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3 Buried Ships on Clay Street

Buried Ships on Clay Street

Buried Ships on Clay Street
This plaque marks the spot where in 1978, a buried ship called the Niantic was rediscovered. You might wonder what's a buried ship doing right here several blocks from the shoreline and in the middle of the Financial District. Back in the late 1840s, the water actually came all the way up to more or less where the Transamerica Pyramid building stands today, and this whole area was full of abandoned ships. Over the years, these ships were buried in as they reclaimed the land and extended the shoreline down to its present-day location. If you visit the Maritime Museum near Fisherman's Wharf, you can see a section of the Niantic's hull, and that was recovered when they did excavations in this area. So why were all these ships abandoned here? Well, that we can find out on the next one, the General Harrison, which is just a block over this way. People walking along here often don't realize that this sidewalk has a very special story because this red line here marks the boundary of a ship that's buried right beneath us, the General Harrison. If we have a look at this black area here, that's the inside of the ship. We can see a lot of details of the items that were discovered on board, like these little nails and screws here. The General Harrison arrived here at the height of the Gold Rush, much like the Niantic a block or so that way which arrived in 1849, a year after gold had been discovered. Most of the crews of both ships ran off to try their luck at finding gold. That was very common in those days, and exactly the reason why there were so many abandoned ships left here. A lot of those ships started to be used for other purposes like the Niantic out there which was used for a warehouse, and then a store, and then a fancy hotel for a while, but eventually, all the ships, either burnt or were sunk, became a part of the foundations of the new ground that was laid out here. This recreation of a little wooden mooring post here is a reminder back to the 1800s from the shoreline down there to the stretch right up behind me. And a lot of these roads here running between Broadway and California, including Clay Street here itself, well, they started out as wooden wharfs sticking out into the water. A lot of the roads that cross them, like Battery here, well, they would have been little wooden walkways connecting those wharfs.
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Balance Place

3 Balance Place

Balance Place

Transamerica Redwood Park

Transamerica Redwood Park

Transamerica Redwood Park

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