Archeological dig in along San Francisco's waterfront may yield clues to Gold Rush past

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Just across the street from ABC7 studios archeologist are researching a mystery. Have they discovered a missing piece of San Francisco's Gold Rush past?

ABC7 Anchor Dan Ashley talks with news producer and San Francisco history buff, Ken Miguel to talk about what might be hidden just below the surface.

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's waterfront was once a shallow muddy cove that stretched to Montgomery Street where today's TransAmerica Pyramid was built. In fact, when the tower was built in the early 1970's, contractors recovered the remains of a historic ship, the Niantic.

In the 1850s, Ships like the Niantic were often abandon by gold seeking miners who hit the beaches of San Francisco, and immediately headed to hills in search of riches. With no one to return them to their original ports, many ships were pulled ashore and turned into hotels, stores, homes, even brigs, or prisons. Some were sunk to fill in the bay, and others were used to build piers that would eventually turn into many of the city's financial district streets.

On Front Street, there are several buildings that date back to the Gold Rush, brick warehouses, which once sat on the edge of the Bay. Today, what was once a waterfront boardwalk is now a sidewalk, and the waterway in front of it, is Front Street, two blocks away from the bay itself.

San Francisco burned to the ground several times in the 1850's, and the piers, and many of the ships burned with it. But we are now getting a glimpse of what might be left from the early days, as archeologist dig at a construction site destined to be affordable housing.
The company working on the project isn't talking about what we they have uncovered, but from the looks of it, it appears to be a series of wooden beams, and possible piles of debris. Is it a ship? Is it a wharf? We'll be watching closely to keep you posted.
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