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San Francisco Boomtown
 

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The changes brought to California by the discovery of gold were nowhere more apparent than in San Francisco.  The city in 1847 numbered only about 800 residents, featuring little but a few buildings, streets, and small wharves.  As gold fever swept the world, fortune seekers descended on the city by the thousands.

One newspaper correspondent described San Francisco in 1848 as full of "buildings of all kinds, begun or half-finished…with all kinds of signs in all languages.  Great quantities of goods were piled up in the open air, for there was no place to store them.  The streets were full of people, hurrying to and fro, and of as diverse and bizarre a character as the houses."

By 1851, San Francisco's population swelled to over 30,000 people.  Miners, merchants, gamblers, and speculators from around the globe arrived daily with hopes for a better future.  Empty ships, abandoned by sailors rushing to the gold fields, crowded the city's waterfront.  The demand for new buildings was so great that the hulls of some of these ships were even brought ashore and used as offices, stores or hotels.


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"View of San Francisco, formerly Yerba Buena, in  1846-47, Before the Discovery of Gold," published by Bosqui Engineering and  Printing Company.  Ephemera  Collection, California State Archives.

"View of San Francisco, formerly Yerba Buena, in 1846-47, Before the Discovery of Gold," published by Bosqui Engineering and Printing Company.

Ephemera Collection, California State Archives


"View of the Town and Harbour of San Francisco  California from the Signal Hill," November 12, 1851, published by Ackermann & Co. 96 Strand. Ephemera  Collection, California State Archives.

"View of the Town and Harbour of San Francisco California from the Signal Hill," November 12, 1851, published by Ackermann & Co. 96 Strand.

Ephemera Collection, California State Archives.



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