VIPS in San Francisco: 1800s


Aaron Fleishhacker:
Born February 4, 1820, Bayem, Bundersrepublick, Deutschland (Germany)
Died February 19, 1898, San Francisco, California

Aaron Fleishhacker was born in Bavaria, in 1820.

He arrived in San Francisco in 1851 and spent years prospecting, storekeeping and grubstaking miners. During a trip East in 1857 he married Delia Stern. They travelled to San Francisco, California from Albany, New York, first by steamer and mule through the Panama route, and then by wagon to Virginia City where they were identified with the general mercantile business at Forrest City and later at Carson City, Nevada. During that time, she helped deliver babies born to miners' wives.

August 14, 1862, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California

The copartnership heretofore existing between the undersigned under the name of A. Fleishhacker & Co., Carson City, N.T., is hereby dissolved by mutual consent -- Louis Sloss & Co. having sold out their entire interest in said business to Cauffman H. Meyer. Either party will sign in Liquidation. A. FLEISHHACKER, LOUIS SLOSS & CO. July 26, 1862.

Due to an $11,000 windfall from a grateful miner he had grubstaked, the Fleishhacker's moved to San Francisco. In 1870, they opened A. Fleishhacker & Co., "The Paper Box House," a thriving box company in San Francisco. By 1918, the firm had become the largest of its kind in the West and was housed in a five-story building.

Among San Francisco’s pioneer women Delia (Stern) Fleishhacker was one of the most conspicuous. She was seventeen years of age when she came to California as the bride of Aaron Fleishhacker. She was born in New York, in October, 1839, was reared and educated at Albany and was a resident of California for over sixty-five years. She became the leader of the Jewish women in San Francisco, being a real representative of the Jewish aristocracy of the state. Possessed of great source of character and tremendous will power, she was always the center and directing head in all projects in which she took part. There was no movement in Jewish circles in which she was not consulted and her keen intellect and broad understanding were admired by all who came in contact with this gracious woman.

Mrs. Fleishhacker was author of several volumes of Travel Records and also issued innumerable selections of beautiful poetry. The San Francisco public knew her chiefly for her work in charitable organizations. She was the first president of the Hebrew Ladies? Sewing Society, filling that office many years; was a member of the city and county Federation of Women?s Clubs; was connected with the various San Francisco philanthropic bodies and Jewish benevolent societies, including the Council of Jewish Women, the Federation of Jewish Charities, Pacific Orphan Asylum and the Beresford County Club of San Mateo.

For a number of years he was intimately associated with that group of stalwart pioneer metropolitans known as the "Big Four," comprising O?Brien, Mackey, Flood and Hopkins.

In 1880 Aaron Fleishhacker took up the business of manufacturing paper boxes, and to that line he gave his chief attention until his death in 1900.

July 2, 1899, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California

Articles of Incorporation

Truckee River General Electric Company. Principal place of buiness, San Francisco. Directors - M. Fleishhacker, Allan Pollek, A. J. Hechtman, L. Schawbacher and H. Fleishhacker, San Francisco; S. D. Rosenbaum, New York City, and F. H. Buck, Vacavaille. Capital stock, $2,500,000, subscribed,$1,750.

Pacific Cultures by Herbert Fleishhacker.

Aaron?s sons, Mortimer and Herbert, organized the American River Electric Company, an early hydroelectric generation venture and in time, had more than a dozen power plants and factories in operation.

October 21, 1900, San Francisco Call
San Francisco, California

First Use of Electricity on the Comstock
Virginia City Celebrates the Completion of New System

Virginia City's populace to-day celebrated the introduction of electric power for operating the Comstock mines. One hundred mining men from San Francisco and other coast points participated. Several hundred people assembled at the depot and as the train drew in the visitors were greeted with cheers and the stirring strains by the Comstock Band. The San Francisco guests were escorted to four-ln-hand carriages and driven to the International Hotel for luncheon and entertained with music. Then they were driven to the Gould & Curry mill, where a large crowd of citizens had assembled to witness the starting of the plant.

Mrs. Davis, the eldest daughter of Superintendent Kinkead, after, breaking a bottle of champagne and pouring its contents into the Kinkead crushers at 2 o'clock turned on the electric current that set the entire mill machinery in motion, crushing the Gould & Curry ore with which the bin under the roof had been filled. The process of rockbreaking, crushing and concentrating was witnessed by as many spectators as could find standing room. The starting of the mill was announced by a cheer that rose above the roar of the machinery and the delivery of electric power on the Comstock lode was an accomplished fact.

Tonight a banquet was given at the International Hotel and covers were laid for over one hundred people. George H. Wells, John Lenders, Herman Zading and Mortimer Fleishhacker of San Francisco were the principal speakers.

The family was deeply philanthropic and responsible for many of the area?s cultural and landmark institutions including the Fleishhacker Zoo, which later became the San Francisco Zoo and the Fleishhacker Pool in San Francisco, famed as the world's largest saltwater swimming pool, which remained in operation until 1971.

Fleishhacker Pool.

Philanthropist and civic leader Herbert Fleishhacker built the world-renowned pool in 1924. Under Fleishhacker?s leadership, the Park Commission persuaded the City to purchase 30 acres of oceanside land from the Spring Valley Water Company to establish a site for the present zoo. Fleishhacker Pool opened on April 23, 1925.

The pool was 1,000 feet long and 150 feet wide, the largest pool in the United States. There was a diving pool measuring 50 feet square and 14 feet deep with a tiered diving tower. The pool measured 1000 feet in length by 160 feet across at the middle section and 100 feet across at each end. The depth graduated from 3 feet at the west end to 15 feet under the diving platform. It held 6,500,000 gallons of filtered seawater pumped in from the Pacific Ocean and could heat 2800 gallons a minute from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The pool maintained the constant 72 degrees required for A.A.U. (Amateur Athletic Union) Swim Meets. Unfortunately, when the ambient air temperature is in the 60s or lower with a damp breeze coming off Ocean Beach, that’s a cold 72 degrees. The pool could accommodate 10,000 swimmers.

San Francisco's Lost Landmarks.

Salt water was pumped into the pool at high tide through a pipeline from the ocean and then pumped out at low tide.

Freaks of Fortune.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. Freaks of Fortune tells the story of how the modern concept of risk emerged in the United States. Gold Bars.

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, Jonathan Levy shows how risk developed through the extraordinary growth of new financial institutions-insurance corporations, savings banks, mortgage-backed securities markets, commodities futures markets, and securities markets-while posing inescapable moral questions. For at the heart of risk's rise was a new vision of freedom. 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, which together have only recently acquired the name "financial services industry." Levy traces the fate of a new vision of personal freedom, as it unfolded in the new economic reality created by the American financial system.

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

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

Gold Rush and Riches.All About America: Gold Rush and RichesGold Rush and Riches.
Paul Robert Walker
Meticulously researched, with specially-commissioned illustration, detailed reconstructions and original artwork from each period, reading lists, and resources for further study, this series is 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, and the Gold Rush was on.

The Big Spenders.The Big Spenders
The Epic Story of the Rich Rich, the Grandees of America and the Magnificoes, and How They Spent Their Fortunes
America's Super Rich.

Lucius Beebe
The Big Spenders was Lucius Beebe's last and many think his best book. In it 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.

Tycoons and Millionaires.The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J. P. Morgan Invented the American SupereconomySuper Economy.
Charles R. Morris
Acclaimed author Charles R. Morris 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, instead, for a global trust in American business. Through their antagonism and their verve, they built an industrial behemoth — and a country of middle-class consumers. The Tycoons tells the story of how 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 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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