It’s been a long-known an entirely true local legend that a few dozen Gold Rush-era ships remain buried beneath what we now call the Financial District of San Francisco. But a new map just produced by the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park show there are even more of these buried ships than we’d ever realized before, and gives fascinating insights into how we still interact with these buried ships in ways we don’t realize.
Via a National Geographic report, the Maritime Park has released a new Buried Ships of Yerba Buena Cove map. (Yerba Buena Cove is a now non-existent shorefront that was turned into landfill that comprises parts of the Financial District and Rincon Hill). While there have been previous San Francisco buried ship maps, this one is the most complete, detailed, and well-researched version yet.
Perhaps the coolest tidbit of information is that the N-Judah, T-Third, and K-Ingleside Muni trains all run through the hull of an abandoned ship. That ship is the Rome, shown in orange circle near the Ferry Building in the image above.
Many of the archaeologists’ findings show evidence of a go-go San Francisco real estate rush with parallels to today. This region was water at the time, but many real estate speculators sunk these ships on purpose. “You could sink a ship and claim the land under it,” Maritime Park curator Richard Everett tells National Geographic.
These waters were of course filled to make land, which still has ramifications today. Just ask the sinking Millennium Tower and its jilted residents.
This new map is not the final version, and will still receive a few more updates. The finished version will be on display at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in Fisherman’s Wharf.