American Historic Towns
Historic Towns of The Western States

Edited by Lyman P. Powell
G. P. Putnam' Sons
New York and London
The Knickerbocker Press
1901


SAN FRANCISCO
BY THE WEST GATE OF THE WORLD
"City of gold and destiny "
"With high face held to the ultimate sea."
BY EDWIN MARKHAM


IF Xenophon had journeyed westward from Athens, pressing beyond the amber caverns of the Baltic, beyond the tin mines of Thule, out past the Gates of Hercules, exactly west, across an ocean and a continent, the next Ihalalta of his men would have saluted the Pacific at the Golden Gate from the low, shifting sand hills of the unrisen San Francisco. For the violet veiled city of Athene and the gray draped city of St. Francis are in one line of latitude.

San Francisco crowns the extremity of a long, rugged peninsula, a little north of the centre of California,

"The land that has the tiger's length,
The tawny tiger's length of arm,"

the land that stretches from pine to palm,

"Haunch in the cloud rack, paw in the purring sea."

The one break in the mountain wall of the California Coast Range is the Golden Gate, the watery pass that leads from San Francisco to the Pacific. Spurs and peaks and cross ridges of this mountain chain would at long range seem to encompass the city round about; but, on nearer view, the edging waters on three sides make her distinctly a city of the sea.

Looking from the bay, past the fortified islands of the city, one may see San Francisco to the west, rising in airy beauty on clustered gray hills. At night the city hangs against the horizon like a lower sky, pulsing with starry lamps. By day it stretches in profile long and undulating, with spires and domes climbing up the steeps from a shore lined with the shipping of every nation, felucca, ironclad, merchantman, junk, together with bevies of tiny busybody craft, all of them circled and followed by slow swinging gulls.

For years after the magnificent, all inclusive claims of the Cabots at Labrador in 1497, nothing was known of the west coast of North America. Cabrillo felt his way along it in 1542, claiming it for Spain. In 1579, Francis Drake, fleeing from plundered Spanish galleons, tarried for repairs beside Cape Reyes, the Cape of Kings, and claimed the country, as New Albion, for Elizabeth of England. Although anchored in a cove within a mile of San Francisco Bay, he doubtless sailed away without guessing its existence behind the forestcovered mountains.

In 1602, Vizcaino, charting the west for Spain, as Gosnold was mapping the east for England, made stay in Drake's old anchorage, and named it the Port of San Francisco.

Notwithstanding the reiterated desire of the Spanish Crown that Mexico, or New Spain, should set about, colonizing upper California, it was not till 1769 that, the work was begun. Spain needed a harbor in which to retire on the way from the Philippines. The Russian fur traders were heading down the coast. The French and the English were rumored to be nearing from the east. So it behooved Spain to be on the alert to maintain her right to the new territory.

Jose de Galvaez, Visitador of Spain, who had been sent to Mexico with powers extraordinary, "to examine and reform all branches of government," seized upon the project of colonization, and found the administrator of his plans in Padre Junipero Serra, of fragrant memory, a Franciscan monk, who had all his life passioned to save Indians as a Tamerlane would have passioned to destroy them.

Spain's plan of colonization comprehended a triple series of establishments: the ecclesiastical or the mission, the military or the presidio, the civil or the pueblo. The theory of colonization carried the idea of a military and a religious conquest of the new lands. The Indians, whenever belligerent, were to be overcome by force; but as far as possible, they were to be drawn into the mission life by peaceable expedients.

In 1769, four expeditions, composed of soldiers, settlers, and Franciscan friars, set out from Mexico to enter upon the work of colonizing and civilizing California. If in the mists of coming ages the AEneid of California be lost, Spain may prove her sponsorship of the Californian province by the litany of seraphic and apostolic names given to mountain and mesa, to coast and cation. Andalusian names of saints and angels chime wherever the padres stepped or stopped.

One of the four expeditions, pushing northward by land, unwittingly passed Monterey; and a fragment of the company, while out hunting, came suddenly in sight of the waters now known as the Golden Gate and the San Francisco Bay. For the name San Francisco was soon transferred to this greater water from the old port known to Drake and Vizcaino.

In the summer of 1776 a company of padres, soldiers, and families, with stock and seeds, arrived on the San Francisco peninsula, and built temporary shelter of brush and tulles plastered with mud. On September 17th, the feast of the stigmata of St. Francis, solemn possession was taken of the presidio in the name of Spain; and on October 4th, the day of St. Francis, the mission was formally dedicated. The cross was raised, the Te Deum was chanted, while bells and guns chorused to sea and sky.

The mission was in a little fertile valley four miles from the Presidio, near a small creek now filled in. It became known as the Mission de los Dolores, in honor of the sorrows of Mary.

Hostile tribes from the south had lately fallen upon the Indians of the peninsula, firing their rancheros, murdering many of the inhabitants, and terrorizing the rest into flight. So the savages proved scarce at first. Even in 1802 the Indians at the Mission numbered only about eight hundred. But these natives, like all the Californian Indians, though quite docile, proved stupid and brutish and lazy. They made little progress from savagery to the state of genies de razon, or "reasonable beings," fit to populate the pueblos.

This mission regime, however futile it may have been, however formal and external its religious training, seems to have touched upon some of the educational and sociological thought of our own time. It made use of the wisdom Spain had learned from her Roman conquerors, the taking of the conquered into full partnership. The idea of the daily contact of superior with inferior; of community of property and cooperation in labor; of the union of manual work with mental drill, all these were rudely exemplified in the mission life. Sixty years was the span of the experiment, a brief time for an effort in civilization.

The Mission Dolores grew after the general plan of the score of others in California. It was built about an open court, the place for work or recreation. The chapel stood at one end of the rectangle; the living rooms, storehouses, and shops lined the other sides. Only the chapel, thrice restored, with its campo Canto beside it, remains of the Dolores structure. When Beechy visited it in 1829, it was already a crumbling ruin. The sun dried bricks, here as at the other unprotected mission relics, are fast melting back into the earth. The adobe, like the swallow's nest, cannot endure the hammers and chisels of wind and rain and sun.

Little of moment occurred at Dolores till the days of secularization. The barren, sand driven, wind swept hills were not attractive to the Spanish, and the Mission was not in high estimations with the authorities. Don Pedro de Aberini wrote of it in 1776: "Of all sites in California this Mission is situated upon the worst." Nevertheless, in 1825, the Mission, from a few head of stock and a few sacks of seed brought in 1776, had accumulated 76,000 cattle, 79,000 sheep, 40,000 horses, and $60,000 in money and products.

Mexico's jealousy of the sympathy which the padres felt for Spain, from whom Mexico had torn herself in 1822; the clamoring of settlers for the lands held by the missions; quixotic pleas of Mexican statesmen for Indian autocracy; and perhaps, under all, an itching for the Pious Fund that supported the mission work, these led on to the secularization of the missions in 1836. The Indian, civilized only surface deep, was unready for civilized self government; and so he fell back to barbarism, plus dissiption, his last state worse than the first

The Dolores Indians were especially incompetent, and no attempt was made to organize a pueblo for them. So Dolores, after secularization, dragged out an anomalous existence as a lapsed mission, carried on by political rather than by ecclesiastical rule, with an alcalde rather than a padre in charge.

In 1835 the embarcadero of Yerba Buena two miles from the Presidio, was, at command of Governor Figueroa, made the port of entry. This place (named from a medicinal weed growing about the cove) was only a landing place for fishermen and hide droghers. Only one house stood here at this time. Not a sail shadowed the bay. Herds of deer came down to the water and schools of seal swam to the shore. Yet Yerba Buena afterward absorbed the Mission and the Presidio on the margin of Golden Gate, and took the name of the Bay, thus becoming the germ of the present city.

A knowledge of the charm and worth of the sovereign bay queening the western shore of North America was rapidly travelling the world. In 1806, the Russian Rezanof had visited it officially. His coming and going has a romantic interest, as his betrothal to Donna Concepcion, the beautiful daughter of Arguello, commandant of the Presidio, his tragic death on his way home, and her retirement to a convent, made the Evangeline tale of early California. England in 1840 sent Belcher to the bay to gather information, and France sent de Mofras.

Both of these nations were suspected of coveting the California province; and the hope of getting possession of it, especially of San Francisco Bay, was doubtless in the background of our national consciousness as one motive of the Mexican War. It was felt by our country that the United States must own the west coast or be pot bound later on. The Government offered to buy the territory from Mexico, but the proposal was refused.

Gradually it came to be known that the United States, fearing similar action by European powers, was to seize and hold California in the event of a war with Mexico. With the vexed question of motive and action this is not the place to deal. But in 1846, after the Mexican War had fairly started, Fremont, pursuing a scientific exploration in California, received secret Government advices, and, gathering troops in the North, urged a declaration of independence. Commodore Sloat, in command of a frigate at Monterey, in July, 1846, raised the American flag in place of the Spanish nopal and eagle standard, declaring California a part of the United States. The next day, following the order of Sloat, our flag was set flying in the plaza at Yerba Buena by the captain of a frigate in the bay, accompanied by an escort of soldiers and marines. No opposition was offered by the Mexicans. Portsmouth, the name of the vessel, was given to the plaza, and Montgomery, the name of the captain, was given to the street, then along the water front, but now pushed back a half a dozen blocks by the filling in of the cove.

The first alcalde of Yerba Buena under the American flag was Washington Bartlett. Hearing that a new town, Francesca, was to be established farther up the bay, and fearing injury to his own from one with a name so similar to that of the bay, Alcalde Bartlett proceeded, in 1847, to cast off the plebeian name of his pueblo. He declared the name Yerba Buena insignificant and unknown to the world; proclaimed that henceforth the settlement should bear the name of the fostering bay beside it. This somewhat tardy edict of independence. Commodore Sloat, in command of a frigate at Monterey, in July, 1846, raised the American flag in place of the Spanish nopal and eagle standard, declaring California a part of the United States. The next day, following the order of Sloat, our flag was set flying in the plaza at Yerba Buena by the captain of a frigate in the bay, accompanied by an escort of soldiers and marines. No opposition was offered by the Mexicans. Portsmouth, the name of the vessel, was given to the plaza, and Montgomery, the name of the captain, was given to the street, then along the water front, but now pushed back a half a dozen blocks by the filling in of the cove.

The first alcalde of Yerba Buena under the American flag was Washington Bartlett. Hearing that a new town, Francesca, was to be established farther up the bay, and fearing injury to his own from one with a name so similar to that of the bay, Alcalde Bartlett proceeded, in 1847, to cast off the plebeian name of his pueblo. He declared the name Yerba Buena insignificant and unknown to the world; proclaimed that henceforth the settlement should bear the name of the fostering bay beside it. This somewhat tardy edict was accepted by all, and San Francisco became a name to conjure with.

The village nucleated a little back of the cove about its inevitable Spanish plaza, which was to be the scene of wild and whirling days to come. Telegraph Hill, the old observation station, rose on the north of it, and Rincon Hill was off toward the south. When California was ceded to the United States in 1848, San Francisco was fairly afoot upon her triumphant way. Brannan had established a newspaper, The Star, and had sent two thousand copies East, describing the new land, and, curiously enough, prophesying the gold and the wheat of the future, the first "boom" note from California. A school was flourishing; churches were building; two hundred houses were on the hills, and the population was about eight hundred.

And now sweeps into the story the dominant major, the finding of the gold. Told of in Indian legend and in Spanish tradition, the shining sands of Pactolus were found at last in a Californian cation. San Franciscans, hearing the tale, felt again the wander spirit, and were off to the mountains, seeking quicker fortunes. Soldiers and sailors deserted from the bay. The school closed; the newspaper suspended. Business was at a standstill: there was no one to work or to buy.

A wind of excitement passed across two hemispheres. The tidings of the gold flashed from city to city, swift as the signal fires of Agamemnon telling that Troy had fallen. The faces of men turned expectantly toward this land at the edge of the world. Everywhere were heard the sounds of preparation and farewell, as adventurers by land and sea, by craft and caravan, set out for El Dorado.

By 1849 immigrants from the ends of the earth were pouring in; and the bare, brown hills and curving shores of San Francisco were whitening with tents. Goods were piled high in the open air, and all available walls were covered with grotesque signs and placards speaking in all languages.

By the winter of '49, the drowsy, droning Spanish town had expanded into a little excited city. Everywhere were springing up nondescript lodging and boarding houses, drinking houses, and gambling saloons. Twenty five thousand people thronged the thoroughfares. There was scarcely such a thing as a home. Crowds of people slept wedged together on floors and tables, in rows of cots or in bunks fastened in tiers to the walls. The streets, full of sticky clay and miry sand, were thronged with struggling horses, mules, and oxen; and crowds of men from all nations and all levels of life jostled by, laughing, railing, or cursing. A whirlwind had rushed in upon the sleepy town. Old habits of life were broken through. Lawyers were turned into draymen and bootblacks; doctors into merchants and carpenters; soldiers into waiters and auctioneers. All men could find work; and none, however rich, could wholly evade it. Gambling was the chief amusement; speculation in a hundred forms was pressing forward, and fortunes were changing hourly.

In all this rude democracy, there was one mark of an aristocracy, high prices. Workmen charged twenty dollars a day; lumber was five hundred dollars a thousand; flour was forty dollars a barrel; eggs were a dollar apiece.

All unready for this tumultuous rise in population and precipitation of business, the infant city had to evolve on the moment accommodation for man and beast and craft, and organization for civic safety. To add to the perplexities, in the first years of the city, fire after fire devoured its flimsy fabric of canvas and shingle. The fourth and worst fire, in May, 1851, destroyed seven million dollars' worth of property. The recurrent devastation made a demand for fireproof buildings, which gave a certain stability and dignity to the city. The bay began to fill with the new clipper ships, which brought steadier crews and more rational cargoes than did the older clumsy ships now rotting at the docks. Secure wharfage, passable streets, an efficient fire department began to give a feeling of prosperity and permanence.

San Francisco was the stopping place of every corner and goer; the Egypt of the corn, the depot of supplies for the gold territory. Naturally, forces of good and evil streamed into the young city and came into collision. Strange new conditions were in the environment. The old primitive safeguards of the early mission era were outgrown. The population, representing every form of tradition and government, found itself removed from well nigh all restraints, all bolstering up of church and state. Each man of worth, while bent to his private task, had forced upon him the problem of helping to build up a social fabric and of holding it secure.

The Anglo-Saxon has an elastic genius for government. Wherever he goes, finding new conditions, he finds new ways for maintaining the public safety. The reaction of his spirit under the conditions about him in early California furnishes an interesting study in social dynamics.

By 1850, California was running under a State constitution and the city had a charter. The old stable forces of home, and school, and church, the Argonaut soon evolved about him. However, great freedom of action and opinion prevailed, and a tolerance of evil that well nigh blunted the distinctions between right and wrong. "Sydney coves," and other unruly spirits took advantage of this laxity. Abuses thickened, and anxious problems of public order were upon the young metropolis.

The affair of "The Hounds" was one of the organized outrages that confronted the municipality. A band of lawless ex-convicts, affiliated for mutual protection in evil designs, grew very obnoxious in their bold defiance of authority, their open and wanton outrages upon citizens, especially foreigners. The community, having no municipal organization, rose against the law breakers, put twenty on trial, and half of these into prison. This show of public indignation quieted the pack for a time. But there was no strong authority to conserve the public good. What was the concern of all found an executive in none.

Yet, finally, out of this sagging and sinking of the public order and its adjustment sprang the most spectacular popular uprising and the most notable object lesson in self government known to the West or perhaps to any other land, the Vigilance Committee of 1852-56. The occasion of this citizens' uprising was a series of unpunished crimes of arson, murder, rapine, and burglary. The perpetrators of these outrages, owing to lax administration of law by corrupt or careless officials, seemed immune from apprehension or punishment. The many fires that had devastated the infant city had without doubt been of incendiary origin. Over a hundred murders had occurred in a few months and not a single capital punishment had followed.

Feeling that this insecurity of life and property was intolerable, and fearing that it would draw down the perils and uncertainties of mob law, a party of prominent citizens, all above suspicion of self interest, organized a defensive league against the allied rabble. They determined to take the law into their own hands, and to administer it with equal and exact justice, with swiftness and finality.

The first and most exciting case handled by this extraordinary court of justice came swiftly to judgment. Upon the night of organization, in June, 1852, an ex-convict was seized in an act of theft. He was tried in the presence of eighty members sitting with closed doors; was convicted, sentenced, and hanged in Portsmouth Square that night. The general public, sensitive and suspicious, dreading mob tactics, was troubled at first by this summary show of power. But the. Committee came out with a complete list of its members, each member assuming equal share of responsibility, each avowing the public welfare as the only end in view, each pledging his life, his fortune, his honor, for the protection of his city and the upholding of the public safety. A profound impression was made by the manifesto of this self constituted protectorate. When it was found that no secret society, but, instead, a band of the solid men of the city was at the head of the movement, the community rallied to its support with enthusiasm. The Committee quietly kept at its work of investigation and punishment. Its calm, swift justice, its lack of personal bias, its righteous vengeance terrified evil doers. Many were banished by formal warning. Three other well known criminals were hanged. Crime rapidly diminished, and for the first time in years people began to feel secure in person and possessions. After thirty days the occupation of the Vigilance Committee was gone. It did not disband, but existed for years a merely nominal tribunal.

By 1854, the growth of San Francisco began to slacken. Inflation began its inevitable counter movement of collapse. The days of picking up gold were over. Immigration fell off. A large part of the city's population scattered, returning East, or going into the country to try life on ranch or range. Disorder increased; the old suppressed crimes leaped into evil eminence.

A new journal, The Bulletin, edited by James King, of William, assailed the rising corruption, political and personal, social and individual, public and private.

In 1856, without warning, King was shot down in the street by a man who had writhed under the torment of the Bulletin pens, an unscrupulous ex-convict, James Casey, a rival editor, and a man lately elected supervisor. This murder precipitated public opinion, and exploded the lazy optimism that had waited for things to right themselves. Casey was at once jailed, by chance escaping lynching. It was inevitable that heroic measures should be set in operation. And so there came about a second administration of the Vigilance Committee, this unique social providence, this people's protectorate. But this time it had before it not only the purging of the city's crime, but also a struggle with jealous and sluggish authority vested in city and State officials. In a few days 2500 men had enrolled as Vigilantes, and were drilling in arms, under their former trusted President, William T. Coleman. Meantime the Governor of the State was summoned by the Anti Vigilantes, representing chiefly the conservative office holders and the people affiliated in some way with the lawless element. These Anti Vigilantes came to be known in derision as the Law and Order Party. The Know Nothing Governor swayed first from one side to another. He had no power behind him, for the militia were deserting to the popular cause.

The Vigilantes took charge not only of Casey, but also of one Cora who had wantonly shot a United States marshal and had evaded punishment. After a dispassionate trial, with all form and ceremony, the two criminals were sentenced to death and hanged on the day of King's funeral. It may be worth remembering that this man Cora was defended in his first trial by the eloquent Col. E. D. Baker.

The Law and Order Party now insisted that the Vigilantes disband. But the Committee held that its purpose was not simply to deal out justice to murderers, but also to so clarify the social atmosphere as to make future assassinations punishable by law. Therefore it struck directly at city politics, banishing the openly vicious, and laying the way for a clean administration when the corrupt officials could be rotated out of office.

This Vigilance Committee drew a large following of citizens; but there was a continuous undercurrent of opposition. General Sherman, commander of the second division of the State militia, backed by the vacillating Governor and representing constitutional authority, was the leader of the opposition sentiment. In June, the Law and Order Party under him determined to rise against the Vigilantes. He appealed to General Wool, United States Commander in the Department, for arms, and also to Commodore Farragut at Mare Island. These commanders declined to interfere in State troubles without orders from the Government. Governor Johnson declared the city and county of San Francisco in a state of insurrection, and asked aid from Washington. General Sherman, finding himself powerless, resigned. Chief Justice Terry, an active opponent of the Committee, having come from Sacramento to enforce the law, now complicated matters by stabbing an officer of the Vigilantes. The Committee held him a prisoner but set him free when his victim recovered. After three months of life, after hanging in all four criminals, well known desperadoes, banishing many others, and paving the way for a purer administration of law, the Committee disbanded, leaving a small body to settle its affairs. The next election saw a full set of honest officials in power, and for twenty years San Francisco had the name of being one of the best governed cities in the world.

Looking back dispassionately, it appears that the Vigilance Committee had something of the dignity and purpose and procedure of the ancient court of the Areopagus. It was not like the extemporized Sanhedrim that tried Christ, a body which kept the appearance of justice but mocked the reality. It was not a masked band of regulators like the Ku Klux or the White Caps; but it was an irresistible rising of the best citizens in calm debate, in open daylight, with sobriety and decorum and every safeguard of justice. Unlike the anti Mafia of New Orleans, it put down the mob spirit, but did not engender it. Though acting outside of the constituted authorities, it had the severest reverence for law in the ideal. As President Coleman expressed it, the Committee did not act under lynch law, but under a sort of martial law that obtains in time of siege. Considering the daring wantonness of crime, the subsidized or terrorized condition of the courts of justice, and the immunity of criminals, law abiding citizens seem to have been justified in reverting to the elemental order of things, as is the man who attacks the thief in the night. But, of course, loyalty from the first to public interests instead of easy optimism and self absorption, would have held back the occasion for the heroic measures of the historic Committee. Men never learn, save through suffering, that the support of the common welfare is a sacred duty, and that this duty squares exactly with their highest private interests.

During all these years and long after, San Francisco suffered greatly from disputed land titles. Conflicting claims led to labyrinthine legislation, and increasing hardship, one crisis being the Squatter Riots.

The treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo had decreed that all property rights should be respected by the new government. So property rights founded on cloudy and ill understood laws and customs of Spain and Mexico had now to be adjudicated in the Californian courts. San Francisco was entangled in the mazes of two rival Spanish claims, embracing well nigh all her territory except the "made" land. There was much dispute as to whether or not the city had ever been made a pueblo proper. On this depended the holding or forfeiting of four square leagues of land. Though the city petitioned the Land Commission in 1852 for confirmation of her public grants, the controversy was pending through wearying legislation, with repeated surveys and delays and continual jeopardy of property, until finally settled by the decision of Secretary Lamar in 1887.

The decline of the gold output brought to the front the agricultural resources of the State, and San Francisco came to be the centre of distribution for wheat, wines, and fruits.

The Central Pacific Railroad was completedin 1867, with San Francisco as the Western terminus, and as by a magic stroke the city was only three thousand miles instead of nineteen thousand miles from Eastern markets. Since then three other transcontinental lines and numerous local lines have brought trade and travel into this emporium of the Pacific, while the ships of all nations fetch and carry through her Golden Gate.

The war of secession found California wavering between the Stars and Stripes and the Stars and Bars. A large Southern element, much to the front in politics, had maintained a strong Democratic influence in the State. The celebrated duel, just outside the city limits between Broderick and Terry, the Terry of Vigilance Committee memory, turned the tide toward Republicanism and sympathy for the North. The duel grew out of the Broderick and Gwin senatorial contest. Terry stood for Southern chivalry; Broderick stood for free labor and progressive politics. Not essentially great or noble, Broderick was made heroic by his tragic death. During war times he was a colossal figure in men's minds, and his anti slavery sentiments echoed through city and State, a slogan and a cleaving sword for freedom and the North.

In the '70's there sprang up in San Francisco a tremendous excitement over the silver mines on the Comstock Lode. The bonanza was estimated to be worth over fifteen hundred millions of dollars. True, this argent field was across the Sierras, in the State of Nevada. But most of the output found its way to San Francisco. The principal owners lived there, and San Francisco was the depot for Comstock supplies. The Stock Board operated there, and stocks bought for less than one hundred thousand dollars soared up to two hundred million. At the highest notch of prices the manipulators sold out, and the airy fabric of speculation fell with a crash. The banks had been emptied by speculators eager to buy stocks, and were greatly embarrassed. Myriads were swept into poverty, leaving immense fortunes in the hands of a few.

Soon after the Comstock collapse the Sand Lot agitation sprang into life. Over one hundred and fifty millions of dollars had been removed from circulation by the Comstock jugglery. The wealth of the outside world was temporarily diverted from the San Francisco markets. A great drought had been on the State, during two years and the lean kine had devoured the fat. Harvests were sparse or wholly lacking. Cattle perished beside the dry water courses. A large body of the outside unemployed had come to swell the tide of the city's drifting, workless ones. The railroad was threatening a reduction of wages to its thousands of men. Riots were on in Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Baltimore, and had sent contagion on the enforced idlers in San Francisco. Feeling long smouldering broke into fire against the Chinese and the railroad, two factors believed by the working men to be largely; instrumental in cheapening wages and robbing men of work. A mob gathered, threatening to rout out the Asiatics. The police could not disperse the rioters.

On July 24th there came a third call for the Vigilance Committee to assembled, which many thought an unnecessary and high handed summons. William T. Coleman was for a third time given charge: The Committee was to proceed upon lines followed in the '50's. But this time they were to co-operate with the authorities rather than to work in opposition. On July 25th, the mob, infuriated by the menace of the Committee and looking on it as a mere support of capitalistic interests, gathered about the Pacific Mail Dock, where immigrant Chinese were landed. The Committee, armed with pick handles, met the labor mob at the dock and a few men were killed. This ended the uprising. But the issue was soon thrust into politics. The anti Chinese believers gathered upon the sand lots in the neighborhood of the City Hall and organized the Working man's Party. It spread throughout the State. Dennis Kearny, an illiterate but rudely eloquent speaker, became the leader, the Wat Tyler of the hour. The movement ended in the adoption by the State of a new Constitution framed along progressive lines.

The people of San Francisco are of all kindreds and tongues. Buddha, Mahomet, and Confucius are prayed to beside the Christian temples. The Indians of the Mission have faded from the peninsula and the sombreroed Spaniard dashes no more from the Mission to the beach about his bull fights and bear baitings. But here are Anglo-Saxons, Teutons, Celts, Greeks, Slays, Latins, Hindus, Chinese, Kanakas, Japanese, and Chilenos, all mixing in the great crucible and slowly shaping a new type of man, the Western American. All seem to bed mixing, it should be explained, except the Chinese, for, after a quarter of a century of experience, San Francisco feels that her Chinese population is still an alien body and sure to remain so even to the third and fourth generation.

The problem of Chinese immigration has come up again and again in San Francisco. In 1869 the Chinese were invited and welcomed from China. In 1892, the Geary law was passed prohibiting the coming of any but the student class and providing for deportation under certain conditions. A generation grew up between this hail and farewell, China in the meantime pouring her tens of thousands of coolies into San Francisco. California welcomes any race that affiliates. But she has found that the Chinese race is not as the impressionable Indian or negro; but is an arrested race in the yoke of caste and ancient tradition, one looking with contempt upon upstart Anglo-Saxon civilization. The Chinese swarmed into a quarter of the city about Portsmouth Square, and have made there a small, evil smelling. Canton, where only a foreign tongue is spoken, and where strange gods are worshipped. Few have brought wives. Slave girls are the only women. Every Chinese prays to die in China, or to have his bones rot there. American law to most of them is but a pestilent thing to be evaded. They have no interest in the growth of the country or its institutions. They work for starvation wages, their living being extremely cheap, requiring only tea and rice and a bare shelf to sleep upon in a room crowded with such shelves. Being imitative, and as patient as cattle, and withal so cheap as hirelings, they have taken the places of women in the household and factory and the places of men and boys in the work of dock and shop and field. The assertion that this labor liberates the whites for higher work does not seem to be verified. Many trace the vicious "hoodlum" class of both sexes to the enforced idleness of these young people, springing from the iron competition of the Chinese in the labor market.

Notwithstanding all this, the little slant eyed men with their grotesque superstitions, their stiff, stark, unhomelike homes, add a quaintness and a touch of color to this romantic city. Gay placards of intense greens and vermilions flutter from their doorposts. Under the dull outer tunics of the elders gleam surtouts of gay brocades, while the few children, little faithful copies of their sires, all tricked out like the lanterns of the night, go toddling on tiny, rocking shoes through the narrow, dingy streets. The Chinese theatres, temples, and restaurants are full of the Oriental strangeness. The interiors of some of them are lacquered and varnished like huge tea boxes.

As one gets a strip of Cathay in Chinatown, so he may find a corner of Italy on the south slopes of Telegraph Hill. Here children, looking like the cherubs of their kinsmen, the old masters, swarm through steep narrow streets, upon curious little balconies, out of odd windows, or upon the steps of chapels.

The architecture of San Francisco is a medley of many schools. The buildings, especially the homes, are largely of wood; the recurring feature is the bay window that focuses the light and heat. To the newcomer they, all seem of the same color, for the fogs and winds soon reduce all hues to a fine, restful gray. In the beginning, by a curious irony, stone and lumber were shipped from the East and from Asia to this land of forests and granite to build some of the structures still holding their places against the pressure of time. In the newer buildings of the city there is some attempt to make the architecture express the function of the structure, the stability of the business house, the aspiration of the church, the simple security of the home. The new City Hall is an example of permanence and chaste elegance. The old mission architecture is being revived. This Spanish-Moorish adaptation is the most characteristic and harmonious development of Californian architecture. Built of the earth, the old mission piles seem almost as if not made by man, but nature. For they repeat in long stretches and low swells the contour of the hills about them, and give back their color tones of dun and tan and rusty red.

The year the new and greater name was given to the city, a misfortune fell upon the streets. Regardless of cliff and curve, ignoring height and hollow, the streets were laid out in undeviating straight lines. And so a city on fairer than Roman hills, with circling waterways more lovely than the curve of Constantinople's Golden Horn, was deformed as far as its high bearing could be hurt; was checkered by pitiless compass lines, when it might have had windings and slow curves and gentle slopes.

Market, the main street, runs lengthwise of the peninsula. Its intersection with Kearny is a nerve centre of the city, whence radiate three great streets. Near this spot are the main newspaper buildings and most of the large hotels. San Francisco's streets, unlike those of Sacramento and Los Angeles, are not lined with trees. But nearly every dooryard has its green place where tall geraniums, camelias, heliotropes, or fuchias fling out, the year round, their splashes of scarlet and purple.

The city boasts of one great park of a thousand acres, on the hills and ravines out by the sea. Central, Prospect, and Fairmount parks of the East fail beside the charm of this Arcadian Western park, probably the finest in North America. The trees of the world, from conifer to cactus, are here, and every flower that blooms. Beyond the park is the Cliff House, overhanging huge rocks, the reindezvous of gulls and seals and shy things of the water.

The old Portsmouth Square is dingy and draggled. It looks upon the scene of the executions of the Vigilantes and is full of memories for the chronicler. Its great charm now is the statue of Robert Louis Stevenson, who when in San Francisco, often sat there, studying the quaint, broken life about him. Another significant monument, poetic and historic presented to the city by Mayor James D. Phelan, stands before the new City Hall in honor of the Native Son of the Golden West.

It is doubtless only a question of time when expanding San Francisco will absorb the cities an hour's ride across the Bay, Oakland, Berkeley, and Alameda, the homes now of many of San Francisco's business men.

The University of California at Berkeley draws its largest clientele from San Francisco. By the benefactions of the widow of Senator Hearst of San Francisco, this university has under way a housing perhaps the most spacious and symmetrical in the world. The structure, to cost nearly five million dollars, follows a plan chosen by experts from designs submitted after a world competition, and will crown a long hill slope, looking down on San Francisco City and Bay and out toward sleeping Asia. The allied professional colleges of the University are already in San Francisco. Its art department is in the fine old mansion of Hopkins, the railroad builder, on California Street, the home street of millionaires. A school of mechanic arts, endowed by the pioneer, James Lick, who gave the great astronomical observatory to the State University, is also under way in San Francisco.

Another university drawing its student body largely from San Francisco is an hour or more down the peninsula from the city, the Leland Stanford, Jr., founded by Jane and Leland Stanford and wife, of San Francisco. This university, by the way, is built, after the old mission plan of one story buildings, about an inner court, with arcades and Roman towers and tiled roof.

The city has three great working libraries, the Public, the Mercantile, and the Mechanics' Institute. Adolph Sutro, the late owner of about one tenth of the territory of San Francisco City and County, whose fine grounds out by the Cliff House have long been open to the public, left a unique collection of two hundred thousand pamphlets and volumes of rare worth, gathered for the public use. The Bancroft Library is phenomenal in that it has cornered all the original material for the history of the far West. Those myriads of manuscripts, pamphlets, and books have been indexed by experts and the library is a sort of Vatican for California.

The Bohemian Club of San Francisco, a comradery of litterateurs, artists, and lovers of the arts, is a unique expression of the aesthetics individuality of the city, and is one of its strong social forces.

San Francisco has perhaps no famous name that dominates the city as Franklin dominates Philadelphia; as Beecher, Brooklyn; as Carnegie, Pittsburg. But if great hearted Thomas Starr King had lived longer, he might have been its crowning personality as he is now its most sainted memory. His inflexible loyalty and impassioned eloquence made him at the outbreak of the Civil War a commanding figure, if not the leading citizen of California.

Though only fifty years old, San Francisco has given to literature and art a few names that the world will not willingly let die. For forty years Joaquin Miller, the "Poet of the Sierras," has been a friend and neighbor of her hills and waters, telling in noble numbers the glories and the terrors of the strange new land "by the sun down seas." Here Bret Harte founded the Overland Monthly and with "The Luck of Roaring Camp" began his creation of Californian characters. What matters it if they never exipages, those of his pages, those drinking, dirking dare devils, those tenor voiced, soulful eyed gamblers, striking sorrow to the hearts of ladies? For, touched by his genius, they exist for us there, in perennial charm and invitation.

Here, too, Henry George wrote his Pro ress and Poverty, a book that was a prophetcry heard round the world, declaring that every man has a right to a foothold on the earth. Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Charles Warren Stoddard, John Vance Cheney, Charlotte Perkin Gilman, Kate Douglas Wiggin, a n d Gertrude Atherton did here a deal of their early literary work,(1) but now have wandered away into the world, leaving behind them, however, a goodly group of critics, story writers, and poets; painters, also, William Keith and the rest, who have caught into splendid captivity some of the immensities and radiances about them.

This is but an abstract and brief chronicle of the great city at the Western gate of the world. There she sits, the ultimate outpost of the passion of progress. Sleepless unrest, forever urging the peoples westward, land by land, now, at the end of centuries, begins to surge and thunder on the shores of Balboa's Sea. But this end is only a beginning - this great city is only the first of a chain of cities fated, under the star of empire, to spring into life on these circling shores, making the Pacific at last the greater Mediterranean of mankind.

1) The reader will yet more vividly recall that The Man with the Hoe came out of San Francisco and will heartily approve the editor's selection of Mr. Markham to contribute this chapter to the volume. EDITOR.


[Also see the early California biographies and San Francisco Biographies]

Historic towns of the Western States

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