Ironically, the General Harrison’s fame is not related to her career at sea.
but rather to the events that ensued after she dropped anchor for the last time in San Francisco’s harbor.
Although still fit for servi ce at sea, she met a fate common to many ships arriving at San Francisco during the height of the Gold Rush.
Shortly after her arrival at Yerba Buena Cove, she was abandoned by crew and passengers alike, all headed for California’s golden fronti er.
For some months, along with hundreds of other vessels, she swayed silently at anchor, idle and derelict.
While San Francisco’s harbor was filled with a glut of unwamed ships throughout 1850, the siruation on shore was far different.
New buildings could not be erected fasr enough to satisfy the requirements of the ciry’s exploding popul ation.
In particular, rhe lack of suirabl e warehouse space was acutely felt by merchants along the waterfront.
Local entrepreneurs soon devised a creative, profitable answer to this probl em-the storeship.
At the time, unwanted ships could be acquired easily and inexpensively.
The selected vessel was rowed to rhe desired waterfront location and transformed in to an instant building.
Throughout the Gold Rush, dozens of vessels were converted to storeship use in San Francisco and served not only as warehouses but as restaurants, saloons, hotels and, in one instance, the municipal jail.
By May 1850 the General Harrison had been sold to E.
Mickle and Company and rowed to the north side of the Clay Street Wharf where she was convened to a sroreship.
Afrer she was secured in the muddy shallows ofYerba Buena Cove, her masts and spars were removed,
all ballast was off-loaded from the hold, and the side of her hull was pierced for ease of access.
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