Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chinatown San Francisco

In 1848, the first Chinese immigrants, two men and one woman, arrived in San Francisco on the American sailing vessel, Eagle.

The long history of San Francisco’s Chinatown has been clouded with racism, hatred, and repression. From the Gold Rush through the 1870s, a large migration of mostly single male laborers came to San Francisco and the American West, as well as to Canada and Peru. With the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the nation's first racially restrictive immigration measure, the Chinese American population fell from 26,000 in 1881 to 11,000 in 1920.

Between 1852 and 1882, many prodominantly male Chinese laborers and a few merchants and labor brokers came to San Francisco. Floods in China propelled a virtual diaspora of Cantonese-dialect-speaking people all around the Pacific Basin. It has been estimated that 2.5 million people emigrated from China between 1840 and 1900. Of 153 pieces of property in Chinatown in 1873, only 10 were Chinese owned. All the rest were leased from Anglo-Americans, Franco-Americans, Italian Americans, and German Americans.

In 1882, Chinatown's habitually suspicious key associations formed an umbrella association, uniting the most important of the district associations in what became known as the Chinese Six Companies, officially called the Consolidated Chinese Benevolent Association. The association, incorporated in the State of California in 1901, became the cockpit of personal and group political, economic, and social contention. In 1904, of 316 parcels, Chinese-Americans owned only 25.

As Chinese immigration dwindled, and as individual assimilation took place, parochial clan and regional attachments weakened. While the Chinese were, practically speaking, segregated within Chinatown until the late 1940s, some assimilation nonetheless took place. In 1943, during World War II when the United States allied with China against Japan, the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed by Congress, but a small quota of 105 Chinese a year kept migration minimal.

Lotta's Fountain San Francisco

Lotta's fountain was dedicated in 1875 at the intersection of Market Street where Geary and Kearny Streets connect in downtown San Francisco, California.

The cast pillar with a drinking fountain at its base was donated to San Francisco by the entertainer Lotta Crabtree. It served as a meeting point during the 1906 earthquake and fire aftermath, and a metal panel on the side of the fountain indicates this. Another panel also mentions legendary opera soprano Luisa Tetrazzini, who sang for people at the fountain on Christmas Eve, 1910.

Commemorations of the earthquake, including a dwindling pool of survivors, are held every year at 5:12 a.m. on April 18 at the intersection.

In 1999, the fountain, which had suffered neglect in the past decades, was totally refurbished to its 1875 appearance. It is painted with a metalic gold-brown paint. The lion's head-motif fountain stations located on the sides of the column do not currently produce water.

Union Square-San Francisco

Union Square is a plaza of 2.6 acres bordered by Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets in San Francisco, California. "Union Square" also refers to the central shopping, hotel, and theater district that surrounds the plaza for several blocks. The name "Union Square" stems from the fact that the area was once used for rallies and support for the Union Army during the Civil War. Today, this one-block plaza and nearby area is one of the largest collections of department stores, upscale boutiques, tourist trinket shops, art galleries, and salons in the Western United States, which continue to make Union Square a major tourist draw, a vital, cosmopolitan place in downtown San Francisco, and one of the world's premier shopping districts. Grand hotels and small inns, as well as repertory, off-Broadway, and single-act theaters also contribute to the area's dynamic, 24-hour character.

Union Square was built and dedicated by San Francisco's first American mayor John Geary in 1850 and is so named for the pro-Union rallies that happened there before and during the United States Civil War. Since then, the plaza underwent many notable changes with the most significant first happening in 1903 with the dedication of a 97 ft tall monument to Admiral George Dewey's victory at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish American War. It also commemorates U.S. President William McKinley, who had been recently assassinated. The figurine at the top of the monument, "Victory", was modeled from the likeness of a local heiress, Alma de Bretteville Spreckels. The second major significant change happened between 1939-1941 when a large underground parking garage was built under the square that relocated the plaza's lawns, shrubs and the Dewey monument to the garage "roof." It was the world's first underground parking garage and was designed by Timothy Pflueger.

During the late 1970s, and through the 1980s and 1990s, the area became a bit derelict as the homeless began to camp in the space. San Francisco's rowdy New Year's parties used to happen yearly at the plaza with some sort of civil disruption and rioting happening afterward. In early 1998, city planners began plans to renovate the plaza to create more paved surfaces for easier maintenance, with outdoor cafes, and more levels to the underground garage. Finally in late 2000, the park was partially closed down to renovate the park and the parking garage. On July 25, 2002, the park reopened and ceremony was held with then Mayor Willie Brown. "Use it; it is your square", said Mayor Willie Brown.

Today, Union Square retains its role as the ceremonial "heart" of San Francisco, serving as the site of many public concerts & events, art shows, impromptu protests, private parties and events, and the annual Christmas tree and Menorah lighting. Public views of the square can be seen from surrounding high places as the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, Macy's top floor, and the Grand Hyatt hotel.

The Old and New U.S. Mint in San Francisco

The old U.S. Mint (below) was built in 1874, the "Granite Lady" is a rare San Francisco landmark that survived the earthquake and fire of 1905. It provides a starting point for discussing the Gold Rush and the birth of modern San Francisco as an American city as well as the 1906 disaster. The new U. S. mint, (above) is located on Market Street and still in operation today.

A California Mint
On July 8, 1852, President Millard Fillmore signed an act authorizing a branch mint in California. Within a short time, Treasury Secretary Thomas Corwin chose San Francisco as the site.

The Treasury Department signed a contract with Joseph R. Curtis in April 1853 to construct the mint by February 1, 1854. Mint Director James Ross Snowden, who had taken office in 1853, was in charge of putting the mint into operation. However, slow communication plus the problems of acquiring suitable building materials prevented speedy completion. A building on Commercial Street owned by Moffett & Company was acquired in the interim and modified, probably at a cost of at least $93,000.

Birth of the Granite Lady

By 1869, Congress had appropriated $300,000 to acquire a new site at Fifth and Mission Streets and construct a building. Plans were drawn under the supervision of Alfred B. Mullet, Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department from 1866 to 1874. Mullett's design was Classical Greek Revival, Doric columns and Roman scale and proportions. Sandstone from Newcastle Island in British Columbia was shipped in by three schooners for the facing of the upper floors and for the six colossal columns on the portico. The basement walls were of granite from the Griffith Quarry in Penryn, Placer County, California. On May 26, 1870, the cornerstone of the Mint was laid. The building opened on a rainy Saturday, November 5, 1874.

The Architect: Alfred Bult Mullett (1834-1890)

Alfred B. Mullett was born in England in 1834. His family immigrated to Glendale, Ohio in 1845. A couple of years later he began work in the Cincinnati office of architect Isaiah Rogers. Mullett later moved to Washington, D.C. and in 1863 began work for the Treasury Department. He rose to be Supervising Architect in 1866 and for eight years oversaw the design and construction of over forty federal buildings across America. Many are still standing, including the Mint in Carson City, NV, the Mint in San Francisco, CA, and the State, War and Navy Building (now the Old Executive Office Building) in Washington, D.C.

Granite Lady Saved

Mullett knew well that the Pacific Coast was subject to earthquakes, and with remarkable foresight he designed the Old Mint to "float" on its foundations in an earthquake, rather than shatter. His vision was validated when the mint rode out the severe earthquake of Wednesday, April 18, 1906, practically undamaged. Heroic efforts by Treasury Department employees, using only a one-inch hose connected to wells that had fortunately been built just weeks earlier, saved the mint, and $200 million in gold in its vaults, from the fire that destroyed commercial San Francisco after the earthquake. With the downtown area and its banks destroyed, the San Francisco Mint was the only financial institution able to open for business in San Francisco and it became the depository and treasury for the city's relief fund.

By 1934, one third of the United States' gold reserve was stored in the vaults of the San Francisco Mint.

Mission Dolores in San Francisco, California

Mission Dolores

Misión San Francisco de Asís
The Misión San Francisco de Asís was founded June 29, 1776. The settlement was named for St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order, but was also commonly known as "Mission Dolores" owing to the presence of a nearby creek named Arroyo de los Dolores, or "Creek of Sorrows."
Mission Dolores is the oldest intact building in the City of San Francisco and the only intact Mission Chapel in the chain of 21 established under the direction of Father Serra. The Mission has been a steadfast witness to the span of San Francisco's history including the California Gold Rush and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. The Mission Cemetery is the only cemetery that remains within the City limits. The Cemetery is the final resting place for numerous Ohlone, Miwok, and other First Californians as well as notable California pioneers.

Cemetery and Gardens

The Cemetery and Gardens of Mission Dolores are located adjacent to the Old Mission. The beautiful gardens have been restored and planted with traditional native trees, shrubs, flowers, and plants from the 1791 period. The rose garden was a gift of the Golden Gate Rose Society and is tended by members of the Society every week. The garden also contains an Ohlone Indian ethno-botanic garden and examples of Native American plants and artifacts

Many notable San Franciscans buried here
Mission Dolores is the final resting place of some 5,000 Ohlone, Miwok, and other First Californians who built Mission Dolores and were its earliest members and founders. Other notables include the first Mexican governor, Luis Antonio Arguello, the first commandant of the Presidio, Lieutenant Moraga, and victims of the Committee of Vigilance, Cora, Casey, and Sullivan. Cemetery markers date from 1830 to about 1898.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Battle at Shiloh

The Education Designs Team made a visit to the Shiloh Battlefield on their way up to Corinth, MS.

Dee Ann Owens, Curriculum Specialist

John Jack, Master Historian, and John Tibbetts, Military Historian.

Other Names: Pittsburg Landing
Date(s): April 6-7, 1862
Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell [US]; Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston and Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard [CS]
Estimated Casualties: 23,746 total (US 13,047; CS 10,699)

Description: As a result of the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson, Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, the commander in the area, was forced to fall back, giving up Kentucky and much of West and Middle Tennessee. He chose Corinth, Mississippi, a major transportation center, as the staging area for an offensive against Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and his Army of the Tennessee before the Army of the Ohio, under Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, could join it. The Confederate retrenchment was a surprise, although a pleasant one, to the Union forces, and it took Grant, with about 40,000 men, some time to mount a southern offensive, along the Tennessee River, toward Pittsburg Landing. Grant received orders to await Buell’s Army of the Ohio at Pittsburg Landing. Grant did not choose to fortify his position; rather, he set about drilling his men many of which were raw recruits. Johnston originally planned to attack Grant on April 4, but delays postponed it until the 6th. Attacking the Union troops on the morning of the 6th, the Confederates surprised them, routing many. Some Federals made determined stands and by afternoon, they had established a battle line at the sunken road, known as the “Hornets Nest.” Repeated Rebel attacks failed to carry the Hornets Nest, but massed artillery helped to turn the tide as Confederates surrounded the Union troops and captured, killed, or wounded most. Johnston had been mortally wounded earlier and his second in command, Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, took over. The Union troops established another line covering Pittsburg Landing, anchored with artillery and augmented by Buell’s men who began to arrive and take up positions. Fighting continued until after dark, but the Federals held. By the next morning, the combined Federal forces numbered about 40,000, outnumbering Beauregard’s army of less than 30,000. Beauregard was unaware of the arrival of Buell’s army and launched a counterattack in response to a two-mile advance by William Nelson’s division of Buell’s army at 6:00 am, which was, at first, successful. Union troops stiffened and began forcing the Confederates back. Beauregard ordered a counterattack, which stopped the Union advance but did not break its battle line. At this point, Beauregard realized that he could not win and, having suffered too many casualties, he retired from the field and headed back to Corinth. On the 8th, Grant sent Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman, with two brigades, and Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood, with his division, in pursuit of Beauregard. They ran into the Rebel rearguard, commanded by Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest, at Fallen Timbers. Forrest’s aggressive tactics, although eventually contained, influenced the Union troops to return to Pittsburg Landing. Grant’s mastery of the Confederate forces continued; he had beaten them once again. The Confederates continued to fall back until launching their mid-August offensive.

Result(s): Union victory

Friday, December 11, 2009

Teacher Content Knowledge Assessment Instrument

Post your evaluation questions/comments here.