San Francisco History


Historical Sketch (1862)


Historical and Statistical Review of San Francisco
San Francisco Directory
Henry G. Langley, Editor
September 1862
Historical Sketch of California Fort Point, the Golden Gate and the Bay The Pueblo Lands
Annals of San Francisco Yerba Buena Island Annual Municipal Expenditure
View of the City Alcatraces Island Topography, Taxation and Assessments
The Mission and the Presidio Los Farallones de los Frayles

Historical Sketch of California

As an account of the Metropolis of California would be incomplete without some allusion to the history of the country, it may, therefore, be expedient to give of it, a rapid sketch in this place. Half a century after the discovery of America by Columbus, JUAN RODRIGUEZ CABRILLO, a Portuguese by birth, in the service of Spain, discovered Upper California, having landed at San Diego in September, 1542. On the death of Cabrillo, the voyage was continued by his Pilot and Lieutenant, Bartolome Ferrelo, who made a survey of the coast, during which, the entrance to the Bay of San Francisco is supposed to have been seen by him, when he discovered what he considered to be the mouth of a great river; there is a probability, therefore, that he was the first European who beheld the Golden Gate. In 1579, Sir Francis Drake visited the coast, having landed a few miles to the northward of San Francisco, at a Bay which still bears his name; being ignorant of Cabrillo’s prior discovery, he called the place New Albion. Francisco Vila landed here in 1582, and Juan De Fuca in 1595. In 1596, Sebastian Vizcayno—a famous Spanish navigator—established a military post at Santa Cruz; the astronomical position determined by him in 1603, was the only nautical authority for this coast during the subsequent 160 years.

However, the permanent settlement of California did not commence till almost the close of the third quarter of the last century, after which 4 Presidios and 21 Missions were founded (A.D., 1769 to 1822) with the view of civilizing the natives through the peaceful influences of Christianity. In this the Monks labored with patient energy and devoted zeal, and California continued tranquil for upwards of 60 years; the Fathers increasing the number of their converts, which at one period amounted to 20,000. Indeed the settlement of the country has been felicitiously termed a “spiritual conquest.”

With the commencement of the present century, accounts of earthquakes make their first appearance in our local archives. In October, 1800 the Mission of San Juan Bautista was visited by six severe shocks in day. The next mention comes nearer  home—the Presidio of San Francisco having experienced 21 shocks between the 21st of June and 17th of July, 1808, and the church of San Juan Capistrano was destroyed by a violent earthquake four years afterward, when 41 Indians perished in the ruins. In 1829 and 1839 several severe shocks were again experienced in San Francisco.

In 1872 the Russians formed a settlement at Bodega, which they maintained for thirty years. In 1822 California became a Mexican Territory, on the separation of all the Americas from Spain. Internal disturbance commenced about the year 1830, and a decree was issued in 1833, confiscating and secularizing the property of the Missions. Soon afterward the Natives became dissatisfied with the national government that succeeded the milder sway of the clergy, and more than once declared their independence, but just as often rejoined the confederation. Occasionally the ports were visited by trading vessels for grain, and the hides and tallow cured at the Mission stations; and bands of emigrants, from time to time, crossed the Rocky Mountains, enduring hardships, and even horrors, in that slow pilgrimage of 2,000 miles!  Thus, however, commenced the development of the resources of the country; the beaver and the otter assisting in the good work, by enticing across the Plains the hardy Trapper.

In 1845 the Americans revolted and fought under the “Bear Flag” for independence. On the 7th July, 1846, Commodore Stockton took possession of Upper California, by raising the national flag at Monterey, and on the 2d of February, 1848, the country was ceded by treaty to the United States. About this time (19th January, 1848) the statements of early voyagers were verified, gold was discovered! “On the wings of the wind the glad tidings were conveyed throughout the world. Suddenly labor arose in value, and industry, was universally stimulated. From the shores of the Atlantic and the Pacific—from the isles of the Ocean and across the wide plains, the gathering of a multitude was commenced.” The military government was superseded by one based on a Constitution, which was ratified by the people on the 13th of November, 1849. Thus, California became a State, and as such, was admitted into the Union on the 9th of September, 1850.

Annals of San Francisco

Prior to the year 1835, no human being had ever resided north of Mission Creek, where the city of San Francisco is now built. Within the limits of this peninsula, there was scarcely any spot more lonely. The few ships that found their way to this sequestered harbor, anchored in a little cove near the Presidio, which had been the embarcadero of the Mission. In the year named, W.A. Richardson, the Captain of the Port, erected a tent on the beach; and, in 1836, Jacob P. Leese built the first house, where the St. Francis Hotel now stands, on the corner of Clay and Dupont streets. The place was then known as the Parage of Yerba Buena. In 1838 Mr. Leese built another dwelling on the southwesterly corner of Montgomery and Commercial streets, which he sold to the Hudson Bay Company, whose agents and servants formed nearly the entire community.

In 1839 Juan Vioget made the first survey of Yerba Buena—bound by Pacific, Montgomery, Sacramento and Dupont [Dupont was renamed Grant]  streets. Up to that year 1843, this locality continued a comparative wilderness; cattle roamed undisturbed where now are crowded warehouses, and ravens croaked on the spots where peaceful dwellings stand. In 1844 the village contained a dozen houses, and its permanent population did not exceed fifty. In 1846 the houses had increased to 50, and the people to 200. In September, 1847, the number of tenements was 157, and the population nearly 500. In the same year the local name of YERBA BUENA was changed to SAN FRANCISCO.

A site so desirable for a city, formed by nature for a great destiny, “on one of the finest Bays in the world, looking out upon the greatest, the richest, and most Pacific of Oceans—in the very track of empire—in the healthiest of latitudes, such a site could not fail to attract the attention of the expanding Saxon race.” Commerce hastened it; the discovery of gold consummated it. In April, 1848, the town contained 200 dwellings, and a population of 850. In July, 1849, the number of inhabitants had reached 5,000. By the State census of 1852 the number then was 36, 154; and now, in 1861, this, the Metropolis of the Pacific, numbers in population, 80,000 souls, and can boast of an assessment roll of forty million of dollars! In exports standing first, and in imports and tonnage among the very first of the great ports of the Union.

Within the past year, sand hills have been leveled, valleys have been filled in, streets have been graded, sewers have been constructed, miles of gas-pipes have been laid, and exhaustless supplies of pure water introduced. Substantial fire-proof warehouses have been erected, and hundreds of dwellings have been built. Who can foretell the future of San Francisco? Her growth was sudden; there was no infancy in her history. Within but a few years, her foundations have been laid, and after passing through the fiery ordeal, and a series of financial abuses and disasters, she now is on her onward march to wealth and greatness.

View of the City

For the information of distant readers, it may be well to describe the location of “The City We Live In.” San Francisco stands upon the hilly ridge which forms the barrier that separates the Pacific from the Bay, having the ocean four miles on the west. The city is on the northeasterly corner of this promontory; a series of lofty hills and sandy valleys originally marked its site; the march of improvement has, however, to a considerable extent, leveled the one, and filled in the other.

Probably, the finest view of San Francisco is that which is enjoyed by the spectator, who gazes upon the city and the surrounding country from the top of Telegraph Hill, an eminence which rises to a height of 289 feet. From it the landscape extends over portions of ten counties, combining the grandeur of the ocean, with the peaceful evidences of agricultural industry—-a blending of the wild and picturesque—with the proofs of advanced civilization at your very feet.

In a northwesterly direction we behold the Golden Gate, against whose rocky portals the white waves of the Pacific are ever dashing, and into which the ocean breeze daily sweeps with its chilling but purifying mists. Due north are the harbor and village of Saucelito—Angel Island in full view—-Alcatraces, with its formidable batteries, together with the rugged cliffs and picturesque headlands of Marin county. The northeasterly arm of the bay stretches afar, till lost in the distance, studded with smoking steamers and sailing craft, on the silent highway, to the numerous points on the Sacramento and San Joaquin.

Looking eastward is the spacious harbor, crowded with ships, laden with rich and useful products from all quarters of the globe, the Island of Yerba Buena “with verdure clad,” together with the rural cities of Oakland and San Antonio; behind which, hills rise on hills, and towering over these-nearly forty miles in the distance—may be seen the conical peak of Monte Diablo, 4,000 feet in height, seeming like a giant sentinel, that for ages has guarded the slumber of these waters, when their glassy surfaces were unripped, save by the plash of the Indian’s paddle. Far away are the lofty summits of the Sierra Nevada, at who rugged base lie the treasures that have astonished the world.

Turning to the south the eye embraces the scenery of San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz, whitened with habitations; together with the great southern arm of the bay, almost forming a horizon of water. Union City and the town of Alviso are also visible; nigh at hand is the New Potrero, and also the Mission Dolores, backed by the Bernal Heights, and by graceful hills. At your feet is the busy city; an adventurous population throng its thoroughfares, exhibiting the complexions and costumes of many lands. The solitude of the desert has given place to the hum of industry, and the yell of the hunter is supplanted by the echo of the steam-whistle. Where formerly stood the humble embarcadero may now be seen numerous wharves extended into the bay, beside which, are the vast hulls and lofty spars of ocean leviathans. The permanent improvements visible, on all sides indicating the profound peace and prosperity which distinguish California.

From the North to the South Beach, the hissing of the jackplane, the grating of the handsaw, and the click of the trowel are heard on every side; workshops ring with the clang of metals, and factories with the whir of looms. Lines of steamers connect us with the East, and incidentally with Europe, with South America and Australia, with the ports in the Gulf of California, with Oregon, with Washington Territory and British Columbia. By means of the magnetic Telegraph we are within speaking distance of every portion of the State—from the gold-placers of Yreka to the orange-groves of Los Angeles; and within the year we will be in telegraphic communication with the cities of the Atlantic. Fleets of ships, from all quarters of the globe, supply us with the richest wares of foreign climes, returning freighted with the surplus products of our fertile soil. All these cheering indications, together with an increasing population—the successful inauguration of railroads, with the constant pouring into the lap of San Francisco of the treasures of our mountains—the establishment of the Daily Overland Mail and of the Pony Express—all these have imparted additional value to the numberless interests of the State—and more particularly of our city.

The Mission and the Presidio

During unnumbered centuries, the peninsula bounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Bay of San Francisco, continued an unchanging wilderness, until “men, foreign to the soil, but imbued with a sublime faith, left home and kindred to teach civilization to barbarism, and to preach salvation to the heathen.” The very year which gave birth to the great Western Republic on the Atlantic shore of North America, witnessed the first permanent settlement on the coast of Upper California.

In 1776, two Missionaries of the Roman Catholic Church reached the Bay of San Francisco, and proceeded to establish a central point for their operations. Their names were Francisco Palou and Benito Cambon. They were natives of Spain, but came to this place from Mexico. Finding a fertile tract of land, capable of irrigation, nearly two miles south of the present city of San Francisco, they selected it for their home, and with much pious pomp, the founded the Mission of Our Father St. Francis; but in the course of years, the named was changed to that of the Mission Dolores, in commemoration of the sufferings of the Virgin. The Fathers evinced much good sense in selecting the site for their buildings, which was a small, fertile plain, embosomed among green-clad hills. Several tiny rivulets of clear, sweet water met about  the spot, whose united streams were conducted to the bay by one of a larger size, now well known as Mission Creek. Among the first buildings erected was the Church, which is still devoted to religious uses, while the adjoining adobe buildings are now used for secular purposes.

The Missions were established with the view not only of propagating the doctrines of the Roman Catholic religion, but by so blending agriculture and trade under the tutelage of the Church, as to render the Natives amenable subjects of the Spanish Crown. The Friars succeeded in reducing a large number to a partial degree of civilization; and to the self-denial of the good Fathers, La perouse, Vancouver, Beechey, and other enlightened travelers, afford unqualified testimony. “During this primitive period, from which we are removed by so brief an interval, it would seem that kindness in their intercourse with one another, and hospitality to the stranger, were the characteristics of the Friars and their converts.”

Three miles west of the city, and two and a half miles north of the Mission is the Presidio, established to give military aid to the clergy in the conquest of the Indians. Under the protection of this Presidio were the Missions of San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Rafael, and Sonoma. The original buildings were constructed in quadrangular form; the portions still remaining continue to be occupied as Barracks. Here it is worthy of mention that soldiers of three different nationalities have been successively quartered in this venerable garrison. The Presidio was found on the 17th of September, and the Mission on the 9th of October, A.D., 1776. Those interested in the early history of the Mission and the Presidio, will find a very graphic account in Palou’s life of Junipero Serra.

Fort Point, the Golden Gate and the Bay

On the northwesterly extremity of the peninsula of San Francisco, four miles from the city, there stood, in early times, a bold, narrow, jutting promontory of hard serpentine rock, 107 feet above the level of the sea, surmounted by a small Mexican fortification, called Fort Blanco. The view from this point, was one of the finest in the harbor; but the entire headland has been cut down within a few feet of high water, and increased in area to make room for the present noble and substantial structure, known as Fort Point. It was commenced in 1854, and is four tiers in height, including the battery in the rear, mounting in all, 164 guns, with accommodation for 2,400 men. The ordnance here and at Alcatraces combines all the improvements and appliances of modern warfare. A lighthouse and a fog-bell adjoin the Fort. The precipitate and rocky coast of California, which, in this parallel, from Monterey north, presents scarcely an indentation, here suddenly breaks asunder, causing the great cleft or fissure in the coast range known as The Golden Gate—-the distance across, between Fort Point on this side, and Lime Point on the opposite shore being one mile and seventeen yards. Here the tide varies about seven feet.

The Bay of San Francisco, of which the Golden Gate forms the entrance, was not discovered till the end of October, 1769, when Don Gaspar de Portala, the first Governor of California, encamped on its shores. “Although navigators had passed it, anchored near it, and actually gave its name to adjoining roadsteads; yet it is most remarkable, that the clouds which concealed its entrance had never been lifted, and that it was, at length, discovered by land.”

The Bay is formed by the confluence of the blended waters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. The former, with its tributaries, draining the rich agricultural valleys and the auriferous slopes of the Sierra Nevada from the north, as the latter does from the south. It affords the finest and most commodious harbor on the Pacific coast of the United States, extending in a southerly direction about 40 miles, parallel with the ocean, from which it is separated by the peninsula forming the counties of San Francisco and San Mateo, varying from five to twenty miles in width. When the geographical position of San Francisco is considered—holding the keys of the commerce of the northern Pacific—-looking upon Asia and the teeming population of the Indies, and the ease with which it can be connected with the great seaports of the Atlantic, and thence with Europe—it would seem as if no city or the globe combined so many material advantages. Already, vessels freighted to and from her harbor may be seen in every sea, and in almost every part of the world.

Yerba Buena Island

Yerba Buena Island is situated in the Bay and within the legislative limits of the city and county of San Francisco. From Rincon Point and Market Street Wharf it is distant about one mile and a half, from Contra Costa nearly three miles, and the western point is one and three quarters miles from Telegraph Hill. The northern end is distant from the Golden Gate five miles and a half. This island contains 198 acres, of which 75 consist of rich soil, well adapted for garden purposes; 15 acres are heavily timbered; 23 acres jungle and brushwood; 85 acres hilly, rocky and sandy being thickly covered with the herb or mint plant, from which the island takes its name.

Springs of excellent water abound on the eastern and western sides, in the midst of a fertile valley. The apex of this island is 343 feet above high water; the sides are steep and irregular—rising to a ridge running nearly east and west. In early times it was densely covered with wood, and was known to ancient mariners and whalers as Wood Island; but, in 1839, one Nathan Spear placed a number of goats thereon, and hence the still popular name of Goat Island.

On the easterly side is a wide, shoal bay, dry at low water, which, with the present material on the island, can be filled up so as to be more than double its size. This island is formed of compact beds of sandstone, from a few inches to six and eight feet in thickness. Its texture varies but little in the different beds and the grain is close and even, and generally very fine. The strata are laid bare by the action of the water around the base of the island, and form a bold, rocky shore, which, in many places, appears to offer great resistance to the persistent denuding action of the waves and strong currents.

On approaching the island from the west, the evidence of stratification becomes visible, and the beds are seen to dip westwardly towards the observer. The position of these beds of sandstone is highly favorable for working, readily loaded at the wharf, and ferried over the channel to the city. Several quarries have been opened on the island, and the supply of building stone appears inexhaustible.

The United States Government, having proposed to place some batteries upon the island, included it in the third line of fortifications, and it was reserved with the other points in 1852.

Angel Island, lying to the northwest of Yerba Buena, rises to a height of 771 feet, with a shore-line of five miles and an area of one square mile. Being in Marin county, it does not call for a more extended notice in this place.

Alcatraces Island

Alcatraces, or Bird Island, is also within the bay, and within the limits of the city and county, lying to the westward of the Island of Yerba Buena. It is composed of a fine-grained and very compact sandstone, of a dark, bluish green color. This island takes its name from the immense number of these aquatic birds (pelicans) which, in early days, sought it as an abiding place.

The apex of this rocky eminence is 135 feet above the level of the water, and its area 35 acres. Its greatest length and its extreme breadth are 1,673 and 590 feet, respectively.  The position of this little isle—suggesting at once extreme strength and impregnable defense—caused it to be reserved by the United States authorities, at the time of the cession of California by Mexico, and preparations were at once made it a formidable sentinel to watch over the safety of our city, even while its brilliantly-lighted summit indicated, during the night, the path of security to the fleet sailing in seaward from distant coasts—messengers of peaceful commerce.

Three barbette batteries encircle this national stronghold. The one facing the city and command the bay, in the direction of the Presidio, mounting 35 guns; another, facing the Golden Gate, mounting 16 guns; and one on the northern side of the Island, facing Saucelito and Angel Island, mounting 40 guns. The ordnance is of the heaviest and most effective used in the service, some of them being of immense calibre—large Columbiads—which throw shot weighing 120 pounds.

The first structure, after landing at the pier, is a shot-proof guard-house, provided with a drawbridge and a heavy gate. On the crest of the island is a massive, three-story barrack, or citadel, arranged so that every point can be brought under the effective fire of musketry. There are also three bomb-proof magazines, an extensive furnace for heating shot and cannon balls, a fog-bell and a light house—the latter being provided with one of Fresnel’s lanterns of the third order, which is 160 feet above the level of the sea. From Telegraph Hill it is distant one mile and two thirds, and from Fort Point two miles and five-eighths. Deep water-marks exist all around the island, and with the exception of one or two places, the sides are so steep that a landing could only be effected with great difficulty.

Los Farallones de los Frayles

The Farallones were discovered by Ferrelo in 1543, but Sir Francis Drake is the first who specially mentions them (in 1579) as “lying off the bay where he refitted his ships.” The Russians founded a settlement here in 1812, for the purpose of obtaining oil and skins, and several places are yet visible where the latter were stretched out and dried. The Farallones embrace the northerly, the middle and the southerly groups.

The Northerly cluster is made up of four islets, within a space of half a mile square. Three of them are quite high and bold—the middle one attaining an elevation of 166 feet—the other being a mere rock, 100 feet in diameter, and scarcely 20 feet above water; the latter is six and a half miles from the lighthouse. The Middle Farallone is a single rock, 55 yards in diameter and 25 feet above water. From the lighthouse it is two and one quarter miles distant.

The South Farallone is the largest and highest, extending nearly a mile east and west, attaining an altitude of 340 feet above the ocean. Upon it the lighthouse stands. The tower is built of brick, 17 feet in height, and is surmounted by an illuminating apparatus of the first order of the system of Fresnal. It is 23-1/2 miles distant from the Golden Gate. A fog whistle has been placed upon the southeastern end of the island, about 275 feet from the water’s edge, and 20 feet above the sea level. It is erected over a hole in the roof of a subterranean passage, which connects with and is open to the ocean, and is blown by the rash of air caused by the sea breaking into the mouth. The sound is heard in the vicinity at all times, except about an hour and a half before and after low water. At other times it may be heard a distance of seven or eight miles.

It is really difficult to imagine a more desolate place than these rocky islets present to view. Being a mass of jagged rock, neither a tree nor a shrub relieves the eye by contrast, or gives change to the exceeding barrenness of the landscape.

Collectively, these islets may be considered as the most extensive poultry-yard in the world; for here may be found in myriads the birds described by Buffon, as the Guillamot—the Uria Troile of Linnaeus—-which lays its eggs upon the bare rock. The appellation of the Foolish Guillamot has been given to this species by Lathan, form the fact of its being with difficulty roused to flight, and often suffering itself to be caught by the hand, particularly during incubation. Audubon, in his great national work, gives a charming account of the habits of this interesting species (Murae), which is well known to the eggers and fishermen of the Northern Atlantic. Some idea may be formed of their numbers, when it is stated, that each bird, during the season, lays but a single egg, and that, since 1851, millions of the eggs have been sold in the San Francisco market. They are mostly of a pale green color, bleached with umber. The egg season lasts about six weeks—from the middle of May to the end of June.

The bird of the most varied and brilliant plumage to be found here is the Tufted Puffin. Though rather numerous on this coast, it is elsewhere very rare, as is the Horned-Bill Guillamot, which has also been seen and caught here. Of neither of these had Audubon ever met with a living specimen. Here also, may be seen the huge seals, called sea-lions (Phoca Otaria Jubata). This species attains a weight of 3,000 pounds. Occasionally they are very savage, particularly during the nuptial season, when the fierce and bloody battles of the males render these isles of the ocean a very pandemonium. The Farallones are within the legislative limits of San Francisco.

The Pueblo Lands

By the Colonization laws, usages and customs of the Government of Mexico, and by virtue of an act of the Departmental Legislature of California, passed on the 9th day of November, 1833, a new town, containing at least thirty inhabitants and other requisites for a municipal organization, was entitled to four leagues of land. It follows that when, on the 7th of December, 1834, an election was held at the Presidio and the Ayuntamiento installed, that San Francisco was duly recognized as a Pueblo and became vested with the title to that land.

On the 21st of December, 1854, the Land Commissioners rendered a decree confirming to the city an amount of land that would not exceed three leagues—lying north of what is known as the Vallejo line—running from the mouth of Mission Creek to Point Lobos. The United States appealed from this decree to the District Court, on the ground that the city had not title to any land, and the city also appealed, claiming title to the land as far south as the Buri Buri, or Sanchez ranch. Subsequently the United States withdrew their appeal, and an order of court was duly entered, granting permission to the city to proceed under the said decree of the Land Commission, as upon a final decree.

Since that order was entered, the city has introduced some further proof in support of her claim to the land, tending principally to establish the southern boundary of the Pueblo at the Sanchez ranch. On this peninsula, north of the Sanchez ranch, there are eight leagues of land, of which one half (embracing the San Miguel, Bernal, Visitacion and De Haro ranches) has been confirmed to private individuals by the Federal courts, leaving four leagues to which the city is entitled under the laws relating to Pueblos.

The Supreme Court of this State has, in a recent decision, (Hart vs. Bennett,) held that the Pueblo of San Francisco was entitled by law, at the time of its organization, in 1834, to four leagues of land, to be measured from the centre of the Presidio Square. On this point, Justice Baldwin says that the evidence is irresistible. With regard to the location of the land, he adds that “it appears from official documents, that the Presidio was located near the middle of the northern extremity of the peninsula formed by the bay and the ocean; that the width of the peninsula, as far south as Mission Creek, is less than two leagues, and that still further south, to the Buri Buri ranch, the average width is just about two leagues, although two or three points project somewhat beyond.” Of course, he continues, “the Pueblo could acquire no right or title to the ocean or bay; and, consequently, according to the law of its foundation, the four leagues of land would be taken in a prolonged instead of a square form.” This high authority would therefore fix the southern boundary of the Pueblo claim at the Sanchez ranch, extending into the present county of San Mateo. (See Map accompanying this volume).

Annual Municipal Expenditure

The City of San Francisco was, for the first time, incorporated by the Legislature in May, 1850, the organization of the County having been effected in the month previous, by the election of a Sheriff and other officers, thus establishing two distinct systems of government. During the six succeeding years, the charters and other local laws were repealed and amended over and over again, but apparently all action failed to check the career of reckless extravagance that rapidly dissipated the wealthy estate which had belonged to San Francisco, as well as bequeathing to us a debt amounting to several millions of dollars.

At length, the Legislature detached upwards of five sixths of the territory—from which the present county of San Mateo was created—and, at the same time, united the governments of the city and county of San Francisco. The Consolidation Act took effect on the 1st day of July, 1856. Under its stringent provisions, our municipal affairs have been administered with energy and fidelity, and a thorough reform has results.

The enormous outlay consequent on the dual system of government has been entirely abolished or seriously reduced, while the checks upon lavish expenditure were so well devised as to defy evasion, and the contraction of debts has been inhibited. The financial history of all this is sufficiently indicated in the subjoined exhibit [not included here]. . .

Annual Revenue

[not included here]

Topography, Taxation and Assessments

The legislative limits of the City and County of San Francisco are co-extensive being bounded on the north and east by the bay, on the south by the county of San Mateo, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The southern boundary line separates townships two and three, running due west from the bay to the Pacific.

The city and county may be considered nearly square, averaging six and a half miles each way, embracing an area of 42 square miles, or 26, 861 acres, of which 5,000 are within the former city charter line; 8,000 are capable of cultivation; 7,861 are rocks, drifting sand and water; 4,500 are adapted for pasturage; and 1,500 within the Presidio reservation. Of the 8,000 acres outside the charter line and capable of cultivation, there are planted , in potatoes, about 1,200 acres; in market gardens, 600; grains and grass, 800; fruit trees, 200; and in untilled lands 5,200 acres.

[Taxation and Assessment information not included here.]


Source: Langley, Henry G. The San Francisco Directory. September 1862: Commercial Steam Presses: Valentine & Co., San Francisco.
Note: The paragraphs under each heading were originally grouped together. I separated them in order to make them easier to read.
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