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Re: China Basin

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Posted by Ron Filion on Wednesday, November 02, 2005 at 18:23:12 :

Edited by Ron Filion, December 12, 2006.

In Reply to: China and India Basins posted by Deirdre Visser on Friday, October 28, 2005 at 16:16:47 :

"China Basin...between South Beach and Mission Bay Districts...Named for the China Clippers of the Pacific Mail Steamship Line that docked here at Steamboat Point after the mid-1860s..." Source: San Francisco Almanac, Gladys Hansen, 1995, page 318.

The area was originally filled with water and named Mission Bay. It appears on an USGS (United States Geological Service) map of 1869. By that time, Long Bridge had been built (1865) and closed it in on the east side. This area was approximately bounded by Berry, 7th/8th, Santa Clara, and Kentucky. An 1877 article (seek link below) gives the exact location and name of China Basin.

Now, I am not sure why China Basin would have been connected with the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. Their dock was located as an extension of First from Brannan to out about where Berry would cross (this area was Steamboat Point), and was not actually in the Mission Bay/China Basin area. The company was heavily involved in the China trade and, apparently, the transportation of Chinese workers:

"Through the drafty sheds of the Pacific Mail Dock poured not only the 'riches of the Orient,' but tens of thousands of the Chinese laborers who aroused the dismay and wrath of California Workers..." That quote is from the excellent resource, "San Francisco Waterfront" by Roger L. and Nancy L. Olmstead, 1977, pages 321-329.

An article on China Basin and Central Basin (though, nothing about the origin of the names) is available at:



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