Archeologist sift for clues to San Francisco's Gold Rush past

ByTim Didion and Larry Beil KGO logo
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Archeologist sift for clues to San Francisco's Gold Rush pastArcheologist sift for clues to San Francisco's Gold Rush past
Archeologist and construction crews are diligently combing through dirt along San Francisco's waterfront, where they believe they have uncovered part of the city's Gold Rush past.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Crews at Front Street and Broadway near San Francisco's financial district are busy digging for the City's new gold, residential housing. But sources familiar with the construction project are also describing some smaller treasures to ABC7, possible remnants of the city's Gold Rush era waterfront.

Finding evidence of San Francisco's maritime past is not unusually in San Francisco. Every couple years when ground breaks on a project along San Francisco's waterfront, construction crews find old ships, foundations, or other clues to the city's Gold Rush.

"We were involved a little bit with the Rome, which was unearthed during the Muni," Stephen Canright is with the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.

He pointed out at the remnants of the Rome, a Gold Rush era ship, are currently just part of Muni's lightrail. Trains pass right through the hull of the buried ship every day.

Canright has no direct knowledge about the Front street construction project, but says the area was the site of long wharfs, or piers that were built along the historical shoreline, that once started near today's Montgomery Street in San Francisco's Financial District.

Researchers with the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park have also mapped the location of dozens of ships that were grounded in the area.

"Some of the ships were sunk as foundations, others of the ships were pulled up onto the mud to be used essentially as buildings," said Canright.

Over the decades, remnants of those old ships and their cargo have been uncovered.