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Scenes of Wonder and Curiosity in California (1862) by James M. Hutchings

SOUTH VIEW OF FORT POINT AND THE GOLDEN GATE. From a Photograph by Hamilton & Co.
From a Photograph by Hamilton & Co.

“’Tis a dull thing to travel like a mill-horse.”

Queen of Corinth.


Out of a population exceeding seventy thousand persons—the number estimated to be in San Francisco at the present time—it is to be expected that for health, change, business, or recreation, a large proportion, at convenient seasons, will make a flying visit to localities of interest that can be easily and cheaply reached, beyond the suburbs of the city. Of these, one of the most interesting and pleasant, is that from San Francisco by the Mission Dolores, to the Ocean House and Seal Rock, returning by Fort Point and the Presidio. Upon this interesting jaunt, we hope to have the pleasure of the reader’s company; for it is almost always more agreeable to visit such scenes in good companionship, than to go alone.

As these places are visited by all classes of persons, whose means and tastes widely differ, it is not for us to say whether it is better to go on horseback, or in a buggy; by a public omnibus, or a private carriage; or on that very primitive, somewhat independent, but not always the most popular conveyance, technically termed “going a-foot.” We must confess, however, that inasmuch as our physical and mental organization are both capable of enduring a large amount of comfort, as well as pleasure, our predilections decidedly incline to the former. Yet, to those who, to be suited, would choose even the latter, we can most conscientiously affirm that “we have no objection!” This point, then, being duly conceded, with the reader’s consent, we will set out at once on our jaunt, each one by the conveyance that pleases him best.

Let us thread our way among the numerous vehicles and foot-passengers; that crowd the various thoroughfares of the city, to Third street, at which point we can take one of three routes to the Mission Dolores; namely—by the Old Mission road, Folsom street, or Brannan street. The Old Mission road, as its name would indicate, was the first made road to that point; although in 1849 and 1850, we had to thread our way among the low sand hills, and comes little valleys, by a very circuitous and laborious route. In 1851, this road was surveyed, graded, and planked; but, as the planks wore rapidly away, it was found very expensive to keep it in repair. It has recently been macadamized nearly its entire length, and now is almost as good as the far-famed Shell road, between New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. It is difficult to give the actual amount of travel on either of these roads, as much is regulated by the state of the weather; yet the following will give an approximate. estimate:—

On the Old Mission road, an omnibus passes and repasses fourteen times daily, with from one to thirty passengers, and will average twelve, each way; leaving the Plaza on the even hour, from seven o’clock A. M., to eight o’clock P. M.. The San Josť stage, which leaves the, Plaza at eight o’clock A. M., passes and repasses daily; the Overland Mail stage, via Los Angeles, starts from the Plaza every Monday and Friday, at noon, returning on the same day; Dorlin’s express runs twice a day to the Mission and back; in addition to these, there are about five water carts, ten milk, twelve meat, eighteen bread, forty vegetable, and from twenty to thirty express, or parcel wagons, daily. On one day, we counted thirty-four horsemen, sixty-six double horse, and one hundred and seventy-seven single horse vehicles, such as carriages, buggies, sulkies, etc., in addition to those above mentioned.

On the Folsom street plank road, an omnibus passes and repasses twelve times daily, with an average of twelve passengers each way, leaving the Plaza on the half hour. There are also forty milk, twenty vegetable, twenty lumber, liquor, bread, and meat wagons, of single and double horse; and about eighty buggies, single and double; besides foot passengers. On Sundays, no less than forty omnibuses, and from one hundred and fifty to two hundred buggies, pass and repass, besides from one thousand to three thousand people, a large proportion of whom are bound for Russ’ Gardens.

With this preliminary explanation, and the reader’s consent, as we cannot very conveniently journey together on both roads, we will take that which, of the two, is rather the most pleasant— namely, the Folsom street. The sides of this road, like those of the other, are adorned with private residences, and well cultivated gardens and nurseries; among the latter, the first which attracts the traveller’s attention, is the “Golden Gate Nursery;” then the “United States;” then “Sonntag’s;” and at the comer of Folsom and Centre, the “Commercial Nursery.” But, after passing the former of these, and before arriving at the latter, a large building to the south attracts our attention; that is the French Hospital. Next is the celebrated “Russ’ Gardens,” a popular place of resort for Germans, especially on Sundays.


Here let us digress for a moment, to relate a somewhat amusing conversation that took place on California street, between the servant of a friend and a German woman, whose husband makes a comfortable living by mending boots and shoes in a little wooden house on the sidewalk.

German woman to Irish servant:

“Bridget, why don’t you get married, and live in a comfortable house of your own?”

“Faith, and I don’t see that ye’s very comforthable yesself, for ye’s slaving yesself from Monthay marning until Sathurday nite, washing clothes for other peoples, while yet husban’ is mendin’ boots and shoes, in that box on the sidewalk.”

“O, yes, but what of that; you know we must all work for a living; and, besides, I and my husband are very happy the whole of the week, for if I wash clothes, and he mends old boots and shoes, from Monday morning until Saturday night, we always go to Russ’ Gardens on Sundays!

Now, if this does not preach a sermon on contentment, it is of no use our trying. So we may as well pass on to say, that the next object that attracts our attention, is the black volumes of smoke that roll from the chimney-top of the


This establishment belongs to an incorporated company, half of the stock in which is owned in San Francisco, and half in the East. The works are located half way between San Francisco and the Mission on a piece of ground three acres in extent.

The buildings are of brick, built in a massive style, seventy-six feet front, one hundred and twenty feet deep, part four stories and basement, and part two stories and basement, with an engine house twenty by thirty feet; a bone-black factory, twenty-two by forty feet, and two stories high; a steam cooperage, twenty by one hundred feet, and boarding house for hands detached. All the smoke from the various furnaces is conducted by underground flues, large enough to admit a man through them, to a detached shaft or chimney, ninety feet high, fourteen feet square at the base, and five feet at the top, also of brick.

A line of clipper barks, of from four hundred and fifty to eight hundred tons, are employed by the company, to run between Batavia and Manilla and this port, for the purpose of importing raw sugars, of the brown grades, used by refiners, which is made into loaf, crushed, coffee-crushed, granulated, and powdered sugars, such as we currently used in the market.

The consumption of articles by this establishment, when working up to its capacity, is as follows, per annum: four thousand tons raw sugar, sixteen hundred tons of coal, four hundred tons of bones, for making ivory or bone-black for filtering, one million one hundred thousand staves, one million hoops, two hundred thousand heads for packages (barrels and kegs). The works employ sixty men in-doors, and directly and indirectly, in the getting of staves, hoops, heads, making barrels, freighting, teaming, etc., about seventy-five to eighty more—making about a hundred and fifty hands for whom employment is found in the State, in the refining and proper preparation of an article of home consumption.

The processes used in this establishment are of the newest and most improved kind. We cannot pretend to give a precise account of this interesting manufacture, but, in general terms, the process is as follows:

The raw sugar is emptied into three large iron vats, of the capacity of about three thousand gallons, in which it is boiled by steam. Various clarifying ingredients are added, and the boiling mass is brought to a proper point of liquidity, denoted by certain delicate instruments, called saccharometers. It is then run off through various strainers, and finally forced by a steam pump through fabrics of thick canvas, set in massive iron boxes. From these it issues bright and clear.

It is then ran through four huge iron vats, each of which holds fifty to sixty barrels of ivory-black, in a granulated state, from which, after twenty-four hours, it issues, being of a pale amber color, perfectly pellucid.

The liquid sugar thus clarified is conducted through pipes to an instrument called the vacuum pan, out of which all the air is pumped, and in this it is boiled, in vacuo, until it commences to crystallize.

Subsequently, it is poured into iron cones inverted, each holding about five gallons, of which the establishment is supplied with several thousands. In these, the process of crystallization is suffered to progress to a certain point, after which, the cones (or moulds) and their contents are hoisted into draining-rooms, where, exposed to a high temperature, they drain off the syrup from the crystallized sugar. In this room the crystallized sugar is further bleached, until it assumes the requisite whiteness of the kind of refined sugar intended. After which, the sugar, now being firmly set, white, and partially hard, is removed to the oven, a structure capable of containing one hundred and seventy tons of sugar-loaves, and there dried or baked.

It is then brought down into the mill-room, where there are four mills for preparing various kinds of sugar.

There are also centrifugal machines in process of erection, for preparing sugars of lower grade than loaf or crushed. These mills revolve with an enormous speed, the outer circumference travelling at the rate of twelve thousand feet per minute. The syrups are parted from the crystals by the rapid centrifugal motion, and forced through the fine wire gauze which forms the outer circumference of the machine. Each of these machines will prepare two tons of sugar daily.

Besides the internal works, the manufactories attached for making barrels and ivory-black are interesting, but not of a nature to be explained easily by a non-professional writer.

On the premises are two fine artesian wells, giving the purest water, of which seventy to eighty thousand gallons per day are used in the establishment.

The cost of the works exceeded one hundred thousand dollars.

But we must now pass on, and as quickly as possible, for two reasons: reason first, the hog-ranches by the road-side are not as fragrant as the roses in Sonntag’s nursery; reason second will appear when we arrive at Centre street. Turn to the right, crossing

From a Photograph by Hamilton & Co.
the bridge over Mission Creek, and, on the new San Bruno turnpike, obtain a general view of the Mission.

The beautiful green hills and pretty private residences that here dot the landscape, with the fine nurseries in the foreground, will explain why the Mission Fathers chose this fertile and well-watered valley in preference to the bleak and comparatively barren lagoon, for their semi-religious and semi-philanthropic object, and will offer some apology for its possession by another race after the former had passed away.

In the hollow, some three hundred yards below the Nightingale Hotel, is the Willows, a shady retreat for pleasure seekers and parties, from which spot lot us new go at once co the Mission.


Now we have arrived at the quaint, old-fashioned, tile-covered adobe church, and buildings attached, part of which is still in use by the Mission, and a part is converted into saloons and a store. This edifice was erected in 1775-6, and was completed and dedicated, August 1st, 1776, and was formerly called San Francisco, in honor of the patron saint, Saint Francis, the name given to the bay by its discoverer, Junipero Serro, in October, 1769.

THE OLD MISSION CHURCH AND OUTBUILDINGS. From a Photograph by Hamilton & Co.
From a Photograph by Hamilton & Co.
While the church buildings were in course of erection, the Fathers had great difficulty in keeping the Indians, who performed most of the labor, at work. The earthy clay, of which the adobes were made, had to be prepared by them, and after water had been thrown upon it, they would jump in and trample it with their feet, but soon growing tired, would keep working only so long as the Fathers kept singing.

The visitor will notice a number of old adobe buildings scattered here and there, in different directions; these were erected for the use of the Indians, one part being used for boys, and the other for girls and in which they resided until they were about seventeen years of age, when they were allowed to marry, after which other apartments were assigned them, more in accordance with their condition.

As late as 1849 there were two large boilers in the buildings back of the church; and as meat was almost the only article of food, an ox was killed and boiled, wholesale, at which time the Indians would gather around and eat until they were satisfied. Of course, most of our readers are aware that Catholics are not allowed to eat meat on Friday, but, owing to this being the only article of diet to the Indians and native Californians around the Mission, they were not required to abstain from it, even on that day.

According to Mr. Forbes, a very careful and accurate writer, who published a work in 1835, entitled the “History of Lower and Upper California,” the number of black cattle belonging to this Mission in 1831, was five thousand six hundred and ten; horses, four hundred and seventy; mules, forty; while only two hundred and thirty-three fanegas (a fanega is about two and a half bushels) of wheat, seventy of Indian corn, and forty of small beans, were raised altogether. At that time, however, the Missions had lost much of their former glory; for, in 1825, only six years before, that of Dolores, alone, is said to have had seventy-six thousand head of cattle, nine hundred and fifty tame horses, two thousand breeding mares, eighty-four stud of choice breed, eight hundred and twenty mules, seventy nine thousand sheep, two thousand hogs, and four hundred and fifty-six yoke of working oxen; and raised eighteen thousand bushels of wheat and barley. Besides, in 1802, according to Baron Humboldt, there were of males, in this Mission, four hundred and thirty-three; of females, three hundred and eighty-one; total, eight hundred and fourteen. And yet, according to Mr. Forbes, in 1831, there were but one hundred and twenty-four males, and eighty-five females; and now, there are—none. Truly, “the glory has departed.”

At that time, the Indians and native Californians, for many miles around, would congregate at the Mission Dolores, about three times a year, bringing with them cattle enough to kill while they remained, which was generally about a week, and have a good holiday time with each other.

Before the discovery of gold, it was the custom here to keep a tabular record of all the men, women, and children; members of the church; marriages, births, and deaths; the number of live stock; and amounts of produce, in all their business details; but, since then, every thing has changed for the worse. Even the lands devoted to, and set apart for, the use of the Mission, have, nearly all, been squatted upon, so that now but a few hundred varas remain intact; and, as to where the stock of all kinds have gone, “deponent saith not.”

One feels quite a pleasurable curiosity in examining the old Spanish manuscript books, still extant at this Mission, and looking upon their sheepskin covered lids and buckskin clasps. Besides these, there are about six hundred printed volumes, in Spanish, on religious subjects; but, being in a foreign language, they are seldom or never read.

At the present time, the only uses to which this Mission is devoted is to give public instruction in the Catholic religion, the education of some seventeen pupils, the burial of the dead, and an occasional marriage. Of the last named, about eighteen have taken place within the past four years.

The great point of attraction here to visitors from the city, is its quiet green graveyard, which, but for its being so negligently tended, and slovenly kept, would be one of the prettiest places near the city of San Francisco.

In this last peaceful home, from June 1st, 1858, to May 20th, 1859, the following will show how many have been laid: June (1858), fifty-two; July, sixty-seven; August, fifty-five; September, fifty-five; October, sixty-five; November, fifty-seven; December, fifty-six; January (1869), thirty-five; February, forty-five; March, thirty-eight; April, thirty-three; May, up to the 20th, twenty-eight.

It seems as though we could never weary in looking upon these interesting scenes; but as we have further to go, and, we trust, many more to look upon, let us again set out on our jaunt and visit this spot again at our leisure.

Between the Mission Delores and the Ocean House there us no objects of striking interest, except, perhaps, the San Francisco Industrial School, recently erected for the benefit of depraved juveniles, situated near the top of the ridge we are gently ascending, about six miles from the city and three from the ocean.



“This institution, designed for the reformation and care of idle and dissolute children, as also those convicted of crime, was established by an act of the Legislature, passed April 15th, 1858. It provided that the necessary funds for the erection of the buildings should be raised by an enrolment of life and annual members, and when a fund of ten thousand dollars had been so realized, then the Board of Supervisors were directed to appropriate the sum of twenty thousand dollars from the city treasury toward that object. The act also provided that, upon the organization of the school, a further appropriation of one thousand dollars per month should be made by the Board of Supervisors for the care and maintenance of the children and the salaries of its officers.

“So deeply impressed were our citizens with the urgent necessity of such an institution, that sixty life-members and four hundred and thirty-three annual and contributing members enrolled themselves at once; and the sum of ten thousand eight hundred and fifty dollars having been raised in that way, the appropriation by the city was made, thus placing thirty thousand eight hundred and fifty dollars at the disposal of the Board.

“The act fixed the number of managers at seventeen; fourteen of them to be elected by the members of the department, and the other three to be appointed by the Board of Supervisors from their own body. The officers of the department and the chief officers of the school are made amenable to the general laws of the State relating to misdemeanor in office; and the secretary, treasurer, and superintendent, and his deputy, are required to enter into bonds for the faithful discharge of their duty. By these wise provisions, the institution is invested with many of the useful features of private charity, while, as a branch of the municipal government, its affairs and the conduct of its officers are subjected to public scrutiny.

“Upon the election of the Board, steps were at once taken to select a proper site for the institution. In this some difficulty was experienced, but finally the Board determined to adopt the lot purchased some years ago by the city for a House of Refuge. The tract contains one hundred acres, most of it good, arable land, and lies about five and a half miles to the south of the city, on the San Josť road. The produce of this land will supply the house, and, perhaps, in time, yield some income. The building is placed near the middle of the tract, on a gentle slope toward the east, and commands a charming view of the surrounding country. On three sides the elevated hills, at a distance of three or four miles, surround it in a graceful curve, while, directly in front, lie the broad expanse of the bay, and the well-defined Coast Range, with its towering peak of Monte Diablo.

“In adopting a plan, the Board had before them descriptions of numerous buildings intended for the same purpose in other cities, and they selected that one which experience had shown to be fittest in every respect. The designs were drawn under instructions from the Board, and the contract was awarded for the erection of a centre building and one wing, at the sum of twenty-three thousand dollars. In consequence of the continued rains of the past winter, the buildings were not finished as soon as the Board had hoped for, but the slower progress has resulted in the better work. The building is Roman in architecture, and constructed of stone in the basement, and brick in the other stories. The centre building is forty-five feet by fifty-seven feet, and consists of two stories and a basement. The height, from the ground line to top the cornice, is thirty-eight feet, and to the top of the bell-tower, fifty-six feet. The basement story is ten feet high, and contains the officer’ dining-room, the kitchen, four closets, two store-rooms, two servants’ rooms, and halls eight and ten feet wide, extending through the building. The principal story is fourteen feet in height, and contains two rooms sixteen feet by twenty feet; two, fifteen feet by twenty feet; two, seven feet by fifteen feet; a front hall eight feet wide, and a back hall ten feet wide, in which latter is placed the stairs. A transverse hall, five feet four inches wide, leads to the wings. This story is devoted to the officers of the institution.

“The second story is twelve feet in height, and is intended for the apartments of the superintendent and other resident officers, and contains a bath-room and the necessary closets. The plan contemplates two wings of similar design and finish. The southern, however, is the only one yet built. The height of the wings is twenty-nine feet from the ground line to the top of the cornice. The extreme southern part of the wings is twenty-three feet by fifty-nine feet; and two stories high. The first story, fourteen feet high, contains the dining-room of the pupils, twenty-one feet by thirty-three feet; poetry, washing-room, and water-closets for the pupils. The second story of this part of the wing is twelve feet high, and contains the hospital wards, bath-rooms, etc. That part of the wing connecting the southern part, just described, with the main building, is one story high, with six windows on each side, extending the full height of the wing. In the interior of this stands the dormitory portion, built of brick, eighteen feet by fifty-one feet six inches, three stories high, and each story containing sixteen dormitories, which are five feet six inches by seven feet six inches. The dormitories face outward toward the walls of the building. A corridor fourteen feet wide, and open to the roof, surrounds the dormitories, which, on the second and third floors, open upon galleries protected by iron railings. The dormitories are ventilated through the doors and the roof, and each gallery is connected with a wash-room and water-closets. The galleries are approached by the staircases at each end.

“The institution was inaugurated on the 17th of May, 1858, with appropriate religious services, by the Rev. Doctor Anderson, and an address by Colonel J. B. Crockett.”

The above history and description of the Industrial School, for the city and county of San Francisco, from the report of the first Board of Managers, will show how this institution came to have “a local habitation and a name.”

A few days ago, in order to inspect the building to ascertain the working of the system employed, and the present condition of an institution established from motives so purely philanthropical, and so glowingly inaugurated, we paid it a visit, and regret to say that we were somewhat disappointed. The situation is excellent; the building, externally, is prepossessing; and some of its internal arrangements are admirably adapted to the noble aim and end of its generous founders; but after passing into the sleeping quarters of the boys, and looking at the iron-barred windows, and the little brick cells with small iron gratings in the doors, the first impression was, “This is more like a prison than an ‘Industrial School.’” It is true, that several of the youthful inmates have sought to make their little cells as inviting as possible by pasting engravings from the illustrated papers on the wall—and even these, on the morning of the day of our visit, some crusty and self-important personage of the old fogy school requested that “them things” should be “torn down.”

The antiquated and exploded idea of “ruling with a rod of iron” seems, unfortunately, to have found its way into this institution; and all the angel arts and elevating tendencies of such agencies as taste, refinement, physical and mental amusement, mechanical conception and employment, and a thousand other progressive influences, with all their happy effects, are, as yet, excluded.

At half past five o’clock A. M. they are called up, and from that time to half past six, they are preparing for breakfast; immediately after that meal is over, they are taken out to work—not at any light mechanical business, forsooth, but to use a pick and shovel in grading the hill at the back of the building; such labor that is not only much too heavy for their strength, but in which a couple of Irishmen would do more in half a day than the entire corps of twenty-two boys (the present number in this institution) could perform in a whole week. At noon, dinner is served up; from one o’clock to half past two, they are employed at picking and shovelling, same as in the morning; at three o’clock, they go to school until half past five; supper is given at six; at seven o’clock, they again go to school until half past eight; and at nine they are sent to bed.

There are also a few girls here, who are allowed to perform any kind of employment in accordance with their tastes and wishes, under the supervision of the matron.

Now we ask—and we do it anxiously and with the kindest and most respectful feeling—“How is it possible that, with such a routine of daily employment, they can possibly be improved in morals, which is the great and laudable aim of the founders of the institution?” There is no gymnasium; no workshop; no suitable play ground—so that now they are all huddled together in the basement story, in front of their cells, dining the little time allowed them for leisure. Indeed, they are made to feel by far too much that they are juvenile prisoners, rather than boys and girls who are placed there, by a generous public, for their physical, mental, and moral improvement. This should not be, and we earnestly commend the subject to the careful investigation of the Board of Managers.


Upon reaching the top of the ridge, near the Industrial School, you perceive that we get a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean; and shortly afterward find ourselves comfortably seated in one of the parlors of the Ocean House, where, while our animals are resting, let us say that this house is about eight and one-fourth miles from San Francisco, and was erected in 1855 by Messrs. Lovett and Green. If report speaks the truth, they were just beginning to reap the reward of their labors, when they were cheated out of it.


From this point, we have a commanding view of the surrounding country. The hill in front of us, and at the back of the Industrial School, contains a quarry of the finest of sandstone, and which, were there but a railroad upon which to convey it to the city, could be delivered there at from two to three dollars per ton. South is the Lake House, and Rockaway House, at the east end of Lake Merced, but the latter is now used only as a private residence. From this point, too, an excellent view of the ocean is obtained, where the ships and steamers are plainly visible.

One would scarcely suppose that here where the winds sweep over the lands with such fury, stock of all kinds flourish better than in many of the favored inland valleys; yet such is the fact, for, owing to the dense masses of heavy fog-clouds that roll in from the ocean, the verdure is perpetual, while, in other localities, it is parched up. The gardens, around, produce from fifty-five to one hundred sacks of potatoes to the acre, although the soil is very light and sandy. Besides, vegetables are taken to the San Francisco market, from this section, at an earlier time than from that of my other part of the State.


About two miles north of the Ocean House is a lake, known as the Laguna Honda, at which a distressing accident occurred in 1855, as the reader will call to memory, when two ladies and their two children were all drowned together, under the following circumstances. In the back part of a carriage, built in the rockaway style, were seated Mrs. Openheimer and Mrs. Urzney, each lady holding a child. On the front seat, were two servants, a man and woman, the former of whom was driving. Having taken the road up the Rock House ravine, instead of that to the Ocean House, they arrived at the edge of the lake, above named, and the road not being wide enough to admit their carriage, they drove into the water a little, on the edge of the lake. They could have passed here in safety, but, unfortunately, the wheel struck a stump, and by some unexplainable means, the horse was thrown round, and he fell into deep water, when the carriage was immediately turned upside down, and the forepart, striking the water, was forced down upon the two ladies and their children, shutting them completely in, and they sunk to rise no more. The servants, being left free, in the front of the carriage, succeeded in reaching the shore, and were saved.


Snugly ensconced beneath the hill, about half a mile from the Ocean House, and within a quarter of a mile of the sea, is the Beach House. This was first built on the shore, near the edge of a small lake that we pass, but the high tides flowing in, washed away its foundations, and compelled the alternative of their removing it at once, or of allowing the sea to do it for them; and as the owners considered themselves the best carpenters of the two, they undertook, and succeeded in, the task—but here we are, on the beach.


There is a never-ceasing pleasure to a refined mind, in looking upon, or listening to, the hoarse, murmuring roar of the sea; an unexplainable charm in the music of its waves, us, with a seething sound, they curl and gently break upon a sandy shore, during a calm; or dash in all their majesty and fury, with thundering voices, upon the unheeding rocks in a storm. This is sublimity. Besides, every shell, and pebble, and marine plant, from the smallest fragment of sea-moss to the largest weed that germinates within the caverns of the deep, has an architectural perfection and beauty, that ever attracts the wondering admiration of the thoughtful. Yet we must not now linger hem, or night will overtake as.

This beach extends continuously from Seal Rock to Muscle Rock, about seven miles. Near the last-named place is a soda spring, and several veins of bituminous coal, to obtain which, shafts have been sunk to the depth of one hundred and twenty-four feet, in which the coal was found to grow better as they descended; but, like many similar enterprises, when means to work it failed, it

was abandoned. Other minerals are also found in this chain of hills.

Having had our ride along the beach as far as Seal Rock, and watched the movements and listened to the loud shrill voices of the sea-lions, let us drive up the sand-bank south of the old Seal Rock House (now tenantless), and we shall find the road to the Fort, as sandy and as heavy as we could desire it; yet, with the consolation that we can endure it, if the horses are able, until we reach


When this was first taken and occupied by American troops, belonging to Colonel Stephenson’s battalion, under Major Hardie, in March, 1847, they found a circular battery of ten iron guns, sixteen-pounders, mounted upon the hill, just above the present works, and which was allowed to remain, until a better one was ready to occupy its place.

The present beautiful and substantial structure was commenced in 1854, and is now nearly completed, It is four tiers in height the topmost of which is sixty-four feet above low tide; and is capable of mounting one hundred and fifty guns, including the battery at the back, of forty-two, sixty-four, and one hundred and twenty-eight-pounders; and, during an engagement, can accommodate two thousand four hundred men, There have been appropriations made, including the last, of one million eight hundred thousand dollars. The greatest number of men employed at any one time, was two hundred; now there are about eighty.

The Lighthouse, adjoining the Fort, can be seen for from ten to twelve miles, and is an important addition to the mercantile interests of California, although we regret to say the lantern, known as the “Freznel Light,” is only of the fifth order, and is the smallest on the coast; it is fifty-two feet above level. Two men are employed to attend it. Connected with this is a fog bell, weighing one thousand one hundred pounds, and worked by machinery, that strikes every ten seconds for five taps—then has an intermission of thirty-four seconds, and recommences the ten-second strike. This is kept constantly running, during foggy weather.

In the small bay south of the Fort, have been two wrecks: the Chateau Palmer, May 1st, 1856 and the General Cushing, October 9th, 1858; both outward bound, and partially freighted.

Between Fort Point and (the celebrated political hobby) Lime point, is the world-famed Golden Gate, or entrance to the Bay of San Francisco. This is one mile and seventeen yards wide. The tide here varies about seven feet.

From this interesting spot, and on our way to the city, we pass


From a Photograph by Hamilton & Co.

This is a military post, that was established shortly after the arrival of the first missionaries, mainly for their protection; it was originally occupied by Spanish troops, and afterward by Mexican, until March, 1847, when it was taken by the United States, at which time the whole force of the enemy was a single corporal. At this time also, there were two old Spanish brass field-pieces found here, and two more near the beach, about where the end of Battery street, San Francisco, now is, and from which that street derived its name.

The original buildings were constructed in a quadrangular form; these having fallen into decay, but three remain, two of which at the present time are used as store-rooms. At the close of the war, this post was occupied by a company of dragoons, who where relieved by a company of the 3d Artillery, under Captain Keyes, who kept it continuously for ten years. Its present garrism consists of two companies of the 6th Infantry, numbering about 180 officers and men.

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