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Full text of "Report of Marsden Manson to the Mayor and Committee on Reconstruction on those portions of the Burnham plans which meet our commercial necessities : and an estimate of the cost of the same : fire avenues and thoroughfares, lowering Rincon Hill, auxiliary fire system, water front improvements, Oct. 1906"

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s&tftofow'&umoM ROOM 






Book No 





FORM 3427 SOOO 10-48 

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in 2012 with funding from 

California State Library Califa/LSTA Grant 








Now Necessary to Execute 


An Estimate of the Cost of the Same 










Portions of the Burnham Plans 



An Estimate of the Cost of the Same 






To the Public : — 

I have carefully examined the plans 
submitted by Mr. Manson for the widening 
and extension of streets and also for better- 
ing the harbor front for better shipping 
facilities. They are in line with what I 
have been planning since the fire and if 
adopted by the people will make San 
Francisco what we expect her to be, one 
of the best and most progressive cities on 
this continent. 

The plans have my hearty endorsement 
and I sincerely hope they will be realized 
at a very early date. 

(Signed) E. E. SCHMITZ, 

X nu Mayor. 

Sept. 28, 1906. ^5*2^ 


September 25, 1906. 

Mayor and Chairman of the Committee on 
My dear Sir: — 

The Committee on the Reconstruction of San 
Francisco, with your approval, directed me to make 
an examination of the reports of the several com- 
mittees. I was instructed to study the plans and 
simplify them, also to make estimates of the cost of 
the more important improvements suggested. 

After several months of careful study I unhesi- 
tatingly recommend to the Mayor and the People 
the carrying out immediately of the following work: 

(a) Widen Folsom street from East to Tenth 
street, and lower the grade from Spear to Third 
street ; 

(b) Extend Montgomery avenue from Wash- 
ington street to Market street ; 

(bi) Widen Fremont street and lower its grade 
as hereinafter named; 

(c) Extend Eighth street to Mariposa street and 
widen this latter street to Illinois street; 

(d) Open a new avenue from the Ferry to Fol- 
som and Fremont streets; 

(e) Close Commercial street and add its width 
to Sacramento and Clay streets; 

(f) Widen Pacific street; 

(g) Widen Sansome street by setting curbs back 
and pass it under Broadway, as recommended by the 
Board of Public Works in 1902-3 ; 

(h) Lower Rincon Hill to a plane sloping from 
Third street to the waterfront ; 

(i) Auxiliary Fire System Salt Water. Con- 
struct fire cisterns as recommended by the Chief of 
the Fire Department, and build one or more pumping 
stations for bay connections with distributing mains. 

Nearly all of these improvements have, with many 
others, been recommended try the Committee on Re- 
construction, and I have selected them by reason of 
their vital relation to the protective commercial and 
industrial needs of the city. 

The relation of these improvements to the future 
growth of the city will appear from Map "A" accom- 
panying this report. I estimate the cost of all the 
lands required to open or to widen the streets named 
above at the sum of $4,695,330.00 I estimate the 
cost of grading and paving all the new oblique 
streets named at $526,250.00; for grading streets 
through Rincon Hill at the sum of $1,100,000.00; 
and for fire cisterns, etc., $1,500,000.00. Total, 
$7,821,580.00. This will make an expenditure of 
less than $7,900,000.00, and will secure all the land 
required and make all the improvements necessary to 
give San Francisco reasonable protection and enable 
her to expand commercially and to achieve her des- 
tiny as the chief city of the Pacific. Such an expen- 
diture made now, should add not less than $75,000,- 
000 to the assessed valuation of city property in ten 
or fifteen years. Five or ten years from now it will 
be absolutely impossible to make these improve- 
ments; they must be made now or they will never be 

It is evident that the property-owners unassisted 
cannot make these improvements. The plans 
recommended affect the whole city. Fire barriers are 
created which, with existing wide thoroughfares, 
will restrict great fires to the district in which the)' 
originate, and they also serve as adequate and direct 
thoroughfares between the water-front and manu- 
facturing and commercial districts, as well as relieve 
the congested condition of the Ferry and Market 

And it will be noted that the fire avenues or high- 
ways herein outlined, together with Market street, 
Van Ness avenue, Channel street and Dolores street, 
divide the city into areas within which conflagra- 
tions can be controlled, and that by systematically 

disposing the auxiliary fire system along these lines 
the areas within them can be subdivided for a more 
detailed distribution ot tire protection. 

The only way to pay for these improvements is 
for the city to authorize a bond issue, the bonds to 
be at least 40-year bonds and bear not more than 4 
per cent interest. These bonds can be readily sold 
and should command a premium. It is evident that 
all the suggestions recommended by the Committee 
on the Reconstruction of San Francisco cannot be 
carried into effect now. Let us commence to carry 
out the improvements that are vital. Other recom- 
mendations by Mr. Burnham and the Committee on 
Reconstruction can be carried into effect at a later 

Before presenting in more detail the principles 
upon which the above improvements were selected 
it is best to present an outline of all the projects 
and the order of their development, as reported by 
the Committee on Reconstruction. These are repro- 
duced on Map "B" of this report. 

There were collected from the Assessor's 
office diagrams of each block cut directly or 
obliquely by the proposed improvements showing 
the area and extent that the property of each owner 
will be affected or cut by these oblique streets; also 
the values of each piece of this property and the 
assessed values of each block on the streets which 
are to be widened. These values are generally about 
60 per cent of the market values, and thus form a 
definite basis on which to determine costs and 

The plans recommended by the Committee of 
Forty are divided by them into four subdivisions, 
rated in accordance to their importance and to the 
date or time they should be carried out and paid 
for. They are: 

FIRST : The work to be carried out immediately 
(designated in blue). 

SECOND: That to be carried out in five years 
(designated in red) . 

THIRD: That to be carried out in ten years 
(designated in green). 

All of these are to be paid for by the City through 
taxes or bonds. 

FOURTH : Those improvements which are to 
be carried out at once by the property-holders, desig- 
nated in yellow. 

Now before considering these plans as essential 
elements in the growth and prosperity of San Fran- 
cisco, it will be necessary to consider those great 
functions which San Francisco must discharge to 
the State, to the country and to the world at large. 
These great functions are commercial. By virtue 
of her geographic position, San Francisco is essen- 
tially a commercial city. Therefore, all develop- 
ments should meet these essential and prime 
requirements first, and next those which are sec- 
ondary. When these essentials shall be ade- 
quately met, the others will take care of themselves. 

It has therefore been found necessary to recast 
these four propositions in their relation to our com- 
mercial development, but to do this it is first 
necessary to bring into the scheme some plan of 
waterfront development. 


The facilities upon our waterfront were utterly 
inadequate before the catastrophe. They are more 
so now. A plan for their betterment and develop- 
ment will be first blocked out. 

It is manifest that the great deficiencies in our 
commercial facilities are: 

(1) Inadequate areas, means and appliances for 
receiving and handling foreign and coastwise freight, 
both in cargoes and carloads. 

(2) Deficient areas and means for handling 
grain, fruit and other domestic products, involving 

direct transfer to and from canneries and factories; 
and to retailers and consumers. 

It is also necessary to note that the mode of pay- 
ing for and administering our present inadequate 
waterfront facilities is radically wrong. We tax 
the commerce of the port not only for the use, main- 
tenance and administration of these facilities, but 
also for their original construction. We lay the 
burden of building and maintaining these structures, 
through a very expensive system of administration, 
upon the commerce of the port; thereby driving 
commerce and shipping to more favorably inclined 
ports instead of offering them every possible induce- 

Furthermore, the prosperity of the entire State is 
dependent upon the extent and manner these facili- 
ties are provided and used and upon the part which 
San Francisco plays in the world's commerce. This 
has been made so manifest by the late catastrophe 
and by our inadequate commercial facilities that 
throughout the State it is recognized that every 
industry must directly or indirectly suffer loss until 
the commercial requirements of this port are 
adequately met. 

The first group of works which should be done is : 

(a) To construct two sections of the seawall 
from Section 14, at the Mail Dock, northerly to the 
foot of Main street, and to fill the seawall lots 
adjacent thereto. 

(b) To provide adequate wharf facilities and 
means for handling fruit and produce adjacent to 
the foot of Jackson street and a fruit market area 
commensurate with the importance and require- 
ments of this industry. 

(c) In conjunction with the city, to provide 
better approaches to the great flat area between 
Third, Mission, Ninth and Channel streets. 

(d) To provide more piers on which rapid trans- 
fer of cargoes can be made. 

(e) To inaugurate seawall building and the pro- 
vision of dockage room in Islais and India basins. 

Secondly, to follow these works with the exten- 
sion of the seawall from Main street to Mission 
street, and to extend the Islais and India basin work 
to completion; and to co-operate with the city and 
with existing and projected railroads in providing 
for rapid handling of freight into and from ware- 
houses and factories. 

The need of these improvements has been made 
so manifest that it is recognized throughout the 
State that until the State can provide the improve- 
ments which she controls, every industry within her 
borders must suffer, and in a measure the commerce 
of the world will be forced to seek other marts. 

These conditions are so evident that upon a proper 
presentation of the conditions the State will be war- 
ranted in making provision for improving the water- 
front and will make such changes in the 
administration of this great work as experience has 
amply demonstrated to be necessary. 

I estimate that there should be made available for 
these works in the next ten years the sum 
of $15,000,000, in sums of $1,500,000 each fiscal 
year, commencing with 1907-8. 

This sum the State should provide by a bond 
issue The assessment roll of the State is now over 
$1,300,000,000. A tax of four and sixty-two one- 
hundredths mills ($00.00462) per $100 of as- 
sessed valuation will pay the interest on each year's 
issue; and, without any increase in the assessment 
roll in the decade following 1907-8 will call for a 
maximum increase in the tax rate of only four and 
sixty-two one hundredths cents ($00.0462) per 
$100 in 1917-18. 

The plan of waterfront development having been 
outlined and the means of its accomplishment indi- 
cated, we can now consider those portions of the 
plans of the Committee of Forty which bear directly 
upon this commercial development. 

These, with minor exceptions, are based on the 


(a) The widening and lowering of the 
grade of Folsom street and its conversion into a great 

thoroughfare parallel to Market street. 

(b) The extension of Montgomery avenue and 
widening and lowering the grade of Fremont street 
as a great thoroughfare parallel to the waterfront. 

(c) The extension of Eighth street to Mariposa 
street, and the widening of this latter street thence 
to Kentucky street as a great thoroughfare west of 
the Railroad yards into the center of the city. 

(d) The opening of a wide thoroughfare from 
East and Market streets diagonally to Folsom street 
and Fremont street. 

(e) The closing of Commercial street and ad- 
ding its width to Clay street and to Sacramento 

(f) The widening of Pacific street. 

(g) The widening of Sansome street by setting 
curbs back and lowering its grade to pass under 
Broadway, as recommended by the Board of Public 
Works in 1902-3. 

(h) Lowering the grades on Rincon Hill as has 
been long discussed and open direct lines of com- 
munication between the water-front from the Ferry 
to Channel street to the great manufacturing and 
commercial area bounded by tfhird, Mission, tfenth 
and Brannan streets. 

All of these thoroughfares should be kept free of 
tracks; and the roadways of other important streets 
should be widened by setting back the cuibs five (5) 
feet, as was done in the case of Third street in 1903. 


It will be noted that three of these improvements 
recommended by the Committee of Forty depend 
upon lowering the grades of Rincon Hill, namely: 
Widening Folsom street and lowering the gradients 
from Main street to Third street; (2) widening 
Fremont street and lowering its gradients from 


Howard street to Brannan street; (3) the oblique 
avenue from East and Market streets to Folsom 
and Fremont will reach this latter intersection ad- 
vantageously only after it shall be lowered from 
20 down to 5 feet. Moreover, upon lowering the 
two great avenues, Fremont Street and Folsom 
street, to reasonable gradients, the remaining streets 
over Rincon Hill must be lowered. 

This long contemplated improvement is the key 
to the great improvements of the commercial facili- 
ties of the city in two ways : 

1st. The area to be lowered is 120 acres, adja- 
cent to the waterfront, but now useless for commer- 
cial purposes. 

2nd. To the west of this area, as far as Ninth 
street, is about twice this area of level lands now 
deprived of direct approach to the waterfront. 

If this hill be removed, there will then be four 
great and direct streets parallel to Market, Mission 
and Howard streets, of equal or greater importance 
in the growth and development of the city. These 
will be Folsom, Harrison, Bryant and Brannan, 
which, after passing through 120 acres of greatly 
improved blocks will extend into an area of 220 
acres exclusive of streets. These four streets will be 
upon lighter and better gradients than the three first 
named streets, and develop and give access to an 
area a mile long by half a mile wide. 

In order to present a definite proposition of the 
possibilities, investment and returns which can be 
secured by grading the whole of Rincon Hill to a 
plane sloping from Third street between Townsend 
and Howard to Spear street, the area to be lowered 
is outlined in yellow on the accompanying map, and 
the present and proposed grades at each street inter- 
section are given. 

The following comparison of values, based on 
the assessments of 1905-6, gives a conservative esti- 
mate of the costs and results of this work: Area 
affected by a change of grade (yellow border), 


4,443' 2 5° square feet, or over 120 acres, exclusive 
of streets, assessed value $3,241,520.00. 

Four million three hundred and eighty-four 
thousand square feet of surrounding and adjoining 
property are assessed at $5,859,890.00, or an excess 
of $2,618,370.00 in assessed value for a slightly 
smaller area. 

To grade Rincon Hill to the mean plane just 
indicated, will require the moving of about 
6,000,000 cubic yards, much of which is suitable for 
seawall building and the remainder for filling sea- 
wall roadway, streets and lots. This can be moved 
at a cost of 35c per cubic yard, or $2,100,000.00, 
leaving a profit, on the basis of assessed values, of 
$518,370.00, which, on a commercial or sale valua- 
tion of the lots, and without the appreciation due 
to the locality, is more than $1,250,000.00. 

There will then be a clear sweep of practically 
level land from the waterfront, between Market and 
Channel streets, to Ninth street, and an extension 
southwesterly to Nineteenth street, a total area of 
more than \ T A square miles, and with direct and 
uninterrupted approaches to a half mile of the best 
frontage on the Bay. 

The commercial and industrial values of such an 
area in the heart of the city and with such approaches 
and frontage are inestimable. 

The rights of way necessary to open these streets, 
upon the basis of the assessed value per square foot 
are given below, this basis being the same as that 
used by me for estimating the work recommended by 
the sub-committee on extending and widening streets, 
etc., of the Committee of Forty. Where oblique 
streets are opened the estimated cost is on the market 
or sale value of each lot which value is estimated 
upon the basis that the assessed value is 60 per cent 
of the market value. 

In opening new oblique streets it is considered 
desirable that the city should bear the cost of grad- 
ing, paving, and sewering these streets, and an esti- 
mate of the cost of this is added. In repaving streets 


which are only widened, or the roadways of which 
are to be widened by setting curbs back, it is recom- 
mended that this work be done, as has previously 
been the case, by annual provisions in the budget. 
Some of these streets are already provided for under 
the $17,000,000.00 bond issue adopted in 1904, 
and the remainder of the widened streets can be pro- 
vided for as above suggested. 

(a) Widening Folsom Street from 

East to Tenth Street $ 196,630.00 

(b) Extending Montgomery Avenue 1,997,000.00 

(b) Widening Fremont Street 170,400.00 

(c) Extension of Eighth Street and 

widening Mariposa Street 675,000.00 

(d) Avenue from Ferry to Folsom 

Street and Fremont Street 1,060,700.00 

(e) Widening Sacramento and Clay 
streets by closing Commercial 

Street* 150,000.00 

(f) Widening Pacific Street 445,600.00 

(g) Setting back curbs and carrying Sansome 
Street under Broadway is work 

for budget, 
(h) Grading streets through Rincon 

Hill to plane of Third and 

Spear Streets 1,100,000.00 

Grading, sewering and paving oblique 

streets above mentioned 526,250.00 

Total $6,321,580.00 

With the tax roll at $5'oo,ooo,ooo.oo four per 
cent interest on the above cost is less than six and 

*Note. — The value of the area occupied by Com- 
mercial street is greater than the assessed value of 
the lots which have a frontage only upon this street. 
A just and equitable adjustment of costs and bene- 
fits of this solution should accomplish this improve- 
ment without much cost to the city and add seven- 
teen and one-half (17J/2) feet to the widths of Sac- 
ramento and Clay streets, thus making them ade- 
quate for the traffic which now obstructs them. 


three-tenths cents on the one hundred dollars of as- 
sessed valuation, and on property assessed at $5,000 
will call for an annual tax levy of less than $3.15. 

Tnese improvements, coupled with those outlined 
for State work, would make the waterfront a far 
more efficient factor in the development of the 
wealth of the State, and under proper administration 
would make San Francisco supreme in the develop- 
ment of the commerce of the Pacific Ocean. I 
earnestly recommend that these improvements be 
inaugurated at once and pushed to an early com- 
pletion, so that San Francisco may at least stand 
forth as ready and able to hold her commercial 
supremacy on the Pacific Coast of the two Americas. 
for this is the great duty which confronts her in this, 
the most critical period of her existence. 

This being done she will be in a better position to 
carry out the rest of the great plans evolved through 
the labors of Mr. Burnham, aided by the best thoughts 
and energies of this community. 





Relations of Ozvners and General Public 'thereto. 

Widening a street adds materially to the value of 
abutting property* in two ways: First, it affords 
better fire protection, and, second, the advantage of 
fronting on a more commodious and serviceable 
highway. The general public shares in these better- 
ments and should bear its proportion of their cost, 
either in paying in part for the rights of way or in 
contributing in whole or in part for the improvement 
with sewers and pavements. The object of this 
study is to outline the general principles upon which 
a just and equitable division of these costs and bet- 
terments can be reached. 

A local and notable instance will be first cited: In 
1901-2 it became apparent that the roadway of 
Third Street, between Mission and Channel Streets, 
was too narrow to meet the demands of growing 
traffic. The curbstones were therefore set back 5 
feet towards the building lines. Some of the prop- 

* Unless the widening reduces (he area of a lot to too small 
a size or shape to be useful, which cases have been consid- 
ered separately in each particular street. 


erty holders persistently opposed and delayed this 
improvement, which as soon as the scope of the im- 
provement became apparent, added more than 
double its cost to the value of the properties, and 
upon completion added far more; and owners on 
other streets clamored for similar improvements. 

In most instances the rights of way for wider 
streets should be donated, provided the city assumes 
the cost of grading, sewering and paving. In order, 
however, to present the maximum cost to the city I 
have assumed that in widening a street the basis of 
cost to the city for the additional rights of way shall 
be the proportionate assessed value of the property 
required, the owners to contribute as their share of 
the improvement the difference between the assessed 
and market value, which is generally about 40 per 
cent. In the case of widening by taking a strip only 
on one side of a street, the opposite propeity to con- 
tribute one-half of the 40 per cent, the city to bear 
by general tax levy or bond issue the cost? of sewer- 
ing and paving. 


On opening new and oblique streets it frequently 
happens that lots are cut into disadvantageous 
shapes or left too small for practical use. In these 
instances I have taken the market value of the lot 
on the basis that the assessed value is 60 per cent of 
the market value. 

In widening certain streets, like Commercial and 
Powell, in which a nearby parallel street or inter- 
vening property lessens the depth of a shallow lot, so 
as to render it practically useless, the market value 
of the lot enters into the estimated cost of the right 
of way, in which case the surplus can be sold by the 
city to an adjacent owner or his property bought by 
the city and the whole then sold upon equitable 


Upon these principles, which I consider sound and 
just, the maximum costs have been estimated of the 
necessary rights of way for carrying out the first 
group of improvements recommended bv the Sub- 
Committee on Widening and Extending Streets, etc., 
for immediate construction and approved by the 
Committee of Forty. These are designated in blue 
on the maps prepared under their direction and on 
the map accompanying this report. It is manifest 
that unless sdme such broad and equitable basis for 
this work be the foundation of these improvements 
the work will go for naught to the eternal loss, dis- 
advantage and disgrace to the city. 

The maps which accompany this report are re- 
productions of the sewer grade map, prepared under 
direction of the Board of Public Works in 1902-3. 
The proposed improvements are shown in full on 
shaded blue lines and are those adopted by the 
Committee of Forty. 

The improvements in alignments and grades, to 
be undertaken 5 years hence, are shown in red ; those 
to be undertaken 10 years hence are shown in green; 
those to be executed by property holders are shown 
in yellow. 

Estimated Cost of Rights of Way for Carry- 
ing out Improvements Recommended by 
the Committee of Forty for Immediate 
Construction. Blue Scheme. 

N. B. — Benefits arc not estimated; those in wid- 
ening streets are nearly if not quite equal to the 
value of the additional rights of way, provided the 


city assumes the cost of grading, sewering and 


(l)a Montgomery Avenue extension (a) $1,168,000 

(l)b Widening Fremont Street 170,400 

(2) Widening Pacific Street 445,600 

(3) Widening Commercial Street *8 17,300 

(4a) Widening North Point Street. . . 46,400 
(4b) Widening Bay Street 17,500 

(5) Widening Powell Street, Pacific to 

Pine 99,700 

(6) Oblique winding avenue, Block 164, 
California, Pine, Powell, Mason. . (a) 230,000 

(7) Oblique winding avenue, Block 117, 

Pine, Bush, Stockton, Grant (a) 225,000 

(8) Oblique avenue from Kearny and 
Commercial, to Taylor and Pacific (a) 157,500 

(9) Widening Pine Street, Stockton to 

Van Ness 106,600 

(10) Lowering grades to be done at cost 
of budget 

(11) Widening Folsom Street, East to 
Seventh 156,630 

(12) Extend Van Ness Avenue to 
Twelfth and Mission (a) 286,570 

(13) Extension of Sansome Street, (a) 1,115,000 
(14a) Extension of Seventh Street to 

Leavenworth (a) 713,500 

(14b) Widen Golden Gate Avenue. . . . 507,600 

(15) Diagonal Street, Market and Van 

Ness to Seventh (a) 727,900 

(16) Diagonal Street from Market and 

East to Fremont and Folsom .... (a) 636,400 
(18) Semi-circular space foot of Mar- 
ket (a) 879,400 

Widening Eleventh Street 305.500 


* Note if Commercial Street be closed and its width (35 
feet) added to Clay and to Sacramento Streets the assessed 
value of lots cut off from frontage by reason of fronting only 
on Commercial Street is $346,420 and the value of Commercial 
Street as lots is about $406,000. 


I. have not included in the above the cost of widen- 
ing Dupont Street, as, in my opinion, this improve- 
ment can be made to subserve property interests 
and traffic better by a slight change as follows : Di- 
vert the alignment from Grant Avenue and Bush 
Street slightly easterly and reach California and Du- 
pont Streets on a three and one-half per cent grade ; 
thence diagonally through Block 115 to the south 
end of Waverly Place, and widen same to Washing- 
ton Street; thence diagonally through Block 112 
to Stockton and Jackson; thence along Stockton and 
Green to Powell and Green (making a court or 
circle at Stockton and Green and Montgomery 
Avenue) ; thence diagonally through Blocks 155, 
154, 181, 180, 208 and 207 to junction of Jones 
and Lombard and to Lombard and Chestnut; thence 
diagonally through Blocks 234 and 233 to Leaven- 
worth and Bay Streets, crossing the former at ele- 
vation 82 and widening the latter street to Bay and 
Hyde. This thoroughfare will at no point exceed 
4 per cent gradient and will connect the junction of 
Grant Avenue and Market Streets with the Presidio 
upon very light gradients. 

Another slight modification is to make Bush 
Street, from Stockton and Bush westwardly the main 
avenue to the Western Addition, instead of Pine 
Street, and to reach this intersection by an oblique 
street on a 5 per cent gradient from Dupont and 
California Street through Blocks Nos. 1 16 and 1 17; 
then to reach the top of the California Street hill at 
Mason and California Streets, from Bush and 
Leavenworth upon a gradient of 6 per cent. 

From Mason and California Streets Taylor Street 
affords an easy gradient to the saddle at Pacific and 
Jones Street by a diagonal street through Block 214, 
and also to the splendid property on Russian Hill by 
the green line scheme of the Committee. A long 
familiarity with the situation leads me to consider 
these slight modifications more serviceable than the 
plan proposed; they are outlined in dotted blue on 
the map. 


There appears to be some difference of opinion 
among property holders as to the best location and 
gradients upon which to rise to the splendid resi- 
dence properties on California and Russian hills. I 
have therefore suggested, in dotted blue lines on 
Map B, what I consider the most desirable. These 
gradients do not exceed six per cent (6%), the 
curves are gentle and the alignment adds to the 
values of abutting property. These grades and 
alignments bring into full use, via existing streets 
of light gradients, the excellent system of new streets 
laid out by the sub-committee for Russian Hill and 
indicated in green lines on Map B. 

The suggested extension of Grant Avenue as in- 
dicated in dotted blue lines makes use of Bush Street 
as a boulevard, with light gradients, and connects 
the Presidio with Market and O'Farrell Streets via 
Grant Avenue, upon gradients less than three and 
one-half per cent (3^4%) except on the existing 
gradient on Grant Avenue, between Sutter and Bush 
Streets, which is about five per cent (5%). 

Whatever may be finally agreed upon, it must be 
recognized that grade contour streets must be 
adopted in the place of some of our present impracti- 
cable rectangular streets; and I recommend that 
money be raised by bond issue, direct taxation and 
subscription for this purpose as soon as the best 
alignments for all interests can be agreed upon. 

Of the above there are ten (10) projects marked 
(a), amounting to $6,138,770 which are oblique 
streets and will require full market values for the 
rights of way. On the basis that the assessed values 
are 60 per cent of the market values, these projects 
represent $10,231,300. The other projects foot up 
$2,675,730, or a total of $12,907,030. 

If bonds for the full amount named above, or 
$12,907,030 at 4 per cent and an assessment roll ot 
$500,000,000 a levy of a little over 10c, or five two- 
cent stamps per year per $100 of assessed valuation 
will pay the interest. 




The committee having the widening of streets 
under consideration recommended that Montgomery 
street be widened 20 feet on the west side from 
Market to Washington streets, and included this 
work in the list of improvements to be done by the 
property owners. 

The following data regarding this work may be of 
service to the property holders on that street and 
vitally interested in its improvement: 




76 Montgomery, Post, Kearny, Market $ 21,000.00 

75 " Sutter, Kearny, Post 126,600.00 

74 " Bush, Kearny, Sutter 187,000.00 

73 " Pine, Kearny, Bush 110,000.00 

72 California, Kearny, Pine 114,300.00 

71 Sacramento, Kearny, California 71,500.00 

70 " Clay, Kearny, Sacramento 57,300.00 

69 " Washington, Kearny, Clay 39,200.00 

Total, $726,900.00 
The assessed value of real property fronting on 
Montgomery street between Washington and Market 
streets and one-half way to Kearny and Sansome 
streets is $10,605,000.00. The right of way for wid- 
ening on this basis is about 7°/o of the value of the real 
estate directly benefited. The widening will undoubt- 
edly add far more than 7°/o to the abutting property, and 
I recommend that steps be at once taken to execute 
this important improvement. 

In the preparation of this report I have conferred 
from time to time with the City Engineer, Mr. Thos. 
B. Woodward, and desire to express my obligations 
for the suggestions and assistance he has given me, and 
for data furnished from his office. 



It is essential that San Francisco should have an 
Auxiliary Fire System; both for her own safety and 
protection and to give investors confidence in their 
investments in property and industries. 

The maximum amount of water used in a year 
for fire purposes is less than one-third of one per cent 
of the annual consumption; or, about one day's sup- 
ply for domestic and industrial purposes. Therefore 
at least this volume of water should be available 
inside of the closely built up portions of the city in 
well-located and securely constructed reservoirs and 
fire cisterns. They should be so grouped that, inde- 
pendent of hydrants on the distributing pipe system, 
a sufficient volume of water could be concentrated 
upon any given area to control a serious fire. 

Moreover, through important districts it should 
be possible to promptly open connections between 
the distributing pipe system and pumping stations 
and fire tugs on the Bay, as outlined in the report of 
the Sub-committee on Water Supply and Fire Pro- 
tection of the Committee on Reconstruction. 

I have therefore included the sum of 
$1,500,000.00 for the purpose of repairing and con- 
structing the system of fire cisterns recommended by 
the Chief of the Fire Department and estimated by 
the City Engineer to cost $1,137,418.00, the ad- 
ditional amount to be expended in large reservoirs 
within the limits named and in building and equip- 
ping the auxiliary pumping stations and mains for 
valuable and hazardous districts. 


For work now needed, namely : 

( 1 ) Opening and widening fire avenues, which 
will also serve as thoroughfares to serve industrial 
and commercial needs ; 

(2) For grading, paving and sewering those 
which cut property obliquely; 

(3) For grading streets through Rincon Hill, 


which will bring into direct communication with 
the central portion of the waterfront one and one- 
half square miles of the heart of the city; and 

(4) For constructing an auxiliary fire system, 
as above outlined, I recommend the issuance of 
$7,900,000.00 in four per cent 40-year bonds, the 
specific items of this expenditure being — 

(a) Widening Folsom Street from 
East to Tenth Streets, as a great 
thoroughfare parallel to Market 

Street $ 196,630.00 

(b) Extending Montgomery Ave., 1,997,000.00 
(bi) Widening Fremont Street as a 

great thoroughfare parallel to 

the waterfront 170,400.00 

(c) Extending and widening Eighth 
Street and widening Mariposa 
Street as a great thoroughfare 
west of the railroad yards, and 
connecting the center of the city 

with the Potrero 675,000.00 

(d) Avenue from Ferry to Folsom 

Street and Fremont Avenue. . . 1,060,700.00 

(e) Widening Sacramento and Clay 

Streets by closing Commercial St. 150,000.00 

(f) Widening Pacific Street as a fire 

avenue and thoroughfare 
through the district north of 
Market Street 449,600.00 

Total for rights of way $4,695,330.00 

For grading streets through Rincon 
Hill, bringing ljA square miles 
of valuable property into direct 
communication with the water- 
front $1,100,000.00 

For grading, sewering and paving 
oblique streets under (b), (c) 
and (d) 926,290.00 

For auxiliary fire cisterns and system 1,900,000.00 

Total $7,821,580.00 


These figures are based on the principle that a 
broad and generous spirit will actuate property- 
holders in view of the benefits which will accrue to 
them by the opening of these fire avenues and high- 
ways, and that normal values for rights of way will 
be accepted. 

Respectfully submitted, 




After every great fire elaborate plans are prepared 
for the construction of a new and greater city. This 
was the case in London. After the great fire of Lon- 
don, Sir Christopher Wren prepared plans for a 
greater London. Lack of concerted action on the 
part of the people resulted in the city being rebuilt 
on the old lines. The same was true in Baltimore, 
and will be true in San Francisco unless our authori- 
ties speedily adopt some plan and proceed to carry 
it out. 

Mr. Manson has carefuly reviewed all the plans 
submitted by the Committee on the Reconstruction 
of San Francisco. The result of his studies is a 
plan which should meet the approval of the com- 
munity. It should be evident to all that no public 
improvements of any magnitude can be made now 
unless the same be financed by means of a bond 
issue. In our opinion, steps should be taken immedi- 
ately to authorize an issue of bonds for an amount 
sufficient to carry into effect the improvements rec- 
ommended by Mr. Manson. 


To enable the reconstruction of San Francisco to 
be carried out on broad lines, it is essential that cer- 
tain of the proposed Constitutional Amendments be 
adopted by the people at the coming election. 

Amendment No. g authorizes the deposit of State, 
county and municipal funds in national and State 
banks, the banks to secure such deposits by bonds 
of the United States, of the State of California, or 
of counties, municipalities and school districts within 
the State; the bonds to be of a value at least ten per 
cent in excess of the deposits, and the banks to pay 
not less than two per cent per annum interest on 
daily balances. This amendment should meet the 
approval of all voters. Each year millions of public 
funds are locked up in the treasuries of the State, 


counties and municipalities. Under the proposed 
amendment these funds can be deposited in the 
national and State banks of California and will be 
properly safeguarded. This amendment will also 
make a market for our State, county and municipal 
bonds, for our bankers, in order to secure the deposit 
of public funds, would be required to deposit State, 
county, municipal, or school district securities. 

Amendment No. ij proposes to repeal the mort- 
gage tax. This will enable anyone who may desire 
to borrow on mortgage to agree to pay the tax on the 
property subject to the mortgage. It is impossible 
under our present law to get capital from without 
the State to loan on mortgages in California. The 
present law fails to protect the borrower; it is of no 
benefit to him. San Francisco will require many 
millions of Eastern or foreign capital, if it is to be 
reconstructed on broad lines. Under our present 
system of laws, Eastern and foreign capitalists are 
unwilling to lend money here on mortgages. This 
law prevents the sale of bonds of industrial and 
commercial corporations. This has had the effect of 
checking the industrial development of the State. 
This amendment should be supported by all who 
have the welfare of the State at heart. 

Amendment No. 14 authorizes San Francisco and 
San Jose to issue municipal bonds which will run 75 
years instead of 40 years. This will diminish the 
burden on taxpayers. 

Amendment No. 4 authorizes bonds of the State 
and of its political subdivisions to be made payable 
at any place within the United States. The object 
is to make the bonds more salable. 

Amendment No. 11 confers on the Board of 
Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco 
for the period of two years certain powers and rights 
relating to streets, parks and boulevards. This 
amendment was framed to facilitate the acquisition 
of property required for street widening and street 
improvement purposes. It requires a two-thirds' 
vote of the Board of Supervisors and the approval of 


the Mayor. The present charter provisions of San 
Francisco are inadequate to meet the existing con- 
ditions. For this reason it is advisable to confer 
these powers on the Board of Supervisors. This 
amendment simply provides machinery whereby 
property needed for street widening and street im- 
provement purposes can be acquired. The amend- 
ment is a useful one and should be approved. 

Other constitutional amendments have been pro- 
posed, but the foregoing are the principal ones that 
affect the reconstruction of San Francisco. The 
Judiciary Committee of the Committee of Forty on 
Reconstruction of San Francisco, and the Legislature 
of the State have given much study and considera- 
tion to these amendments. If the amendments re- 
ferred to above are approved by the people, the work 
of reconstruction of San Francisco will be materially 



Letter from Potrero Commercial and Manu- 
facturers' Association. 

San Francisco, October 26, 1906. 
To the Committee on Reconstruction, 

Dear Sirs — We have had submitted to us the 
plans proposed by Mr. Marsden Manson for the 
benefit of the future commercial and protective de- 
velopment of this city, and we most heartily endorse 
everything that he proposes. We believe that now 
is the time for action, and it will be a shame and dis- 
grace that will reflect seriously on the future welfare 
and prosperity of this city and State and retard its 
development if the plans proposed are not adopted 
and made effective. It is admitted by all that the 
future development of this city and State depends 
upon the improvement in its trade and commerce, 
and with this object in view we urge and recommend 
city and State authorities to take prompt and imme- 
diate action in this matter that means so much to this 
city's and State's future, and is absolutely essential 
to its growth and development. 

Yours respectfully, 
Potrero Commercial and Manufacturers' 

By Isidor Jacobs, President. 



J. R. Howell, President; John T. Harmes, Vice- 
President; Samuel G. Buckbee, Treasurer; B. L. 
Cadwalader, Secretary. 

Board of Directors — Samuel G. Buckbee, Samuel 
Center, John T. Harmes, E. L. Hoag, J. R. Howell, 
Frederic E. Magee, David Rich, John H. Speck, 
George D. Toy. 

San Francisco, October 26, 1906. 

The San Francisco Real Estate Board heartily en- 
dorses the plan submitted by Mr. Marsden Manson 
for the reconstruction of San Francisco, and respect- 
fully recommends to his Honor, the Mayor, to the 
Honorable Board of Supervisors and the Board of 
Public Works, the adoption and execution of the 
plan at the earliest possible moment. 

The most vital question which confronts the peo- 
ple of the city of San Francisco at the present mo- 
ment is that which might in general come under the 
head of "street improvement." That this subject 
was considered a vital one, years before the great 
fire, is shown by the fact that the eminent city 
builder, Mr. D. H. Burnham, was requested to pre- 
pare a comprehensive plan for the improvement and 
adornment of San Francisco. Mr. Burnham's ad- 
mirable plan, completed shortly before the fire, con- 
cerned itself in large part with this same question of 
"street improvement." His plan, however, consid- 
ered the subject both from its commercial and 
esthetic standpoint. The occurrence oi the greatest 
conflagration in history rendered it necessary that 
a more modest, and utilitarian plan should be pro- 


posed. This was done by a sub-committee of the 
Committee of Forty, appointed by his Honor, 
Mayor E. E. Schmitz. The able plan evolved by 
this Committee, and adopted and approved by the 
Board of Supervisors, still contained many beauti- 
fication features not strictly necessary. At the re- 
quest of the Committee Mr. Marsden Manson then 
drew up the plan now in question, which contains 
no beautiflcation featuies, but calls only for those 
improvements which are of strict commercial value 
and which will immediately aid in the reconstruction 
of the city from a business standpoint. It is on the 
last grounds that the San Francisco Real Estate 
Board so emphatically endorses Mr. Marsden 
Manson's plans. 

The burned area of four square miles was essen- 
tially the business section. Without the speedy re- 
construction of this section the prestige and pros- 
perity of San Francisco will never recover during the 
present generation. How may this be avoided 1 ? 
San Francisco, like all cities of natural growth, was 
laid out without systematic plan in reference to 
topography, and without consideration for the fu- 
ture interests of the city. One of the exceptions is 
Market street, the original road from the water- 
front to the Mission, which was then formerly the 
chief settlement. This street, by becoming the main 
artery for traffic, because it was laid out with strict 
regard for the public use, both in direction and 
width, has shown, by contrast, the faults in the rest 
of the city's ground plan. 

San Francisco is a city with great variation of 
topography, such as steep hills, deep valleys, swamps, 
inlets, etc., which can only expand on the south and 
on the west, except by projection of population 
across the Bay, which, of course, removes it to an- 
other jurisdiction. The chief defect in our city is 
the ground plan which runs streets at right angles, 
over steep hills and through deep valleys. The chief 
necessity at the present moment is the widening of 
streets, both to facilitate traffic and as barriers to 


prevent the reoccurrence of any great conflagration; 
the cutting of diagonal streets to shorten distances; 
and the removal of grades which render certain sec- 
tions of the city inaccessible, which sections would 
otherwise be of the highest commercial importance. 
The fire has removed all improvements, which 
might otherwise bar the contemplated changes in 
Mr. Manson's plans. London, Baltimore and 
Chicago have bitterly regretted, since their great 
fires, that they did not improve their streets. Are 
we to fail to take advantage of their mistakes'? The 
benefit of Mr. Manson's plans will be immediate 
and their cost will be strictly within the city's fiscal 

Mr. Manson's plan is made with special reference 
to the water-front, as this is naturally the focus of 
our commercial greatness. He suggests, first, that 
the State should issue bonds in the next ten years in 
the sum of $15,000,000, in sums of $1,500,000 each 
fiscal year, commencing with 1907-08. With this 
money he would extend the seawall from the Mail 
Dock to the foot of Mission Street, and would fill 
the seawall lots adjacent thereto. He would make 
provision for the better handling of fruit and 
produce at the foot of Jackson Street, together with 
a fruit market area; he would add additional piers 
and would complete the Islais and India Basin work. 
This work would be done by the State. For the 
city's share he proposes the following, which bears 
a harmonious relation to the work to be done by the 

1st. The widening and lowering of the grade of 
Folsom Street from Tenth Street to the water- 
front. This creates a great thoroughfare from the 
water-front into the South-of-Market-Street dis- 
trict, which will also relieve much of the congestion 
on Market Street. 

2d. The extension of Montgomery Avenue 
across Market Street into Fremont Street, and the 
widening of the latter as a great thoroughfare paral- 
lel to the water-front. This will create a direct 
approach to the North Beach District from the foot 

of Market Street, and the Mail Dock, the lack of 
which has always been keenly felt. 

3d. The extension of Eighth Street to Mariposa 
Street, and the widening of this latter street; thence 
to Kentucky Street as a great highway from South 
San Francisco into the center of the city, west of 
the railroad yards. 

4th. The opening of a wide diagonal thorough- 
fare from the Union Ferry Station, at East and Mar- 
ket Streets, to the intersection of Folsom and Fre- 
mont Streets. This is one of the most important 
projects, as it will accomplish wonders in relieving 
the congestion of Market Street; and as it is con- 
templated to widen both Folsom and Fremont 
Streets, their meeting will form a focus whence five 
great streets will radiate in star shape. 

5th. The closing of Commercial Street and the 
addition of its width to Clay Street and to Sacra- 
mento Street. This is an improvement sorely needed 
and will create two large streets traversing the heart 
of the fruit and produce section. 

6th. The widening of Pacific Street. This cre- 
ates a suitable avenue for travel from the central 
portion of the water-front to North Beach, and as 
Pacific Street has the lowest grades north of Sutter 
Street, it will create a thoroughfare from the Pacific 
heights to North Beach and the water-front. 

7th. The widening of Sansome Street and the 
lowering of its grades to pass under Broadway by 
bridge. This will render the northern portion of 
the seawall accessible. 

8th. Removing Rincon Hill, so that this great 
obstacle to the commercial development of the dis- 
trict bounded by Third, Mission, Tenth and Bran- 
nan Streets may be removed and that portion of the 
water-front rendered accessible, which it now 

It will be noted that three of the improvements 
already suggested involve the removal of Rincon 
Hill, namely, the improvement of Folsom and Fre- 
mont Streets and the cutting of the diagonal from 


the Terry to their intersection. The removal of this 
great hill, which is useless commercially, is the most 
important of the projects. It is essential to the de- 
velopment of our water-front. It is, of course, in- 
tended that the city should onty lower the grades of 
the streets, but it is shown to be to the interest of 
the propertyowners to grade their lots, as they will 
more than recoup by the increase in their value. Mr. 
Manson suggests that the streets herein mentioned 
should have no street railroads, and that the side- 
walks of all important streets should be lessened in 
width, as has been done with such success on Third 
and Fourth Streets. It will be seen that Mr. Man- 
son's plan also contemplates fire barriers, as it will 
be seen that his great thoroughfares divide the 
burned section into ten fire districts. Mr. Manson 
adduces detailed figures to show that the contem- 
plated improvements could be met by the issuance 
of $7,821,580 in city bonds, the bonds to be at least 
40-year bonds and to bear not more than 4 per cent 
interest. This figure also includes an auxiliary fire 
cistern and system, as laid out by the late able Chief 
of the Fire Department, Dennis Sullivan, to cost 
$1,500,000. This cost is well within the financial 
ability of the city and would add no great burden to 
the tax roll. The land demanded by the city for 
the purpose of street cutting and widening would 
be paid for on the basis of the assessment of 1905- 
1906. Where diagonal streets create badly shaped 
lots the city will buy these lots and after shaping 
them up will reimburse itself by selling them. By 
these improvements an immense increase in the 
value of real estate will result. Mr. Manson esti- 
mates not less than $75,000,000 will be added to 
the assessed value of city real property in ten or 
fifteen years. These vital improvements cannot be 
accomplished by individuals, but must be clone by 
the State and the city, and that speedily, as in a few 
years the opportunity to prosecute them to a suc- 
cessful conclusion will have disappeared. Certain 
constitutional amendments are absolutely necessary 

to enable this plan to be carried out, to wit: 

1. The amendment authorizing the depositing 
of State, county and municipal funds in national 
and State banks, to be secured by deposit of United 
States, California, county, municipal and school dis- 
trict bonds of the State. This will secure interest 
for funds otherwise locked up in treasuries, and will 
create a market for our local bonds, as bankers will 
have to purchase them in order to have the necessary 

2. The amendment repealing the mortgage tax, 
which tax keeps Eastern and foreign capital out of 
California and prevents the selling of industrial and 
commercial bonds. 

3. The amendment authorizing San Francisco 
to issue bonds running 75 years instead of 40 years. 
This will diminish the burden on taxpayers. 

4. The amendment authorizing bonds of the 
State and its political subdivisions to be made pay- 
able any place in the United States, which will make 
the bonds more salable. 

5. The amendment conferring power on the Board 
of Supervisors of the City and County of San Fran- 
cisco to buy and sell land for a period of two years. 
This amendment is absolutely necessary for the pur- 
pose of street cutting and widening. It contains 
sufficient safeguards to prevent the will of the peo- 
ple from being abused and should by all means be 
embodied in the Constitution. 

Every elector in the City and County of San 
Francisco should be in favor of the above-named 
Constitutional amendments, and should use his best 
efforts to bring about favorable action throughout 
the State. 

The San Francisco Real Estate Board compli- 
ments Mr. Manson upon his able and feasible plan 
and heartily endorses it, and calls upon all public 
officials, civic bodies and individuals to give the 
same their strong support. 

Now is the time to bring about these improve- 
ments, so that our city may speedily be reconstructed, 


and forever hold a benign commercial domain over 
the western shores of the Pacific Ocean. 
J. R. Howell, President. 
B. L. Cadwalader, Secretary. 


Realizing that without unity of action nothing 
can be done, the undersigned citizens, firms, corpora- 
tions and associations recommend to His Honor the 
Mayor, to the Honorable Board of Supervisors of 
the City and County of San Francisco, and to the 
Board of Public Works, the adoption of the plans 
suggested by Mr. Marsden Manson, which appear on 
Map "A," acompanying Mr. Manson's report. 

We do further recommend that the cost of the 
improvements be defrayed by a bond issue to be 
made by the City and County of San Francisco, 
said bonds to be payable in not less than forty years 
and to bear interest at a rate not exceeding four 
per cent. 

We do further petition all the authorities and 
officers of the City and County of San Francisco to 
take steps to carry said plans into force and effect 
at the earliest date possible.