San Francisco History

Veterans in Our Service

Veterans in Our Service.
by Betty Beecher.

Officer William H. Young

HE SAW men dig—and bring up a ship!

When roaring dance halls, gambling houses and saloons sprawled along Pacific and Kearny streets—all the way to Broadway—Police Officer William H. Young walked a beat down that way. Many a fight he stopped; many a fight he prevented.

"They started the Barbary Coast," says Officer Young—who has only been in the police department for thirty-nine years—"as an amusement section for sailors. The business houses of old San Francisco were located just south of there in those days. Although, mind you, I'm not saying that the business men frequented the Coast. I would not be so bold."

Quite some years ago, Officer Young was born in Sacramento, but he had vision enough to come to this city forty-three years back. Three times, he has worked out of Harbor station, having been connected with it the last time since 1914.

"I used to love baseball," says Officer Young, his kindly eyes crinkling in reminiscence. "But I've gotten over it. Same as prize fights. I used to like to go to them. But there aren't any fights worth going to any more."

Officer Young insists that his most vivid recollection of his years of service out of Harbor station is the time some workmen, engaged in excavating for a new building, dug up an old scow on Battery street.

"The old ship had apparently sunk at the dock in the days when the water came up to Montgomery street and beyond. It probably was one of those old vessels that tied up along Long Wharf and, becoming water-logged and a permanent resident, was turned into a lodging house.

"But what crimes—

"Ships are more friendly," he said, and walked off.

(TOMORROW—Battalion Chief John E. Gavin of the Fire Department.)

IMAGE: William H. Young

IMAGE: William H. Young

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, 03 October 1930, page 5.


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