The City That Was - A Requiem Of Old San Francisco By Will Irwin





































































































































 - The City That Was - A requiem of Old San Francisco 

By Will Irwin

Note - This is a recast of a - Page 1
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The City That Was - A Requiem Of Old San Francisco

By Will Irwin

Note - This is a recast of a newspaper article of the same title published in The Sun April 21, 1906, three days after the Visitation came upon San Francisco. It is here published by special permission of The Sun. For the title, I am indebted to Franklin Matthews. W.I.

"I'd rather be a busted lamp post on Battery Street, San Francisco, than the Waldorf-Astoria." - Willie Britt.

The old San Francisco is dead. The gayest, lightest hearted, most pleasure loving city of the western continent, and in many ways the most interesting and romantic, is a horde of refugees living among ruins. It may rebuild; it probably will; but those who have known that peculiar city by the Golden Gate, have caught its flavor of the Arabian Nights, feel that it can never be the same. It is as though a pretty, frivolous woman had passed through a great tragedy. She survives, but she is sobered and different. If it rises out of the ashes it must be a modern city, much like other cities and without its old atmosphere.

San Francisco lay on a series of hills and the lowlands between. These hills are really the end of the Coast Range of mountains, which stretch southward between the interior valleys and the Pacific Ocean. Behind it is the ocean; but the greater part of the town fronts on two sides on San Francisco Bay, a body of water always tinged with gold from the great washings of the mountain, usually overhung with a haze, and of magnificent color changes. Across the bay to the north lies Mount Tamalpais, about 3,000 feet high, and so close that ferries from the waterfront take one in less than half an hour to the little towns of Sausalito and Belvidere, at its foot.

Tamalpais is a wooded mountain, with ample slopes, and from it on the north stretch away ridges of forest land, the outposts of the great Northern woods of Sequoia sempervirens. This mountain and the mountainous country to the south bring the real forest closer to San Francisco than to any other American city. Within the last few years men have killed deer on the slopes of Tamalpais and looked down to see the cable cars crawling up the hills of San Francisco to the south. In the suburbs coyotes still stole in and robbed hen roosts by night. The people lived much out of doors. There is no time of the year, except a short part of the rainy season, when the weather keeps one from the fields. The slopes of Tamalpais are crowded with little villas dotted through the woods, and these minor estates run far up into the redwood country. The deep coves of Belvidere, sheltered by the wind from Tamalpais, held a colony of "arks" or houseboats, where people lived in the rather disagreeable summer months, coming over to business every day by ferry.

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