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Eighteen Churches in S.F.; 8000 Communicants in '50

San Francisco was a city of between 25,000 and 30,000 population in 1850, when statehood was granted by Congress and while there were plenty of saloons--537, to be exact, 1851--there also were several churches.

In the following year, records reveal there were 18 churches in the city boasting a combined membership of 8000 persons, a much larger number than is usually accredited to the city in those early days.

These churches were of various denominations, and while none was an outstanding structure architecturally, yet many of them were very substantial and commodious.

From the records of those times it is found that San Francisco had 250 streets and alleys, 15 fire companies, 2 public squares, 16 hotels, 63 bakeries and 20 bathing places--not beaches, but baths where those who lived in bathless hotels and homes could bathe, usually on Saturday and Sunday nights.

There were 19 banking firms here in 1850, and 18 public schools with 21 teachers and 1259 pupils. Two hundred attorneys found plenty for them to do, as this was the "crime period" which led directly to the formation of the first Vigilance Committee in 1851.

There were 12 newspapers, 1 philharmonic society, 5 theaters, 2 race courses, 12 large halls, 12 long wharves and 42 wholesale liquor houses beside the 537 saloons.

The "high cost of living" was real high in 1850. From a menu of that day the prices would give the diner of today heart failure.

Bean soup cost $1, while oxtail was $1.50. Roast beef (Mexican) prime cut was $1.50 a portion, but the "up along" cut was only $1. Plain beef with potatoes was $1.25 and "same from the states" was $1.50.

This list of entrees was formidable. Sauerkraut was$1, fried bacon $1, stuffed bacon $1, "hash, low grade," was 75 cents, but "hash, 18 karat," was $1.

Foodstuff listed under the title game included codfish balls, per paid, 75 cents; grizzly roast, $1, and jackass rabbit, whole, $1.

Rice pudding, plain, was 75 cents; rice pudding with molasses was $1 and rice pudding with brandied peaches was $2.

A "square meal" cost the flat rate of $3 and all food was "payable in advance, gold scales on the case."

The Bulletin
Diamond Jubilee Edition
September 1925

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