This tour focuses on the Antebellum and Civil War eras in mid-19th century San Francisco which coincided with a worldwide migration to the city seeking gold and silver riches. Join Monika on a walking/riding tour* visiting historic sites that remain from the city's earliest days. Learn about the daily dramas and colorful characters, both on and off local theater stages, that developed in San Francisco during the years leading up to the War.
Our journey will take us back to the San Francisco of the 1850s and 1860s when it was filled with transplanted Northerners and Southerners from the east coast, drawn by the potential of adventures and wealth, but shadowed by their ties to the political, economic and slavery-related tensions of the era that traveled west with them. Many thousands made the arduous journey to San Francisco where these tensions increased throughout the 1850s as war threatened the United States. Learn how these Argonauts transformed the small, frontier town of Yerba Buena into the Queen City of the West: San Francisco.
Following introductory comments in the Civic Center area, the tour will visit 1850s-era historic sites in the Black Point area where Monika will talk about its former occupants and the changes that occurred there with the onset of the Civil War. Antebellum-era ghosts still haunt the area! We will then move on to explore more of old, mid-19th century San Francisco, now hidden amidst Chinatown, the Jackson Square district and within the Financial District. Along the way, you will learn about the origins of various sites and street names in the city stemming from the Antebellum and Civil War eras. You will also hear stories about theaters, ships, old wharves and the Pony Express. Stops include the site of San Francisco's first newspaper; an 1854 building built by a local banker and future Union Army general; an 1851-era saloon; and the 1851 burial site of the General Harrison. We will visit San Francisco's original, gold-inspired U.S. branch mint, dating to 1854, where Monika will discuss the perils of Confederate raids on the city. Weekday tours will also visit a small museum, housed in a bank founded in 1864 and fueled by silver, which exhibits various artifacts from the second half of the 19th century, including pistols from an infamous 1859 duel.
Tour features Monika's witty, but accurate, commentary plus her collection of vintage maps and photographs which make the past come alive.
San Francisco neighborhoods (View)
Meet at San Francisco City Hall, northwest corner: Polk and Grove Streets
San Francisco, CA 94102