Site of The Sandlot
In the 1870's a vacant lot near the new City Hall became known as "The Sandlot" - a place where workers and other members of the public could voice their opinions about the popular issues in the city and around the country. The economy was suffering, especially for the working class of the city, and speakers at The Sandlot often called for radical actions to improve wages and working conditions.
On the night of July 23rd, 1877, a crowd estimated at least 5,000 people gathered to hear various speakers campaign for an eight-hour work day and for the nationalization of the railroads. Within a short time, however, labor organizer Denis Kearney and others began to lash out against the Chinese in the city, blaming them for a lack of jobs and difficult economic times. As the speeches became more and more charged with racist language, tempers flared. Two shots rang out, and within minutes a full-scale riot erupted. Men spread out in every direction, intent upon ridding the city of its Chinese residents.
Sources: Garner, McDannold, Pfaelzer, Sandmeyer, Shumsky
About this site: The Sandlot was a well-known feature in San Francisco during the 1880's. It is prominently marked on a Sanborn Fire Insurance Company map of the city from 1887. I was able to find the exact location by overlaying the old map with a current one. This photo shows the exact location that the Sandlot once occupied, at the corner of 8th and Market Streets.