had become subscribers to the promotion committee. The valley association appointed a committee to proceed to San Francisco at the expiration of the pledge from the San Francisco banks, and to attempt to get half of the expense of maintaining the Los Angeles office from the promotion committee. The effort was successful and the committee voted unanimously to give $250 a month to the Los Angeles work for the period of one year, with the following provisos: That the San Joaquin Valley Association should spend a like amount in IMS Angeles and that the Sacramento Valley Improvement Association would be let in on the Los Angeles work, provided they would give $260 a month for the privilege.

The secret of the success of the work done by the Stockton chamber of commerce has been the establishment of a system of checks so that contributors to the work were kept in constant touch with the returns. The chamber has acted on the theory that a dollar spent on an intending settler already within the state would bring better returns than $20 spent haphazard in the east. Los Angeles was selected for the field of endeavor, because it is the rendezvous for prospective buyers from all over the world, made so through the enormous advertising of Los Angeles done by the chamber of commerce of that place, and the transportation companies.

December 27, 1905, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California

Plans Being Made for Securing Natlonal Eisteddfod for Los Angeles

The movement to have a national eisteddfod in Los Angeles next winter is creating considerable interest among the prominent Welsh people here. It is a great national musical event among the Welsh people in their own country and in America. Dr. J. W. Jones of Los Angeles has been communicating with the prominent Welsh leaders in the eastern states and has received the encouragement that several choirs would come from Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio, the three central points of the Welsh In America, In the event that it was decided to meet in Los Angeles. The Paclfic coast and local talent would largely swell the number of singers. It is proposed to have one of the largest musical events in Los Angeles that has ever occurred in America. If it is decided to have it here there will be sharp competition for excellent music and the winning of large prizes.

Dr. Jones says that every eisteddfod that has been held in this country has paid Its own expenses, but in order to secure successful results it would requlre the guarantee of $25,000 for the event in Los Angeles. This guarantee would be for the purpose of securing the choirs from the east. "It would require nine months of rehearsals," said Dr. Jones, "to perfect the choirs for the concerts that would continue from three to five days, the morning and afternoon sessions being devoted to contests nnd the evening sessions to the concerts. The eisteddfod would bring one of the largest and most refined gatherings ever assembled In Los Angeles."

Immigration.Merchants of Grain. Merchants of Grain: 
The Power and Profits of the Five Giant Companies at the Center of the World's Food Supply
Five Companies at the Center of the World's Food Supply.
Dan Morgan
Details how a handful of families have controlled the worlds grain trade for centuries. A great piece for families that till the soil, but one that is even more important to the people who live in the city; and have no idea of the power and control that these families wield. 
From Captain John R. Sutton: "I am a captain on Mississippi River towboats. I have pushed millions of tons of grain down the Mississippi River for years. But I never really understood the gobal impact of the world's grain company's until I read this book."

Immigration.Family Skeletons.Family Skeletons: Exploring the Lives of Our Disreputable AncestorsFamily Skeletons.
Simon Fowler, Ruth Paley
Most families have a skeleton. You may have already discovered yours via the grapevine or your own research. Or you may simply be intrigued by the dark side of our past. This popular history explores the behaviour of our disreputable ancestors from the unfortunate to the criminal, and introduces a host of colourful characters including 17th century witches, 18th century 'mollies' and Victorian baby farmers. Thematically arranged by skeleton, the text also describes how society punished and provided for its 'offenders' - as well as the changing attitudes that could ultimately bring acceptance.

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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