Saturday, November 28, 2009

Youth and Vice, 1887

In December 1887, the Vallejo Evening Chronicle reported on the following scandalous situation in San Francisco:

“The father of a child attending the public school in the Western Addition, called Wednesday on Secretary Bennett of the Society for the Prevention of Vice, to make a complaint against the indecent pictures circulated in cigarette packages. He brought a handful with him which he had taken from his little boy who was making an album of them after the manner of postage stamp collectors. He said the other boys were doing so, and exchanging with each other when they had two or more of a kind. The worse the pictures were, or the more female nudity they displayed, the more they were in demand, his son told him, and boys who did not smoke cigarettes themselves rivaled each other in begging the pictures. This he thought was a fruitful cause of demoralization among the youths of the city, and he asked if something could not be done to stop the sale of such pictures in cigarette packages. Mr. Bennett said that as the packages were not put up here but at the East mostly in New York, it would be difficult to reach the evil, which he recognized as a great one, but he would write to Anthony Comstock about the matter at once, and see if something could not be done to abate the unbearable nuisance.”

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cemeteries and Brickyards

This article from the Vallejo Evening Chronicle (August 20, 1918) refers to the original Vallejo Cemetery, which was located where the present-day railroad cut runs under Sacramento Street, just north of Tennessee Street.

"There need be no surprise that the workmen grading near the Vallejo & Northern cut unearthed skeletons. All old-timers remember that the original grave yard of Vallejo was located on the hill adjoining the fence bounding the Austin, later Carter, ranch on the south. Up to the year 1870 there remained the picket fence enclosures surrounding some of the graves. Nearly all the bodies are removed to the Carquinez Cemetery on the Benicia Road, but a few were allowed to remain there. A different and stronger growth of weeds and wild plants has always indicated where the ground had been dug up on the old grave yard site."

"This pioneer cemetery was in what was called the "brick yard." When one speaks of the brick yard to newcomers, they think of the brick works further north,* but the "brick yard" of old was the flat through which the Vallejo and Northern, now the Northern electric, excavation was made. It was so called because the soil in the vicinity was adapted to brick making and bricks were there made and sun dried. A pile of these old bricks stood there up to comparatively recent times. The Astor House** on Virginia Street was built of these bricks of home manufacture."

"The Vallejo soil is good for the making of ordinary brick. That is why so many efforts have been made to establish brick works here. They have failed because of the lack of some important element which had to be imported, thus increasing the cost of manufacture and making it impossible to compete with other places where conditions were more favorable."

"The present public cemetery, the Carquinez Cemetery, was donated to the City of Vallejo in 1857 by John B. Frisbie. When donated a road ran through the center, dividing the 25 acres equally between the Catholic and Protestant population. This caused the desertion of the cemetery which has just been unearthed."

* That brickworks was located on the northernmost end of present-day Wilson Avenue, along the Napa River.

** Now demolished