San Francisco History



No.1a. Four fifty vara lots: facing Montgomery street, one hundred vara; on Clay street, one hundred vara; on Sacramento street one hundred vara. On this property was built by Jacob P. Lease, a large two-story frame building, also, an adobe ware-house. The same property was sold to the Hudson Bay Company for a store-house and private dwelling. The Hudson Bay Company sold it to Howard and Mellis; who also carried on a store. This same building in 1850 was made into a hotel, called the ''United States.''

No. 2a. A ship's cabin, belonging to Nathan Spear, also a house, belonging to William C. Hinckley. This was a fifty vara lot, owned by the above named. This house of Hinckley's in 1846, was used for a short time by Washington A. Bartlett, as Alcalda's office, afterwards used by Frank Ward, as a store for general merchandise. In '48 Ward and Smith kept the same store as partners. In '47 Davis kept a store in the ship's cabin.

No. 3a. Two fifty vara lots, owned by Captain Vioght, on which was the Billiard-room and Saloon, kept by Ridley, who, in 1846, sold out to Brown. In September, 1846, Brown opened a restaurant in this building, which he bought of Ridley, he also started a regular hotel, which was the first one opened in the city. The name was the ''Portsmouth House,'' in which afterwards a store was kept by Finley Johnson and Austin, of Baltimore.

No. 4a. Two fifty vara lots, the property of John C. Davis, on Kearny and Washington streets. A part of a fifty vara lot, on Kearny street was sold in 1846, to Dr. Powell. The balance of the property in 1849, was leased for building purposes. On the corner of Washington and Kearny streets was a gambling saloon, known as the ''Verandah.'' Over the saloon was the first Miners' bank. On Washington street was Smiley's hardware store. The next was a liquor and gambling saloon.

No. 5a. A fifty vara lot, belonging to Pedro Sherback, with a small frame house, used for a family residence. Half of this lot was sold to Gleason and Southard; they sold to Robert A. Parker. A small piece was sold, fronting on Kearny street, to Benjamin Lippencott, who also sold it to Parker. The corner of Washington and Kearny streets was sold to the Eldorado men. The balance was sold some time after, with the frame building. On the fifty vara lot was the Eldorado, the Parker House, the Dennison House, the Jenny Lind Theatre, the Union Hotel, and, what is now known as the Old City Hall.

No. 6a. Two fifty vara lots, owned by Jack Fuller. He always claimed four. On this property were two small frame houses and an adobe bake oven. In one of these houses Captain Leidsoff kept a store. The other was used as a private dwelling.

No. 7a. One fifty vara lot, the private residence of Jesus Noe, also used as Alcalda's office, under the Mexican Government.

No. 8a. A fifty vara lot, the property of Gustave Andrews, of Salem, Mass., a house-carpenter. The premises were used as a private dwelling. In this house Nathan Spear died.

No. 9a. A fifty vara lot, the property in '45 of the wife of George Davis, who had baked hard bread at Sutter's Fort. This land was sold the same year, to John Finch, who built, in 1845, a blacksmith's shop and liquor saloon. In 1847, he built a store for a cigar-maker, named Dougherty, who was shot in a house near Clark's wharf, in 1848,. On the same property, in 1849, was built the New Miners' Bank and the Bella Union Theatre. The Miners' Bank was afterwards used as a Custom-House; after that, by Palmer Cook & Co., as a Banking House, (after leaving the old adobe Custom-House).

No. 10a. A fifty vara lot, with a small frame building; the property in '45 of Mr. Dopkin, a German by birth, a tailor by trade. He traded his property to Andrew Hepner, for a garden and house, at Mission Dolores. Hepner left the city in 1846, for Sonoma, where he obtained a ranch as payment, for teaching music to General Vallejo's family.

No. 11a. A fifty vara lot, owned by John Cooper, (better known as ''Jack the soldier'') on which was a small frame house. In this house the negotiation was made in 1848 for Goat Island. Many other negotiations for other property was made here after the hoisting of the American Flag in 1848.

No. 12a. A fifty vara lot, the property of Stephen Smith, of Bodego, containing a good frame house; which was the residence of Sam Brannan for over a year. In front were four fifty vara lots; this was known as the Public Square. On this lot, in '45, there was a long adobe building. The adobe building was close to Washington street. On the other corner, facing Clay street, was a frame building. It was used as a school-house in 1847. Mr. Marston was the school teacher. This school-house was afterwards used for the court-house and for public elections, in '49, when T. M. Leavensworth was elected. In '49 it was used by Mallaka Fallon, as a place in which to keep prisoners. It was, also, used in '49 for church purposes. These houses have since been removed, but the map will show where they were originally located.

No. 13a. Four fifty vara lots, the property of John Cooper and brother, of Monterey. This property contained a small dilapidated frame house, used as the private residence of Mr. Glover, who was the right hand man of Sam Brannan, until he went to Salt Lake.

No. 14a. A fifty vara lot, with a large adobe house, the property of Captain Fisher and McKinley. In the early part of 1846, this building was occupied by Josiah Belding, now living in San Jose. The building was used as a dry goods store. At the arrival of the Mormons, in the month of July 1846, it was rented by them. In 1847, it was rented by Robert A. Parker; in 1848, it was rented by Captain Dring, an Englishman as a store, and for a family residence. It was also used for a short time, as Alcalda's office, by Washington A. Bartlett.

No 15a. A fifty vara lot, the property of Mr. Kline, a German by birth, who had a small building, a part of which was used as a work shop. Kline was a locksmith by trade; he made spurs and bridlebits for the Californians, by which he accumulated considerable money. He left California for Germany in the latter part of 1847; but, returned in 1851, and opened a gun and locksmith shop on Kearny street, near Bush.

No. 16a. A fifty vara lot, the property of John Evans, an Italian by birth. On which was a small house. in which he, himself lived.

No. 17a. A fifty vara lot, containing a small adobe house and out buildings. This property, in 1847, was used as a tannery, by an Englishman, by the name of Richard Kirby. I believe this to be the first tannery in this city.

No. 18b. A fifty vara lot, the property of Robert T. Ridley, who resided on it with his family, in the latter part of 1846. This property was sold to Captain Leidsoff, in 1847, for two thousand dollars. On this land now stands the Stevenson House.

No. 19b. A fifty vara lot, the property of Francisco Sanchez; a very small frame house, occupied in 1846 by Henry Harris and family. The former was a house-carpenter. He arrived here on the ship ''Brooklyn.''

No. 20b. A fifty vara lot, the property of William A. Leidsoff. The frontage of this house was one hundred and thirty-seven feet, with a wing of sixty feet at each end. The first floor of this property was finished in June, 1846, and Leidsoff commenced moving his store to his new building. The bar and billiard-rooms were opened on the 15th day of July. The upper part was not finished until March 1847. This property was known as Brown's Hotel and as the City Hotel.

No. 21b. A fifty vara lot, with a small adobe house, the whole being the property of Captain Voiget, and used as a family residence by him.

No. 22b. A fifty vara lot, the property of Mr. Bennett. This house was opened in the early part of '46. In the early part of 1847, a bowling alley was built on the same lot.

No. 23b. A fifty vara lot, containing two frame buildings on Sacramento street, finished in the early part of '48. The same year one house was leased to Hiram Grimes, afterwards used as Peachy and Billings office. I think the same building is now standing. The property belonged to William A. Leidsoff.

No. 24b. A fifty vara lot, the property of John Patey; a large adobe building. This property was finished in 1848 and occupied by Starky & Co., from the Islands. Mr. Falkner, head clerk; Mr. White, porter. After they left, one part of it was used as a gambling house, the other for the post-office. In the upper part was the court house.

No. 25c. A small frame house, the property of William Davis, where T. M. Leavensworth kept the first drug store in 1847.

No. 26c. The property of General Vallejo, and containing only adobe walls, afterwards divided into building lots, and sold at auction. Borgenes banking house was on the corner, while the Delmonico's restaurant faced on Montgomery street, where now stands the Montgomery Bath House and Barber Shop, also, Cronon and Markley's clothing store.

No. 27c. A fifty vara lot, the property of Rose and Reynolds. On this land there was a frame store, built by Alfred J. Ellis, for Charles Ross, for the sale of general merchandise. This store was also used as a post-office.

No. 28c. The property of Dr. Townsend. No improvments.

No. 29 and 30c. Granted to two Mexicans, living in Sonoma. One lot, with adobe walls, which was fitted up in 1847 by Parker and Egleson, for a butcher shop and slaughter house.

No. 31c. Jesus Noe, better known as Lafan's building, was called the Portsmouth House, also, used for a post-office.

No. 32c. Merrimontes, a small frame building sold to Leidsoff.

No. 33. Property of William Leidsoff.

No. 34. Owned by Mrs. Montgomery. A small house was built on this property in 1847.

No. 35c. Four fifty vara lots, the property of Rose and Reynolds, a small piece of which was sold in 1847 to Mr. Hall and wife, who built a small cottage on it for a family residence. The former was a native of Bath., England, and came here from Australia, where he returned again after the gold discovery, to look after a large amount of property, which he owned there.

No. 36c. A fifty vara lot, owned by Tom Smith, the shoemaker, (who was also a sailor-catcher), and John Cousins, a butcher by trade, both Englishman, and John Aleck, a German and shoemaker by trade. This property was sold to Alexander Patterson and William Upham, in 1849.

No. 37c. This property belonged to Francis G. Owen, who built on it the first brewery.

No. 38c. The property of Edward Harrison, containing four small cottage houses.

No. 39c. The property of George Kittleman, on which a tavern, called the Rising Sun was located.

No. 40c. Owned by John Searine, who built a small house on it for the use of his family.

No. 41. A log house, built by the United States Government in the year 1846, mounted by a heavy gun, from the sloop of war Portsmouth, afterwards used for a prison.

On the vacant lot on the map between 7a and 20b a drug store was built in 1848, also a frame building by George Hyde, who was Alcalda at this time.

Robert A. Parker moved in his new store, a two-story building on Clay street, in the month of March, 1848. On the same lot, where the Old Mill House stood. In '49 Parker left and it was occupied by James Riddle, as an auctioneers's store. A man by the name of Bucklow, in 1848 built a dwelling and store on a piece of land, known as the Point. and carried on there the watch-making business. The last fifty vara lot, granted under the Mexican Government, was in favor of Francisco Gursha, a Mexican. He sold to Robert T. Ridley. The latter sold it to John C. Davis, for fifty dollars, with which to pay a debt. It was afterwards purchased by a person by the name of Knight. This lot was opposite what is now known as the Stevenson House, the largest part of which was in the water.

There were many other lots granted that were fenced in, which I have not made mention of, as they were of no importance. After the American Flag was hoisted, the town was staked off, and some lots were claimed by half a dozen persons. The water lots were sold at auction, by order of Commodore Stockton, and those having property not fenced in were allowed a further time to comply with the laws. In 1848 many buildings were underway, several were on Powell street, where Mr. Merrill owned a large boarding house, and Mr. Charles Ross a private dwelling, while George Eagleson, Mr. Jackson Greyson and many others owned property in the same part of town on Clay street, facing the Square. Mr. George Hyde had a drug store, built by Leidsoff; Dickson and Hays had a store down on the Point, near Alfred Ellis' house. Cross and Hobson were on Clay street, on the Old Mill House lot.

Source: Brown, John H. Reminiscences and Incidents of "The Early Days" of San Francisco. 1886: San Francisco, CA. Reprinted, 1933: San Francisco.  Library of Congress, "California as I Saw It:" First-Person Narratives of California's Early Years, 1849-1900.


Return to San Francisco History Index
Public Commons License