What a Rush

This might shock you, but San Francisco has a debaucherous past. Once home to less than 500 people, as soon as James Marshall found gold in them thar hills, the population began to double every 10 days, creating a Boomtown full of saloons, sailors, slummers, and sinners. This was an era where the city burned down frequently, where a murder a week was not news, and where robbing newly arrived Oregonians had its own slang phrase (“jayhawk a webfoot”). While that colorful history is behind us (mostly), you can still experience S.F.'s bawdy past rendered in miniature with the fifth-annual Garden Railway exhibition, “Boomtown: Barbary Coast.” In addition to the popular model trains, witness historic versions of landmarks like Union Square and Maiden Lane, which is now a fancypants shopping center, but was once home to the best dives and brothels in the city; gawk at the houses built on abandoned ships; and marvel at the shanties, schooners, and S.F. eccentrics of yore. Since it wouldn't be S.F. without an eye toward sustainability, all replicas were made of recycled and repurposed materials.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 16. Continues through April 14, 2012

Tags: , , , ,

Related Stories