How old do you think this San Francisco mansion is

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A new roof for only $40.--? Even for back then, that's quite a good deal. Expect to part company with several thousand for a similar job today.

Glad to hear your research is paying off.

Michael H. Standart

Here's a photograph of a house similiar to the Dodge home that still exists. It's on Jackson and Laguna Street, about two blocks down from where the Dodge home was. The door at the entrace is the original, and it's huge. In fact, the whole place looks pretty original, unlike many of the preserved homes of yesteryear.

Check out the pictures of the Spreckels mansion on that page too, it's enormous.

Thanks, guys. I really enjoyed the research. And I want to follow up with the County Recorder to see when Dodge left that area and went to 840 Powell. Obviously, he must have been experiencing a decline in wealth.

Mike, we got the hail, too. Mount Diablo's peaks have more snow on them than I've ever seen.
I wouldn't mind having that spreckles mansion for myself. Plenty of room for my library and my cats.

That stonemasonry looks like some really exquisite craftsmanship.

Michael H. Standart
"It's a small world after all . . ."

Boy, it is ever. Henry T. Scott, who owned 2129 Laguna Street before Dr. Dodge acquired it, and had President William McKinley stay over at his residence as a guest, was one of the public figures whose name was raised in connection with the 1906-1907 graft prosecutions in San Francisco (see conversation "In The Footsteps of Dr. Washington Dodge").

Scott was chairman of what was then called Pacific States Telephone and Telegraph Co. In 1906, the company bribed the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, with $50,000. The object was to keep out of the city any competing telephone franchise. Board member Louis Glass was indicted for bribery and graft, along with Theodore V. Halsey. The rest of the board, including Scott, testified before the Grand Jury to the effect that they didn't know how the funds had been paid to the Supervisors. Scott apparently wasn't indicted.

Subsequently, on Oct. 12, 1908, a committee appointed by the mayor issued the "Report On Causes Of Municipal Corruption In San Francisco," which identified Scott, and other powerful businessmen in San Francisco, and stated the following:

"Whether boards of directors which have on them many men of integrity in their private affairs, but which are unable to discover that large sums are being paid as bribes to secure benefits for their companies, and which retain benefits after they discover they have been stolen, would be any more efficient in discovering or punishing such frauds on their patrons, is a matter for the present and future officials of the city to solve . . . we feel it is within our jurisdiction to report the names of the prsons who ssat on the boards of directors either during 1906, in which times the briberies where committed, or in 1906, when the briberies were disclosed".

The corruption was so rampant that relief funds secured for the victims of the 1906 earthquake were even embezzled.

As set forth in the "Footsteps" conversation, the criminal element bombed one (D. H. Gallegher's) supervisor's house, mugged a newspaper editor, shot the prosecutor, and kidnapped another editor.

The leading crook, Abraham Ruef, who was eventually sent to San Quentin prison, was indicted in 1906. Then, there occurred a ploy that's akin to the famous Watergate Nixon-Cox "Saturday Night Massacre," i.e., when he was indicted, Ruef tried (through then acting mayor Gallegher) to fire D.A. Langdon and get himself appointed as district attorney. Fortunately, a judge denied that.

After Ruef was finally arrested and imprisoned, (in the St. Francis Hotel --because the police were crooked too, and their jail couldn't be used), he sought release under a writ of habeas corpus. A drunk judge granted the petition. The attorney for the D.A.'s office walked out of the courtroom, in frustration.

Guess who that attorney was? None other than Hiram Johnson, who later prosecuted Dr. Dodge in connection with the Poulsen Wireless Corporation scandals in 1919!!

This litigation so depressed Dr. Dodge that he mortally wounded himself, and died, on June 30, 1919. Incidentally, Dodge's attorney was Gavin McNab, the man Dodge had admonished not to run for mayor in 1905, because San Francisco Bulletin editor Fremont Older threatened to expose McNab's agent's bribery of a state senate committee, if McNab ran (see "Footsteps" conversation).
Corruption, graft, intrigue, murder, and a suicide...who says Chicago gets to have all the 'fun'?

Betcha things haven't changed much either.

Michael H. Standart
Well, Michael, there's more than a few people who would agree with you. In 1978, Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, were shot and killed by Supervisor Dan White. Diane Feinstein, our current senator, took over as the mayor. Some years later, after serving time in prision, White was released, became very distraught, and killed himself.

Some people are very critical of San Francisco's current mayor, Willie Brown (who, incidentally, is behind the Titanic II project). Someone accused him of voting 1,400 dead people in a recent election. His response was to the effect that if he were going to fix an election, he would have voted 14,000 dead people, not 1,400!!! What a response . . .

A well-known lawyer, and purportedly a friend of Willie Brown, was found a couple of years ago --shot dead in his car. It was thought that the lawyer was killed by some gang member client whom he had crossed.

Willie Brown has this Korean woman, whose name escapes me, for a secretary. She poses for centerfolds and pin up type photographs, and has a web page (but I don't know where it is).

So, perhaps that gives you a flavor for San Francisco's political tradition. Nonetheless, it seems that credit is due to the people who got rid of the Schmitz-Ruef administration, in 1906. These people include Fremont Older, Hiram Johnson, Rudolph Spreckels, D.A. Langdon, Hiram Johnson, and prosecutor Heney (who was shot in the courtroom, no less). Speckels funded the prosecution of Ruef from his own money. Taking on Ruef back then was like confronting Al Capone.

Dr. Dodge may have been indirectly associated with Older and the rest of the group, and probably quietly sided with them. Certainly, as a member of the Democratic party, Dr. Dodge ran for the Assessor's Office on the 1905 Republican-Democratic "fusion" ticket --which opposed the re-election of Schmitz.

I was just so amazed at how crooked the city's administration had been. It was so bad that when Schmitz visited Washington, D.C., then president Theodore Roosevelt refused to meet with him. By the way, I found out recently that Schmitz, by trade, was a musician. Watch out for those musician mayors.

I did a bit of legwork, including trips to the San Francisco Public Library, and the Building Authority --but a lot of information, particularly about the graft scandal, is on the web. Check out the San Francisco History Museum site at:
Willie Brown probably did have 14,000 dead people vote....but if so, he was hardly original. The graveyard vote is yet another fine tradition which caught on after it became fashionable in Chicago.

By the way, on that Titanic II project, is the sticker shock starting to make them come to their senses, or are they still trying to pull it off?

Michael H. Standart
Hi Bill, good to hear from you again. We're talking about corruption in San Francisco politics. I'm sure you can think of something to add to this.

Here's Pacific Telephone president Henry T. Scott, who used to own 2129 Laguna Street. Dr. Dodge bought the property from him.

Scott's company gave $50,000 to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1906, in order to retain Pacific Telephone's franchise monopoly --but, in 1907, when everyone was getting indicted for bribery and the like, Scott claimed not to know about what that money was for (That's $50,000 in 1906 dollars, the equivalent of $600,000 today!!!).

Michael asked about "Titanic II." Here's an article that about sums up everything: this reporter suggests that San Francisco develop nearby Treasure Island to become "Crony Island," as a San Francisco political tradition theme park. Titanic II will be docked there, along with other political crony projects.
Sounds like Ken Garcia has little use for the current junta...ah regime...oops...administration...

Ahhhh, whatever! Bottom line, looks like the Titanic II project is still on track and slated for Treasure Island. I took some DC training at Treasure Island in the Buttercup simulator 11 years ago. Now I hear it's gone to tumbleweeds and trailers. A pity. The place deserved better.

BTW, Bill, glad to see you're back. Hope you stay awhile.

Michael H. Standart
I ran across an interesting tidbit of history that's related to this conversation. President McKinley visited San Francisco in 1901 (and stayed at what would later be Dr. Washington Dodge's residence), to dedicate the monument to Admiral Dewey in Union Square. McKinley was assassinated six months later. It turns out that a struggling college student named Alma was the model for the statute. She had been posing in the nude for art students to get money to pay her tuition. Here's a close up picture of the statute, when taken down in the 1930's, for repairs.

Anyway, the statute caught the eye of wealthy San Francisco millionaire, Adolph Spreckels, who later married Alma. They lived in the enormous mansion at 2080 Washington Street (see picture above). Alma became quite prominent in San Francisco society circles. The monument of was re-dedicated to President McKinley, as well as Admiral Dewey.
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