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San Francisco As Seen By An Intelligent Traveler

San Francisco is not like anything but itself. The hills on which it is built are partly covered with houses, and partly projecting in huge banks of earth; so that the city looks as if stuck on a hill side. Altogether it has a raw and half finished appearance, unlike any of the cities of the Old World, and not like many of the new. But, if the first view is disappointing, the second and nearer view is reassuring. When one lands at the quay and enters the city, he soon perceives the signs of a vigorous life. He drives through miles of well-built streets; the shops and stores are large, and gay with animation, and all wears an air of business no where seen in an American city. But the people were what most struck us. There was a bustling activity that we had not seen for a year beforeómen stepped quickly, as though they had something to do. This eager movement was the more startling to us coming from the Old World, it was in such contrast with the torpid and languid life of the millions of Asia. We found that we were indeed in the New World. This impression grows upon us the longer we stay. In walking the streets we are struck with the number of fine heads and intelligent faces. It seems as if we had seen them before. No doubt some of them we have seen in eastern cities. But there is an individuality about them which is very marked, and makes us often turn to look at them again. Thus full of life, San Francisco begins to have a fascination for us, and after several weeks here, we have come to think it one of the most attractive cities in our whole country, East or West. ó Henry M. Field

San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser
November 11, 1876