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A Map of the Ships Buried Under San Francisco

The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park made a map of where the ships are buried under the city. Yes, that's strange. It's notably strange that they know where the ships are, and that there are enough of them to warrant a map, but the real question is why are there ships buried underneath San Francisco? The story goes back to the Gold Rush of 1848. Many ships carried people to San Francisco, but there wasn't much cargo to carry out, and an empty boat makes no money. Contributing to the problem were the sailors who contracted gold fever just like the passengers. Some boats were abandoned, others were repurposed as buildings, and some were used in a land-grab scheme.

A few ships were sunk intentionally. Then as now, real estate was a hot commodity in San Francisco, but the laws at the time had a few more loopholes. “You could sink a ship and claim the land under it,” Everett says. You could even pay someone to tow your ship into position and sink it for you. Then, as landfill covered the cove, you’d eventually end up with a piece of prime real estate. All this maneuvering and the competition for space led to a few skirmishes and gunfights.

As the city grew quickly, the shallow coves were filled in with rock, sand, and debris right over top of unused boats. Today, San Francisco has a subway train that runs right through an underground ship! Read more about these buried boats and see the full map at National Geographic. -via Urban Ghosts

(Image credit: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park)


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