daily lifestyle in gold rush SF--newspaper & trash disposal?

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Hi--Still plugging away on my novel that takes place in SF in 1853. I've come up with a lifestyle question. There were more than 12 newspapers published in SF at that time. What would people likely do with old papers when they were done? Burn them? Toss them? Use them for something? This impacts on a particular plot point I'm developing. Would appreciate your thoughts!(I've seen a lot of references to trash just being thrown around town, and resultant problems with rats, etc. Does anybody know if there was any organized efforts at trash disposal on a community level?) TIA.

-- dorothy (leland@dcn.davis.ca.us), May 18, 1999


San Francisco would have been very much like Sacramento during that time. Much of the trash was dumped into privy pits. I briefly worked an archaeologic dig in Old Sacramento and the privy pits were the source of most of our artifacts. With the water so close, the bay and creeks would have been another natural dumping spot. Paper, wood scraps, and other burnables would be used to start or fuel cooking and heating fires. Newspapers could be used for wallpaper and insulation in the hastily built shanties that grew up at the time. Urban/historic archaeology reports could be a good source for a lot the information you seek. Talk to someone in the appropriate department on campus.

Good luck, D.M.

-- Don Martinich (dutchm@dcn.davis.ca.us), May 23, 1999.

I lived in an old house in San Francisco built in the late 1800's. For some reason we had to remove some boards from an interior wall. Underneath we found that the walls were lined with newspapers from the time of construction. Same goes for the stair

-- Ellen Osborne (ellen@laplaza.org), June 02, 1999.

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