1870: the SF Drydock Co. opens for business
The California Drydock Company opens the shipyard at Hunters Point for commercial service. One commentator predicts that the “dock will draw hither ships from all parts of the North and perhaps, also, of the South Pacific.” He is right. By the turn of the century it is the busiest concern of its kind on the Pacific coast.
1870: English brew satisfies San Francisco
John Burnell, an English transplant to San Francisco, gets a thirst for his homeland ales. He finds a steady supply of fresh water at a natural spring in Hunters Point and builds the Albion Ale and Porter Brewery on top of it. Constructing the brewery in the style of a Norman castle, he erects beneath it extensive underground reservoirs, as well as mysterious tunnels and dungeons. Here Burnell stores his beer to maintain “cellar temperature,” in keeping with the English brewing tradition. He imports hops from Scotland and bottles from England. The building, now a private residence, still stands at 881 Innes St. The brewery is active until 1919, when Prohibition forces its doors to close. The building, now a private residence, still stands at 881 Innes St.
1875: An iconic American brand is born
Levi Strauss and two colleagues purchase the Mission and Pacific Woolen Mills. They repurpose the company’s blanket-weaving facility in Hunters Point to make flannel linings for their riveted dungarees.
1878: San Francisco gets its first taste of weird
While pumping out the drydock at Hunters Point to repair the cargo freighter Colima, Captain R.P. Davis discovers a strange-looking fish at the bottom of the graving works. Going for a closer look, he finds an octopus about two feet in length. He manages to keep it alive for two days, then preserves it in alcohol and sends it to Woodward’s Gardens, a popular amusement park in the Mission, where it is marveled at by children of all ages.