favorite old timey SF stories & PHB

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Post Holiday Blues

In my world this is manifested by a video-athon. Three years ago it was Flambards, the pretty much unknown British TV series from the 80s, depicting a young heiress’ life in late victorian to modern period. She was into horses. Then, two years ago it was the DVD comedy series my sister in law gave me, compounded by lots of pie and champagne. Last year I was renting nameless Chinese and Black and White movies from the public library. This year, I’m succumbing to my craving for well-dressed factoid pundits, namely, West Wing. Also reacting aversely to New Year’s resolutions and my eating habits have gone to pot: toast, toast, and more toast.

Old Timey Stories of SF
Based on the super positive response to the Buried Ships post, I thought I’d share other old timey stories.

Now I just have to think of them.

Oh, right. One reason why the oldest neighborhood, Jackson Square, exists to this day and wasn’t razed by fires– as every neighborhood was in the early days– is that the private fire departments were Irish. Jackson Square consisted of warehouse upon warehouse of whiskey and beer. ta-da. Chuckles la la.

Learned from my sis who has taken real tours that after the ’06, New Jersey contributed bricks, that were yellow, so many of the fronts of buildings are done in New Jersey brick. Chinatown got most of them, I forget why.

The most Chinese looking architecture in Chinatown was done by a white, American developer, who was leveraging it for its tourist potential. Thanks for that factoid to my Mom, who also knows what the word is for the side of the building where it interlocks with the other side of the building, in brickwork. I think her dad was a brick layer. Heritage lost on me, as I can’t remember what she told me.

In a racist legislative act by California in the 1800s (will look up date and re-post), Chinese were limited to owning property in a one-mile square, which is Chinatown. Despite being the largest ethnic percentage of workers building the trans-pacific railroad, which put California on the map for many economic reasons, The Chinese couldn’t own property. So lame. In reading about this found banana, a history of evil things California did to those of Chinese descent. Far more comprehensive than I could hope to write here. The ban on owning property is further extended to a ban on getting naturalized as a citizen, and aliens not being allowed to buy property, dating back very far into SF history.

There were fake tours in the early 1900s in the “labyrinths” of chinatown, which didn’t exist. There’s a funny Vincent Price movie about this. Tales of an Opium Eater.

One street, Gold Street, was where miners could have their gold assessed and cashed in. There was another street, Balance, which leads to Gold, where the gold was weighed. Gold Street was also a notorious place to spend your cash. The city came down hard on Gold Street, making it illegal to sell vice things there, so they picked up and moved to Broadway, which remains today the vice district.

A fact I knew but hadn’t sunk in until I moved here and then visited Beijing. The old Chinese name for SF is “jiu4 jin` shan1” old gold mountain, kind of revered ancient place where you can find fortune.