top of page

San Francisco

Howard Street, where Chinese businesses were destroyed


At the same time the police were fighting the mob at the docks, smaller groups took advantage of the decreased numbers of officers in other parts of the city. There were several dozen somewhat isolated Chinese businesses in the area south of Market Street, and a mob estimated at 200 or more took a battering ram and broke into most of them. They ransacked the interior, stole anything of value, and destroyed the rest. The few rioters who were caught from this mob ranged from 12 to 16 years old.


The following day a major effort was made to enlist more special deputies, and by evening this militia force numbered nearly 5,000 men. They became known as the Pick Handle Brigade because most of them had no weapons except picks or shovels. Still, the strength of their numbers was enough to keep any more mobs from forming. By the end of the week conditions in the city had returned to near normal.

Sources: Garner, McDannold, Pfaelzer, Sandmeyer, Shumsky



<Previous   |   1   |     |   3  |   4 

About this site: The San Francisco Examiner reported that "mobs began attacking the washhouses on Howard near 7th and then spread through the rest of the area." The 1877 Sanborn Fire Insurance map for San Francisco shows two Chinese washhouses in this area across the street in this photograph.

bottom of page