San Francisco (Calif.). Board of Supervisors.

San Francisco : the metropolis of western America; a glance at her history, a review of her commerce, a description of her business enterprises, with illustrations of her public and commercial buildings and places of interest in and about the city, her phenomenal progress, incomparable industries an online

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Online LibrarySan Francisco (Calif.). Board of SupervisorsSan Francisco : the metropolis of western America; a glance at her history, a review of her commerce, a description of her business enterprises, with illustrations of her public and commercial buildings and places of interest in and about the city, her phenomenal progress, incomparable industries an → online text (page 1 of 42)
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San Francisco Public Library



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Her Phenomenal Progress
Incomparable Industries
AND Remarkable Resources

A Glance at Her History

K Review of Her Commerce

\ Description of Her Business Enterprises

With Illustrations of Her Public and
Commercial Buildings and Places of
Interest in and About the City

copyrighted by

Mercantile Illustrating Co.

San Francisco, Cal.

With Nearly Half a Million
of Inhabitants She Will Greet
the Twentieth Century



t_AN FRANCISCO needs no eulogy. Wherever civilized man is
wont to tread the earth the name of San Francisco is known.
With the development of the new world she has kept pace
with the strides of time, and while she may not be ranked, in
point of population, with some of the other great cities of the
world, yet she commands respect and attention for many things she has
accomplished, and the world bows in acceptance to the great possibilities
the "City of the Golden Gate" will advance in the near future. The people
who dwell in San Francisco have thrift and energy, and she has all the
natural advantages for carrj-ing on her enterprises that any place could
desire, and her sons, with their ambitions, have set her standard on high for
the world to admire and follow. When the people of this great municipality
look about them to-day and realize what has been accomplished by the
handiwork of man, they should stop and realize that all this has been brought
about under the guiding hand of an all-wise Providence. San Francisco, it
must be remembered, did not spring into an existence like some fair Acadia,
and there let its destiny rest with the fates. This city has had some
besetting times, but she has never faltered one step in her march of pro-
gress, and has come radiantly from the flames of adversity, which in the
years gone by threatened to retard all that had been accomplished. San
Francisco stands to-day as the peer of any American city, with all things
considered. She takes no backward step, and, as ever in the past, "pro-
gress" and "industry" will continue to be her watcbwor4. The citizens

look with gratification on the things which were accomplished in the past,
and rejoice in the gigantic proportions of the present. Combining these
glowing successes of the past and present, the future cannot help but be an
assurance of prosperity, and it is to such that San Francisco is triumphantly
marching on. The future of this great city will be told by historians to
come. Here will be told the history of San Francisco from the earliest
foundation to the present; the hustle and bustle of its mercantile life, the
hum of its factories, its advancement in art and science, its enlightenment,
and its steady march of progress in the procession of other cities who have
been striving for years to gain in the vanguard of prosperity. The city of
San Francisco was incorporated in 1850, and the city and county consoli-
dated in 1856. It is situated in latitude 37° -16' N.,and longitude 122°24' W.,
at the north end of a peninsula, which is thirty miles long and six miles
across, at the city, which separates San Francisco Bay from the Pacific
Ocean. The area within the political district is forty-two square niiles.
Goat Island, Alcatraz Island, and Mission Rock in the bay, and the Farallone
Islands in the ocean, thirty miles off, belong to San Francisco. San Fran-
cisco, by reason of her age, location, influence, and natural advantages, is
the chief city of Western America, and is such a one as reflects credit upon
our State and country. The reople are not slow, but are pfispssed of that
conservatism that looks well before acting, but when they act there are
results, as is attested by the numerous manufacturing plants that employ
her men and train her sons. Her commerce ir,creases year by year and he






prestige as the chief center of ocean transportation will never be wrested
from her. As a place of residence, her salubrious climate, churches, mag-
nificent schools, art institutions, and elegant parks, invite the capitalist,
artisan, professional man, or manufacturer, and as a center of art and ciil-
ture there is no city superior to this.

The growth in population from 1840 to 1899 is as follows:

1846 600

1848 1,000

1852 34,900

1860 56,802

1899, estimated. .375,000

5 1870 92,671

J IbSO 64,959

3 1890 102,126

Registered net tonnage entered at the San Francisco Custom House
from foreign and Atlantic ports in 1898:


Foreign (Sail) 456 Tons, 482,258

Eastern " 38 " 47,834

New money made at the San F:

Gold $.58,490,000

Silver 4,564,340

Foreign (Ste;

Eastern " 13 "

Cisco Branch Mint, 1898:

Total j
the San

Government collections at

Internal revenue for the First District, which


Custom House,

eludes San Francisco


Since the memorable 1st of May, 1898, when the clearing smoke of
Dewey's cannons showed the first great step towards national expansion,
the United States has added to her dominion much new and valuable terri-
tory, the most important of vvhich, from a commercial standpoint, are the
Philippines and Hawaii. The effect of these accessions on San Francisco's
fiiture development can be only approximately anticipated, but certain it is
that no city in the world has before it greater commercial possibilities than
this one, which will perforce command the bulk of the Oriental trade, and

through whose gateway will pass the tide of business intercourse between
the East and the West. Never was there a time more propitious to the
successful promotion of local enterprise. The territory acquired is vast and
populous, but unproductive. The untold agricultural and mineral wealth of
these islands is in 3'et an embryonic state, and awaits but the application of
stalwart American enterprise to burst forth into the full splendor of realized
possibility, affording our city a rare opportunity for trade expansion, and
presenting a ready market for American goods. The growing needs of the
people under our progressive government will inaugurate many industries
which have hitherto been undreamed of, for which supplies of all kinds will
be drawn from this source. With the establishment of this trade, extensive
transportation facilities will be put in operation, and this country will be
enabled to compete, with every advantage on its side, with other nations for
the trade of China, Japan, and the entire Orient. Needless to say, San
Francisco's geographical situation will place her in position to control this
trade, and in the event of the early completion of the Nicaragua Canal, to
further which, every legitimate effort is being made use of, San Francisco, as
a shipping and distributing point will soon be second to none in the world .
As we have said before, the effect of our Western accessions on the commer-
cial future of our city can only be remotely estimated, but that this effect
will be potently beneficial almost beyond all parallel, not even the most
conservative are disposed to den}'.


Our banks are bulwarks of integrity and resource, and their strength
has carried the city through many a general panic with safety and credit.
Backed by men whose record as financiers has spread from ocean to ocean,
and whose resources are practically unlimited, they have stood as firm as a
rock through every condition, and when banks in Eastern cities were closing
their doors with a terrible regularity, our fiscal organizations have paid every
draft and met every legitimate obligation with a promptitude that can come

NhW 1.:NI0N depot foot of ,M\h'kl;l MkFET.



only of impregnable stability, and wise and consen'ative management. The
operations of the San Francisco Clearing House, which was established in
1876, make the following showing for the past three years:

February .
March .

ju/e '.'.'.:.■;




November .


I 65.466,574





Next to Liverpool and New York, there is no city which occupies a more
prominent place in the world's shipping interests than San Francisco. It
has the finest harbor in the world and on the surface of San Francisco Ba)'
float the ships of all nations, arriving and departing with vast cargoes of
imports and exports to and from the Orient, the rich gold fields of Alaska,
the Klondike, and the principal ports of the Pacific Coast. Four great
steamship lines establish almost daily communication between this port and
Honolulu, Australia, China, Japan, and India, three ply between San Fran-
cisco and Alaska, two cover the route to Portland, Seattle, and intermediate
points, and an equal number have their southern terminus at San Diego.
The San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers are navigable by large craft for
many miles, and regular steamers, both passenger and freight, are run to all
inland and ba}' points. Four great transcontinental lines of railway center
here, and numerous branch roads form a network throughout the entire State,
affording safe and rapid transit for passengers and freight to and from all

important points in the American continent. A regular service of speedy
and seaworthy vessels is now in operation to the Klondike, and other lines
will doubtless soon be established Our exports to the Orient have shown
an increase of 65 per cent over an equal period of the previous year, while
shipments to other sections also evince a material rise. It is conservatively
estimated that our average annual exports of this port for the past few years
will aggregate over $40,000,000, and other carefully figured estimates tend to
prove that before another decade has passed they will have reached the
;iS 100,000,000 mark. The nature and character of these exports is too varied
to give in detail. They consist of every description of provisions, food-
products, machinery, clothing, lumber, manufactured goods, animal pro-
ducts, metals, minerals, hardware, etc, and in fact every product of man and
nature. Our city is gradually expanding and developing its resources
reaching out for wider fields of operation, and increasing its facilities to meet
the ever growing demands which these conditions entail. With her com-
manding position, inexhaustible resources, and the active promotion of her
interests by a highly intelligent, progressive, and public-spirited people, she
is fitted perhaps better than any other American city to meet the exigencies
of the future, and to become known to the world as a shipping point of the
very first magnitude.


It is doubtful if there is another community on the face of the earth
which presents so abundant and propitious a field for jobbers and wholesalers
as San Francisco. She commands the trade of the Orient, with which she
is connected by half a dozen regular packet lines, as well as hundreds of
tramp steamers and sailing vessels. Around her stretches for hundreds of
miles to the east, north, and south, a region fabulously rich in mineral and
agricultural wealth, covered with prosperous and populous cities and towns,
which draw their supplies from her merchants and manufacturers, while
Alaska and the Klondike are also heavy patrons. Many great railroad lines
center here, whose systems reach every market of importance on the

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American continent, and facilitate commercial intercourse between the
East and West. With such facilities and the possession of an unusually
large number of great enterprises, representing every branch of trade and
manufacture, abl)' and energetically promoted, it is not strange that San
Francisco should assume a position of first importance in the commercial
world as a distributing point and center of supply, which, with practically
inexhaustible resources, whose development is rapidly being pushed with all
the vigor of Western enterprise, is every day becoming greater and more


It requires but a walk through our broad, well-kept business thorough-
fares, lined with handsome establishments, whose show-windows are ever
bedecked with the latest and finest of wares, and from whose interior comes
the busy hum of trade, commingling with the never ceasing hubbub of passing
traffic, to assure the observer that the commercial complement of San Fran-
cisco is unusually prosperous and complete in every department. Not only
are our stores modern and up-to-date in all that represents choice and varied
selection, and well patronized by our people, but they represent a greater
variety of trade line than almost any other city on earth on account of our
cosmopolitan population. The merchants of San Francisco have a record
for stability and progressiveness which reflects great credit on our citj', and
many of our retail firms are direct importers of European and Oriental
goods. Many, by judicious advertising and other methods of making them-
selves known, have extended their operations far beyond local limits, and
vie with the great *' mail order " houses of Chicago and New York. Though
our commercial ranks are ever reinforced by new and valuable business
undertakings, few close out, and the result is a steady increasfe which is
rapidly bringing San Francisco forward in the mercantile world, and
supplyingthegrowingdemandswhicli an ever multiplying population create.


In majiy cities in the United States the rise in real estate values is not
indicative of increased prosperity, but merely of somewhat greater inflation.
This is not the case in San Francisco, where values rise and fall according to
the legitimate demand, and these consequently present a true index of the
conditions prevailing at the moment. Everything has remained upon a
sound basis, and purchasers and investors outside the city buy and sell
through reliable agents here with the same facility as if personally conduct-
ing their operations. Those who purchase real estate in San Francisco and
its vicinity do so almost invariably with the intention of building, and, there-
fore, are at once interested in the city's well-being and prosperity. Perhaps
there never was a time when greater opportunities were offered to all classes
of investors than at present, to purchase realty either for speculation or
investment. Many instances could be adduced of moderate fortunes being
made in a few years by judicious purchases of well-located lots. It is hardly
possible to make a mistake in San Francisco, except that of dealing with an
unreliable agent, and luckily there are few of these here. The splendid
cable and electric systems now in operation have greatly enhanced the values
of residence property in the suburbs, and enable the small salaried and work-
ing classes to possess their own homes far from the noise, smoke and dust of
a great city, while within eas}^ reach of its stores and markets. There need
be no anxiety regarding the opportunities which exist rn and around San
Francisco for obtaining desirable locations for factories or homes, and invest-
ors unacquainted with San Francisco county will be surprised at the reason-
able prices that prevail. To those in possession of realty here we say hold,
and to those who have none we say buy, and with ordinary judgment in each
case, the results should be most advantageous. Building associations are
most important accessories to transactions in suburban realty, and are
unquestionably destined to affect San Francisco in the near future as power-
fully as they have in Eastern cities in the past.

Total uutnbsr and amount of sales in San Francis


. 12,356,870.
. 10.154,754.






The insurance business of San Francisco has developed to vast propor-
tions in the last ten years. The close margin upon which business is now
conducted will not allow the individual to hazard his person or his property
to any possible loss without taking some additional protection. And, there-
fore, we have insurance providing not only for loss caused by death, by fire,
b}' the perils of navigation, but also by sickness, by bodily injuries, by
explosion of steam boilers, by the breakage of plate glass windows, by light-
ning, and bv burglary. Considering the millions of dollars insurance held
in San Francisco and the hundreds of thousands of dollars paid annually in
premiums, statistics show that in no city in the country are risks lighter,
rates likely to continue easier, or protection so well assured. The growth of
the insurance interest of San Francisco will always constitute one of its most
creditable chapters of history, and here can at all times be obtained perfect
opportunities for indemnity against loss through "moving accidents" by
fire, flood, field, or health failure. The following table will show the
amount of business that passed through the offices of the various companies
here for the vear 1S98:




Number of new policies written 41,786

Amount $26,663,675

Premiums 982,188

Number policies renewed 43,454

Amount $98,483,405

Policies in force Dec. 31, 1898. . . 75,504

Amount $135,305,047

Losses and endowments paid. $ 2.510,711


It has been asserted by various well-known persons on the lecture
platform and from the editorial desk, that San Francisco is nothing more
than the "Way Station" through which passes the great commercial tide
from East to West, leaving but a small percentage of its value to our

merchants. It is our purpose to show that this construction of San Fran-
cisco's business life is entirely erroneous, and that in the extent and variety
of her manufactures, the " Bay City" can hold her own with any of approxi-
mate size, and with many, much greater in population and age. San Fran-
cisco has every natural and acquired advantage for the successful prosecution
of almost every important form of industry. Surrounding her for hundreds
of miles is a region superlatively rich in natural wealth, which produces raw
material and fuel for the operation of our factories, and which contains
hundreds of prosperous and popular cities and towns, which draw their
supplies from this source, thus affording us a ready market for our products.
We have skilled labor in abundance; manufacturers whose enterprise and
ability have not only gained them local fame and success, but who have
competed successfully with their great Eastern contemporaries, and found a
market for their goods in the principal trading points of the world. Local
concerns have secured many government and other large contracts for
which Eastern houses have bid in vain. On our water-front were built
several battle-ships which took a prominent part in winning the nation's
battle in the Spanish War. Local houses furnished many equipments for
the use of the Army in the Orient, and local products have won medals,
prizes, and awards at every National and International Exhibition during the
past quarter century. There is' not a train or vessel which leaves here
without large shipments of manufactured goods aboard, and not a year goes
by that San Francisco does not produce goods to the value of over
$100,000,000.00, spend jt25,000,000.00 for industrial labor, and afford employ-
ment to 50,000 men. Between 1860 and 1890 the increase in the value of the
output was seven-fold, and judging from present indications the expansion
in the next quarter century will be greater than ever before.

SHIP-BUILDING. — It is with pardonable pride that San Francisco can
look upon the rest of the world from her remote corner, and put to shame
the big dockyards of Philadelphia and other Eastern ports, and show that in
the first half century the manufacturers of this city have built some of the
greatest war- vessels of modern times. Among them are the '* Oregon,"
"Monterey," "Charleston," "Wheeling," "Marietta," "San Francisco."




The following will show the number and tonnage of new vessels built on
the Pacific Coast in 1898 and documented at San Francisco :

Total number 48.

Gross tonnage 17,S37.06

Net tonnage 10,532.19

LUMBER. — San Francisco excels, by reason of her peculiar advantages,
in many lines of trade and industry. One of these, and one of our most
important, is the lumber trade. Every facility is afforded for its highly suc-
cessful prosecution. The great northern forests yield vast quantities of the
finest woods, which are brought down in immense ships, and cut and dressed
by monster mills to suit every requirement of the builder and cabinet maker,
large quantities of California redwood and different grades of pine being
shipped to all parts of the East.


1890 19,170 000 $448,024.

1891 19,931,600 470,276.

1892 21 ,332,U00 495,502.

1893 14,732,100 291,376.

1S94 18,428,300 354,366.

1895 17,671,100 300,084.

1896 33,620,000 650,4^2.

1897 26.057,481 476,813.

1898 22.080,922 413,195.

LEATHER AND TANNERIES.— San Francisco leads the entire West
as the center of the tanning business, and San Francisco leather has become
a household word. "It is unquestionably the best in the market, and always
brings the highest prices, and the tanners who have built up this reputation
are deserving of the very highest praise. The city has nineteen tanneries,
owned by practical tanners. They have developed the industry from the
smallest beginnings, and their great success is due to their careful methods,
close application, and thorough knowledge of the business, and their pro-
duct is used all over the country.

WINES AND BRANDIES.— California is essentially the land of the
grape, and in less than a quarter century has become known as such
throughout the world, vying with France and Spain, for centuries the
greatest wine-producing sections in the world, for supremacy. The climate
and soil of California is especially adapted to the culture of wine grapes, and


every variety flourishes here, and attains its highest degree of development
in size and rich flavor. California has many vineyards which for size and
productiveness are unsurpassed. It has wineries and distilleries which
produce two-thirds of the wine and brandy in the United States, and
probably a full third of the world's production comes from this State. San
Francisco is one of the nation's headquarters for vinous and spirituous
liiliiors. The product for the preceding year was twenty million gallons
and the following tabulated statement will show the enormous proportions,
which this industry has assumed ;



By rail





By sea







In 1896



The brandy shipments were

as follows ;

B rail




By sea







714 142



California wines and brandies are noted for their delicious flavor, and
are pronounced by connoisseurs to be unsurpassed, even by the finest
imported varieties. They are suited to the finest drug, club, and family

Online LibrarySan Francisco (Calif.). Board of SupervisorsSan Francisco : the metropolis of western America; a glance at her history, a review of her commerce, a description of her business enterprises, with illustrations of her public and commercial buildings and places of interest in and about the city, her phenomenal progress, incomparable industries an → online text (page 1 of 42)