Preliminary Draft -- History in Development
Copyright by John M. Olney, March 11, 2005 all rights reserved
Alfred Lovering Tubbs
(1827 - 1896)
The Major Business Enterprises
Tubbs Cordage Company, San Francisco
Tubbs Hotel, Oakland
Hillcrest Estate & Chateau Montelena Winery, Calistoga
Part 1 - About The Tubbs San Francisco, California Operations
Alfred L. Tubbs, born in Deering, NH, in 1827, came to California in the early 1850s with his older brother, Hiram, (also born in Deering, but in 1824). Alfred married Miss Elizabeth Chapin and Hiram married Abby Ann Stanyan. Apparently Alfred became a member of the San Francisco Vigilance Committee immediately upon his arrival for his signature is shown on the roll sheet of a _______, 1851 meeting of the Committee. Others in attendance who had business interests in Napa also signed in at this meeting. They were Sam Brannan, California’s first millionaire and creator of Calistoga, and Jacob P. Leese, who received one of the 14 Mexican Land Grants given out by General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo in the mid-1830s.
The brothers started the Tubbs Cordage Company in 1856 and they built their business on a site now occupied by San Francisco’s Muni’s Woods Yard. (See my photos coming soon). Originally the land was owned by the De Haro family. Prior to them the land was had been used for cattle and goat grazing. Review of the Sanborn Insurance maps of 1899, shows that Tubbs Cordage Company was located on a parcel encompassed by today’s streets of Iowa Street (west side), 22nd Street - formerly known as “Sierra Street“ (north side), 3rd Street (east side) and 23rd Street (south or bay side). (See my map coming soon ) They were producing rope and selling it to ship riggers and mining companies throughout the Western United States, Mexico, Peru,China and Japan.
This area is known as the “Potrero Hill” and Potrero Point” area located just south of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge about three miles from Market Street. The deep water adjacent to Potrero Point created an excellent opportunity for industrial development. The first to operate there were shipbuilding, ship repair and gunpowder storage. In 1854, E.I. du Pont de Nemours Company, one of the largest manufacturers of black gunpowder in the United States, constructed their first powder magazine on the West Coast near the corner of Maryland and Humboldt Streets, now the site of P.G. & E’s Potrero Power Plant. In 1855, Hazard Powder Company (Don’t you love that name!) constructed their gunpowder manufacturing facility on 23rd Street, between Maryland and Louisiana Streets. They built wharves for loading kegs onto ships. These gunpowder manufacturers continued operations until the encroachment of other bus- inesses and labor resource housing made it too dangerous to have people and hazardous materials in close proximity to each other. By 1881 both companies sold their plants to Claus Spreckels (the sugar giant) and moved to rural Contra Costa County. (See the history and growth of Port Chicago)
The establishment of San Francisco Cordage Manufactory (a.k.a. Tubbs Cordage Co.) at Potrero Point in 1856 had much to do with the industrialization of Potrero Point and the demise of the gunpowder manufacturer’s. These new industries also required land with deep-water access. The initial Tubb’s building was a 35’ x 1,000’, one-story, wood-frame shed that extended in a southeasterly direction from the present-day intersection of Iowa and 22nd Streets to a wharf in the bay (see artist rendition). Inside the shed was the ropewalk: initially about 1000’ long, it was eventually extended another 500’. The workers used this shed to twist strands of yarn made from hemp and abaca fibers into ropes. There was also a 1500-foot ropewalk extending to the bay shoreline, which was probably used as a wharf. This shed/rope walk reached the original shoreline right about 22nd and _______. Today, the shoreline, developed after massive landfill, is a good ______ away from the original site shoreline. Tubbs was also a ships’ chandlers company. (See Part 2 to my Tubbs saga)
In 1862, The Cordage Company, of San Francisco, became a full-fledged corporation with the filing of articles of incorporation in Sacramento. It was capitalized with $100,000 and it. Trustees were Alfred L. and Hiram Tubbs, James C. and Edward P. Flint, and George H. Kellogg. (My research on the latter three continues)
By 1889 the company was renamed Tubbs Cordage Company and it became one of the largest employers in the community of “Dogpatch” that had grown up just north of the plant in the l870s and 1880s. “Dogpatch” included roughly a nine-block area of residential housing of the industrial workers employed by the Potrero Point industrial companies. The neighborhood contains about 100 flats and cottages, and numerous commercial, industrial and government buildings. The area was developed between 1870 and 1930. The earliest surviving dwelling in Dogpatch was constructed in 1872 for a boat builder named William J. Thompson, employed by a local boat builder in the proximity of Illinois Street.
In addition to Tubbs Cordage Co., the Coast Survey Map of 1883 -- the first was taken in 1869 -- listed the following significant industries along the shores of the landfill area:
The boatyards (REWRITE BELOW)
The early shipyards illustrated the potential of the district as a major shipbuilding center, a realization not lost on the owners of Union Iron Works and other major San Francisco manufacturers. Most important to the history of Dogpatch, the boat yards began to attract a significant residential labor force to the area.
In 1862 John North, San Francisco’s most prominent shipbuilder, led the way by relocating his shipyard from Steamboat Point on the northern edge of Mission Bay to a large site near the foot of Sierra Street (now 22nd Street) on Potrero Point. Other boat and ship builders followed North to Potrero Point. The construction of boatyards began to change the landscape of Potrero Point. The 1869 Coast Survey map shows five wharves and shipways along the rugged coastline of Potrero Point, two blocks east of what is now Dogpatch ( See Figure __).
San Francisco Gas Light Company (later known as Pacific Gas & Electric),
The San Francisco Gas Light Company commenced operations in 1872 and parts of it exist today in the present plant owned by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Construction began in 1870 in four- block area fronting the bay and stretching between Humboldt and Sierra (now renamed 22nd) Streets. In 1873, the City Gas Company merged with the Metropolitan Gas Company and the San Francisco Gas Company to form the San Francisco Gas Light Company. In 1899 the company expanded its physical presence in Potrero Point by constructing a large power house, machine shop, meter house and purifying house on Humboldt Street to the southeast of the survey area (these buildings still stand).
Pacific Rolling Mills (Becomes Bethlehem Steel) On May 10, 1866 Pacific Rolling Mills was organized by the industrialists William Alvord, John Bensley and D.O. Mills. In that year they successfully received a grant of submerged land north of Potrero Point from the State Legislature. Alvord, the president of Pacific Rolling Mills then purchased approximately twenty acres on the north shore of Potrero Point and began building wharves and buildings at the foot of Napa Street (now 20th Street). In July 1868 Pacific Rolling Mills began producing rolled steel, the first product of this kind on the West Coast. Pacific Rolling Mills turned out about 30,000 tons of iron and 10,000 tons of steel annually and gradually specialized in the manufacture of rails, locomotive parts, marine and engine forgings, bolts, nuts, railroad spikes, track nails, washers and coil chains.
In the mid-1890s Pacific Rolling Mills was renamed Risdon Iron & Locomotive Works and the company changed its emphasis to building dredges,which had been invented by the company in 1897 to support gold mining operations. In 1911 Bethlehem Steel bought out Risdon and merged the plant with their adjacent San Francisco Yard.
Union Iron Works (VERIFY NAMES AND DATES SEQUENCE)
Union Iron Works was founded in 1849 by the brothers Peter, James and Michael Donahue and although little more than a blacksmith’s shop, the business was the first iron works established on the West Coast. Gradually, Union Iron works bought out its nearby competitors at Potrero Point,including Atlas Iron Works and Risdon Locomotive Works. In 1862 the company became known as Donahue Iron & Brass Company.
In 1865 Union Iron Works built the first locomotive on the West Coast for the San Francisco-San Jose Railroad. Within the next decade Union Iron Works was manufacturing most of the heavy machinery used by mining companies working the Comstock Lode. By 1865, Donahue had sold his interest in the Union Iron Works and it became known as H. J. Booth & Co. I n the early 1880s, Booth & Co. in turn was reorganized under the management of partner Irving Murray Scott and renamed Prescott, Scott & Co.
The first military contracts completed were the battle cruisers Charleston and San Francisco, which were launched in 1888, the first cruisers launched on the West Coast. Then came the cruiser Olympia and the battleship Oregon (launched in 1893).
In 1902 the United States Shipbuilding Company, a trust headed by Lewis Nixon and Charles Schwab, acquired Union Iron Works, as well as seven other major shipyards in the nation. After the company went into receivership Charles M. Schwab successfully bid $1,000,000 for the Union Iron Works on behalf of Bethlehem Steel, at a public auction in 1905. Schwab appointed Joseph J. Tynan as the new superintendent of Bethlehem Steel’s San Francisco Yard, as Union Iron Works was renamed. In 1911 Bethlehem Steel purchased Risdon Iron & Locomotive Shipbuilding Works (formerly Pacific Rolling Mills) and added them to the San Francisco Yard.
Sugar Refineries (REWRTE)
Sea Island Sugar House
In 1863, Claus Spreckels sold his store for $50,000 and his brewery for $75,000 and organized the small Bay Area Sugar Refinery in San Francisco, and this business, like those before, boomed. In 1866, he reorgan- ized and built the California Sugar Refinery in San Francisco to produce 12 tons per day. By 1869, he was producing 60 tons per day. By 1871, 125 tons per day. The brand name for the Spreckels product was "Sea Island Sugar."
California Sugar Refinery.
In 1881, Spreckels purchased a five-block site (former gunpowder manufacturers) on the south shore of Potrero Point, east of Louisiana and south of Humboldt Streets, and commenced construction of the California Sugar Refinery. The massive brick buildings which comprised the plant included the Melt/Filter House, the Wash House and the Char House. All of this was from sugar cane imported from Hawaii, the Philippines, China, Java and the Sacramento River Delta (by barge). The plant produced 900 tons per day.
The California Sugar Refinery was purchased by the American Sugar Refining Company in 1891 and renamed the Western Sugar Refinery by its new owners. In 1949, California & Hawaiian Sugar Refining Corporation bought the Refinery. After determining that the plant was too old to be refurbished and modernized at a cost that would make it profitable, the machinery was sold for scrap in 1951 and the building demolished.
California Poppy Soap Company (My research on this industry continues)
California Barrel Company
First established at Potrero Point in 1884 on Louisiana Street, between Humboldt and Nevada Streets, the company was one of the earliest barrel manufacturers in San Francisco. In 1900 the factory was relocated to Sierra and Illinois Streets, where it remained in operation until 1956. The site is now occupied by a P.G. & E. parking lot.
Arctic Oil Works
San Francisco was the biggest whaling port in the world during the during time- frame of 1882-1908 and this company was part of it. (My research on this industry continues) The site was eventually replaced by Union Oil's petroleum depot by the turn of the 1900s.
Farming & Ranching
Charles Hawes build a fairly good size home and established the Ramon-Hawes Ranch with the Ramon family. They had a cattle barn and large windmill on the property all of which they operated until 1912.
Southern Pacific Cattle Yards
(My research on this industry continues)
Preliminary Draft - History in DevelopmentSEE PART 2 for more stuff on Tubbs & Chateau Montelena
Preliminary Draft - History in Development
Copyright by John M. Olney, March 11, 2005
Folger & Tubbs, ship chandlers, 49 Pacific, San Francisco was another of the Tubbs Brothers enterprises in San Francisco. (more text coming here soon)
About the Tubbs Oakland, California Operations
In 1870, after amassing quite a fortune from their business enterprises, the Tubbs brothers created a magnificent hotel in the _________ area of Oakland. It was simply called “Tubbs Hotel,” but it was not a simple looking facility. (See picture coming soon) Its size was quite impressive. It occupied all the land between 4th and 5th Avenues and East 12th and East 14th Streets in Oakland. The brothers even constructed a streetcar system to transport vacationers and businessmen between their hotel and downtown Oakland.
Included in their guest lists were Anthony Chabot who’s brother built the Villa Remi winery near the St. Helena Hospital in Deer Park, along the road to Angwin in Napa County, California. Another prominent guest was Robert Louis Stevenson, the author who wrote about Jacob Schram’s winery (now Schramsberg winery) in his book, “Silverado Squatters,” after he and his bride visited Calistoga, California in 1880. Famous author-genius, Gertrude Stein and her brother, Leo, stayed at the Tubbs Hotel before she left America in 1904. She did not return for almost 30 years.
Sadly the hotel suffered the most common calamity of the times- massive fire - and burned to the ground in 1893.
About the Tubbs Napa Valley, California Operations
In the late 1870s, Alfred Tubbs and his family frequented the White Sulphur Springs Resort located just to the southwest of downtown St. Helena. The owner of the property at that time was Swen Alstrom who was a major partner in the San Francisco hotels Oriental and Lick House (corner of Sutter and Montgomery, San Francisco- burned down following the 1906 earthquake). (MORE HERE)
In 1882, Tubbs purchased the John Hoover farm (200 acres) and the J.M. Wright farm (122 acres) at the southern base of Mt. St. Helena in Calistoga. First he built his home, a magnificent mansion on a hill and a wood-frame winery with a reported capacity of 150,000 gallons. The 1st crush was in 1886. This wooden winery was later destroyed by fire. The estate consisted of 322 acres of vineyard and pasture lands upon the hillside as well as the flatlands of the valley. He had planted 110 acres of vines and envisioned planting another fifty with Cabernet Sauvignon. Tubbs retained Hoover to manage the estate property.
The Ch. Montelena website indicates that "by 1896 his stone winery (2nd he built), christened Chateau Montelena (a contracted form of Mount Saint Helena), was the seventh largest in the Napa Valley." The capacity of the cellar was reportedly 265,000 gallons.
Jerome Bardot was the cellar master. He was native of Arbois, in the Jura, France. In 1878 he came to Napa County and worked for Jacob Schram - now known as Schramsberg winery -who shared wine with the famous author, Robert Lewis Stevenson (wrote Silverado Squatters, Treasure Island among other great books). He remained with Schram until mid-year 1884. The wines he made earned gold metals at Sacramento and at London, England, for superior excellence. (GET EXACT YEAR AND VARIETAL) In 1885, Bardot made an extended visit throughout all the wine regions of Europe. He took with him a collection of the California wines and offered his contacts tastes of what could be made in Napa.. When he returned to California in 1885, he went to worked for the Napa Valley Wine Company (NVWC) which had been formed in 1883 by Tubbs, Charles Krug and others. In 1886, Tubbs stole Bardot away from the NVWC and he became cellar master at Chateau Montelena.
In 1891, Tubbs went on a buying trip to Europe where he purchased vines from the Liebfraumilch vineyard at Johannisburg, Chateau Yquem, and Chateau Latite to be used to further upgrade the quality of his wines.
Alfred L.Tubbs death came in 1896. His brother, Hiram, died a year later in 1897. In San Francisco, The street between 22nd and 23rd, and stretching between Indiana and Tennessee was named “Tubbs” in their honor. It is interesting to note that all of the male children and grandchildren of the Tubbs brothers’ were identified with the Tubbs Cordage Company in one capacity or another. Also, it should be noted that some of the husbands of the daughters of these two men were bookkeepers with the Tubbs Cordage Co.
Alfred and his wife, Elizabeth Chapin, produced three sons and one daughter. They would continue both the San Francisco and Napa Valley businesses. All three of his sons graduated from Harvard University.
Austin C. Tubbs, the third son, married Miss Anne Tallant, daughter of the late Drury John Tallant and they had two children. Austin C. Tubbs died in November 1899 (check shown by Pacific Club) The older son, Austin, died in 1901. Tallant, the younger son, was employed by Tubbs Cordage. However, his career took him to many endeavors. During the period 1925-1937, he served as a state Senator. In the year 1932, the Democratic party supported his canididcy for U.S. Senator. (MORE RESEARCH AS TO ELECTION OUTCOME)
The second son, William Bray Tubbs, also worked for the Tubbs Cordage Company until his death in December 1915 shown by Pacific Club. He married Jennie Filkins, and they had two children: Chapin Filkins Tubbs and Emilie Tubbs.
The first son, Alfred Steward Tubbs, assumed presidency of the Tubbs Cordage Co. He married Miss Alice Hagar, and they had no children as of 1924 . (NEED MORE HERE)
Alfred and Elizabeth Tubbs only daughter was Nettie Kellogg Tubbs. In 1892, she married Joseph S. Oyster, a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. (My research continues on her).
Tubbs Holdings following repeal of Prohibition (REWRITE ALL)
Prohibition brought about the closure of the Tubbs family winery operation in Calistoga; however, they continued to be in the grape growing business. Tallant Tubbs was active during the period of Prohibition in generating political support to repeal the 18th Amendment The Tubbs family continued to use the Hillcrest Estate until 1958 when they sold the property. It was good fortune that they sold when they did because the giant Hanley Ranch fire in 1964 swept through their former property totally destroying the mansion and farm building sparing only the stone winery nestled safely against the hillside.
San Francisco City Directories reveal that Tubbs Cordage Company remained a major manufacturer in San Franciscoand employer in Dogpatch from the late 1870s until the San Francisco facility was shut down in 1962. The complex was gradually demolished and in 1978 the last remaining buildings were replaced by a bus yard for the San Francisco Municipal Railway system.
In addition to having a Potrero area street named after him, the Tubbs Cordage Company office building was salvaged and moved to the Aquatic Park area at the north end of Hyde Street, near Fisherman’s Wharf, where it can be viewed as a National Historical Building. In addition to the above recognition, the most northern street north of Calistoga was named after Tubbs. (It crosses the valley floor and connects Hwy 128 going to Santa Rosa and Hwy 29 going to Clear Lake)
The Yort Wing Frank Era at Hillcrest/Chateau Montelena (REWRITE ALL)
“York and his wife Jade (SOME SOURCES SAY HER NAME WAS JEANNE - CONFIRM HER NAME) bought the property and converted the upper floor of the building into their residence. He did not use the winery facility however he created the Oriental Water Garden, which remains on the property today. It includes a 5-acre lake surrounding four island interconnected by curved oriental design walking bridges, and replica of a Chinese Junk.” (JUNK GONE ON MY MAR 10, 05 VISIT TO PROPERTY)
“Jade Lake is considered one of Napa Valley's most beautiful sanctuaries home to a variety of fish and wildlife and surrounded by weeping willows and native fauna.”
“During the long interval between Tubbs proprietorship and the current one, one owner, Yort Frank began to make the property into a showcase Chinese garden. His legacy --a lake with a tea houses on islands-- makes a serene setting for picnics."
The Rebirth of Winegrowing at Chateau Montelena (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
In 1968, Lee and Helen Paschich purchased the winegrowing property and they too resided in the converted second floor of the winery. They were joined shortly thereafter by two partners: James L. Barrett, a Southern California lawyer, and Earnest Hahn, a Chicago area supermarket developer and Southern California Mall developer. (more to come here)
Preliminary Draft - History in Development
"Part Two - Chateau Montelena Reborn" will be available shortly.