News & Tall Tales. 1800s.
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|
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.
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
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