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January 10, 1862: San Francisco

January 10, 2012

Windshield 06

Rainy day on Polk Street; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Daily Alta California, January 10, 1862:

The rain storm of yesterday was renewed at an early hour this morning, the waters pouring down with a volume and violence almost unprecedented, even in California. The waters were fairly pumped out of the clouds, and the consequence is that considerable damage has resulted to such portions of the city as would receive the drainage of the streets built on the hill sides….

Montgomery street never presented a like view as it did about 8 A.M., for nearly the while length from Market to Jackson was covered with water, and some places over the curb and sidewalks. A large amount of water and mud inundated cellars, but further damage was prevented by the prompt removal of the culvert and sewer covers, which soon reduced the accumulated waters….

To show how heavy was the fall of rain the past twenty-four hours, the gauge, (which, if anything, is inclined to under rather than overrate) at nine A.M. to-day indicated that 3 40/100ths inches of rain had fallen since nine A.M. yesterday, giving us nearly a foot of rain within seven days.

The greatest damage has been done to that portion of the city lying at the base of the hills. On Bush street, between Kearny and Montgomery, where a sewer was in course of construction, a large gully was washed away, and the water and mud ran into the cellars on the four corners of of Montgomery Street, doing the most damage to the Tontine and Occidental buildings….

Below Sansome street nearly all the cellars were filled with water, and the services of the Fire Department were called into requisition, and their apparatus used to pump them clear….

Cliff Detail

Telegraph Hill cliff after massive rockfall, February 2007; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Dwelling houses built on declivities of hills suffered considerably, quite a number in the norther and southern portions of the city being inundated, and we have heard of several instances where the water filled the lower story….Those built on streets recently improved by grading–either by filling up or cutting down–also suffered, as large masses of earth and stone have been washed away and in some locations near North Beach, the newly filled streets have been washed away in various places.

On Second and Third streets the planking and sidewalks have suffered considerably. The top of the sewer or fire cistern (we do not know which) at the intersection of Mission and Second caved in, and a large, and by no means inviting hole, left in the centre of the street.

The morning stage for San José…was forced to return to the city after going three miles, the county road being impassible.
The waters in Mission Creek have overflowed their boundaries, and Brannan street, in part with the flats in that vicinity, have been flooded….

The head waters of Mission Creek overflowed the Willows, carrying off a number of the improvements.

The Market street Railroad track was washed away by the flooding of a branch of Mission Creek, which runs by the Acid Factory….
The buildings on Post street, between Stockton and Powell, have from eight to ten feet of water in them….

The various streams feeding the Mission Creek have all overflowed, and much damage has been done to gardens and residences.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 13, 2013 3:54 pm

    A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I do think that you should write more on this issue, it may not be a taboo subject but generally folks don’t talk about such topics. To the next! Cheers!!

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