“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Francisco in San Francisco City and County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Captain Leidesdorff

Captain Leidesdorff Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 8, 2014
1. Captain Leidesdorff Marker
Inscription. Captain Leidesdorff’s father was a Danish sea captain; his Creole mother was from Danish-held St. Croix, where Leidesdorff was born in 1812. Educated in New Orleans, William Alexander Leidesdorff became an accomplished linguist and master of the ship Julia Ann. Trading Hawaiian sugar for California hides, Leidesdorff settled in Yerba Buena in 1838 where he built a warehouse on the beach at California and today’s Leidesdorff Street. Appointed Vice-Consul by Consul Larkin, he built the City Hotel at Kearney and Clay. Leidesdorff bought the 37-foot-long Sitka from the Russians at Fort Ross, to operate the first steam-powered vessel on San Francisco Bay. In February 1848, “Little Sitka had as much as she could do to keep her head above water long enough to say her prayers. She tossed and tumbled, and to the bottom she went.” Vice Consul Leidesdorff had invested in numerous city lots when he died from cholera in May 1848 – only months before the Gold Rush immensely increased the value of his estate
Erected by San Francisco Art Commission for the Waterfront Transportation Projects.
Location. 37° 47.763′ N, 122° 23.712′ W. Marker is in San Francisco, California, in San Francisco
Captain Leidesdorff Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 8, 2014
2. Captain Leidesdorff Marker
City and County. Marker can be reached from The Embarcadero near Washington Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: San Francisco CA 94105, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Embarcadero Freeway (within shouting distance of this marker); The Abraham Lincoln Brigade (within shouting distance of this marker); Herb Caen Way (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bustle of the City (about 400 feet away); Freeway Supports (about 400 feet away); Klebingat Recalls The City Front (about 400 feet away); Piers 1½, 3 & 5 (about 500 feet away); San Francisco Vietnam Veterans Memorial (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Francisco.
More about this marker. This marker is embedded in the sidewalk in front of Sue Bierman Park.
Also see . . .  Leidesdorff, William Alexander (1810-1848) - BlackPast. Although little remembered today, Leidesdorff was a social, economic and political force in pre-gold rush San Francisco, with a number of “firsts” credited to his name. When he was named the U.S. Vice Consul to Mexico in 1845, he became the nation’s first African American diplomat. (Submitted on April 19, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
Categories. African AmericansSettlements & Settlers
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 19, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 319 times since then. Last updated on April 22, 2014, by Keith S Smith of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 19, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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