San Francisco 1878 and Crocker's 'Spite Fence'

In 1878 the British photographer, Eadweard Muybridge set up a battery of 13 cameras on the tower of the unfinished Mark Hopkins Mansion, each one aimed at a different part of the City.

The first image is zoomable. See the icons in the bottom right-hand corner.

 

Below: A detail from the third image

 

‘Crocker wanted to buy all of the block on which his mansion would stand, but one man, an undertaker named Yung, would not sell. In spite Crocker built a 40 foot wall enclosing three sides of Yung’s house. When Yung died, Crocker bought the property and the wall came down. Today such a scheme would not be allowed, but Crocker had the power in San Francisco to get away with it.’

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5 comments to San Francisco Panorama, 1878, and Crocker’s ‘Spite Fence’

  • supertamsf

    Magnificent! Thank you so much for posting what a find. #spitefence

  • Tom

    What a horrible illustration of the cruelty between neighbors. Though illegal today, I have lived and experienced mire ‘spite fences’ than I care to remember. This is among the most horrifying images I’ve found on this site.

  • Stephen K

    Does anyone have the URL for the original image? TIA.

  • Chris

    Try this, Stephen

  • IgotBupkis

    Today such a scheme would not be allowed, but Crocker had the power in San Francisco to get away with it.’

    Yeah, today, Crocker would get the city to steal the property from Yung on the basis of Kelo, using the argument that he would pay more taxes on it than Yung. And the government of SanFran would fall all over themselves to do it as quickly as they could.

    The abuses possible today are much worse than they were then. Governments have far, far more power over the use and ownership of private property than ever before.

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