News & Tall Tales. 1800s. Along the Wharves
December 29, 1872, Daily Alta California, San Francisco
ALONG THE WHARVES
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.
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.
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