The undistributed outside lands to be disposed of comprised eighty-four hundred acres. The supervisors determined to reserve one thousand acres for a park. Some wanted to improve the opportunity to secure without cost considerably more. The Bulletin advocated an extension that would bring a bell-shaped panhandle down to the Yerba Buena Cemetery, property owned by the city and now embraced in the Civic Center. After long consideration a compromise was made by which the claimants paid to those whose lands were kept for public use ten per cent of the value of the lands distributed. By this means 1,347.46 acres were rescued, of which Golden Gate Park included 1,049.31, the rest being used for a cemetery, Buena Vista Park, public squares, school lots, etc. The ordinances accomplishing the qualified boon to the city were fathered by McCoppin and Clement. Other members of the committee, immortalized by the streets named after them, were Clayton, Ashbury, Cole, Shrader, and Stanyan.
The story of the development of Golden Gate Park is well known. The beauty and charm are more eloquent than words, and John McLaren, ranks high among the city’s benefactors.
The years from 1860 to 1870 marked many changes in the character and appearance of San Francisco. Indeed, its real growth and development date from the end of the first decade. Before that we were clearing off the lot and assembling the material. The foundation of the structure that we are still building was laid in the second decade. Statistics establish the fact. In population we increased from less than 57,000 to 150,000—163 per cent. In the first decade our assessed property increased $9,000,000; in the second, $85,000,000. Our imports and exports increased from $3,000,000 to $13,000,000. Great gain came through the silver production, but greater far from the development of the permanent industries of the land—grain, fruit, lumber—and the shipping that followed it.
The city made strides in growth and beauty. Our greatest trial was too much prosperity and the growth of luxury and extravagance.
LATER SAN FRANCISCO
In a brief chapter little can be offered that will tell the story of half a century of life of a great city. No attempt will be made to trace its progress or to recount its achievement. It is my purpose merely to record events and occurrences that I remember, for whatever interest they may have or whatever light they may throw on the life of the city or on my experience in it.
For many years we greatly enjoyed the exhibits and promenade concerts of the Mechanics’ Institute Fairs. The large pavilion also served a useful purpose in connection with various entertainments demanding capacity. In 1870 there was held a very successful musical festival; twelve hundred singers participated and Camilla Urso was the violinist. The attendance exceeded six thousand.