In 1847, San Francisco only had a population of about 800. However in 1848 a man named James Marshall discovered gold. News of the find reached New York in December 1848. As a result people went to San Francisco in their thousands and the population boomed. In 1849, the population of San Francisco reached 25,000.
On 4 May 1851, San Francisco was devastated by a fire. It was soon rebuilt. San Francisco waterworks began in 1857.
After the gold boom was ending in 1953, Henry Comstock discovered silver in 1959. Unlike gold, the silver required expensive equipment to extract so a number of ‘silver barons’ were the main beneficiaries. Meanwhile businessmen dreamed of a trans-continental railroad. It was completed in 1869.
During the late 19th century, San Francisco continued to develop. The first cable car service began in Clay Street in 1873. Meanwhile in 1870, San Francisco had a population of almost 150,000. And by 1900, its population was over 300,000.
Take a look at these amazing photos from dougsf to see what San Francisco looked like in the 19th century.
|Market Street at Third, looking east, Palace Hotel on the right|
|Cable cars and car barn of the California Street Railroad, looking west from the corner of Larkin Street|
|California Street form Sansome Street, looking up to Nob Hill|
|California Street from Montgomery Street, looking west|
|Chinatown street scenes|