Gold Rush and Early San Francisco

Published by Twigg on 2014-05-04

I recently posted several books to my Reading Now blog, , that give some color to life in San Francisco and the gold mines of the gold rush days.

Horatio Alger’s Ben’s Nugget: A Boy’s Search for a Fortune, is a risks of those who went into the mining business. If a minor was successful he might be robbed. If he was a stranger in town he might be lynched on the testimony of a thief. Read the story for life in the gold field, the rugged inns of the mining towns, and the hotels and boarding houses.

Jules Verne’s All Around the Moon, has an interesting chapter where a naval captain acquires specialized salvage equipment in San Francisco in preparation for retrieving a nineteenth century moon shot. Literally a moon shot, as the space vehicle was a hollow aluminum bullet shot from a nine hundred feet long cannon. There is a good description of the condition of the harbor including various shipwrecks and obstacles that were cleared in conjunction with the gold rush.

Another Horatio Alger story, Adrift in New York: Tom and Florence Braving the World, has a description of life in San Francisco at a slightly later era. Perhaps twenty or thirty years have passed since the gold rush. Still the tale describes a city where you can make a success if you keep your eyes open. Also the trip around South America is a good description of the route many gold miners used to get to California.

The discovery of gold in California and the subsequent gold rush is one of the ten days that most changed the history of the United States. See the wiki article on 1848 Gold Rush.


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