Forest of Masts
"Forest of Masts." Yerba Buena Cove in 1851, view to the east.

During the Gold Rush, Yerba Buena Cove began to fill with abandoned ships, which had been used to transport gold seekers to California along with the goods to support them. By 1851, the waterfront was referred to as a "forest of masts" because it was so clogged with ships.

Having outstripped demand for their usual services due to sheer numbers and by the lack of a labor force to man them, the ships that lay idle were immediately available for relatively inexpensive and rapid conversion to floating storage. Since construction materials were scarce, some vessels were converted into buildings and some were salvaged for materials.

Previous  Next