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San Francisco Neighborhood

This Web site was funded by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

It was created by Anthropological Studies Center (ASC).

Block 4


Learn about the O'Neil Family
Learn about the Wendt Family


Leveling sand hills on Eighth Street in the 1860s. Gordon’s Sugar Refinery at right. Courtesy of the Bancroft Library, University of California, BerkeleyThis block is bounded by Harrison, Bryant, Seventh and Eighth streets, and in the nineteenth century included four interior streets or alleys. During the Gold Rush sand hills up to 40 ft. high covered the block, sloping down to marshlands near Bryant and Seventh streets.

The first houses on the block were built in the mid-1850s and probablyDouble-click to view larger image housed workers at the nearby George Gordon’s San Francisco Sugar Refinery. By 1868 many of the sand hills on the block had been leveled and houses and some tenements began to fill its interior alleyways.

Many of the early landowners on the block were tradesmen who took in lodgers to supplement their incomes. Later, residents during the 1870s and 1880s were more likely to be working-class Irish laborers struggling to find employment.

The earthquake and fire of 1906 leveled almost the entire block. It was Double-click to view larger imagerebuilt with a mixture of wood-framed flats and light-industrial buildings.


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