The Turn of the Century - Artists & Adventurers
Francisco & the Bohemian Club
California Artists at the Turn of the Century Gallery
In looking at the California Gold Rush era, by the time of the end of the Civil War in the eastern and southern states (1661-1665), the individual or small mining team efforts for placer and quartz mining that had marked the first phase of the California Gold Rush were winding down.
Between the mid 1800s Gold Rush and the modern era, there is a period of time we will generalize as 1870-1910, and call it 'Turn of the Century". During this period a variety of bonanzas made California millionaires - wheat shipped to China and England, lumber stripped from ancient temperate rain forests, river and ocean shipping, transcontinental railroads, Sierra backcountry hydraulic strip mining, and Nevada silver and gold mining stocks.
Four prominent events of this post Civil War period that effected California's future were enacted by very different groups of people, and these events set the tone for the future of the treatment of the California backcountry :
1. The opening of the transcontinental railroad by Sacramento railroad tycoons, and the industry / costs the railroad unleashed on the state
2. Water and land use rights battles that tore California a part, pitting mountain miners against valley farmers.
3. John Muir and colleague's efforts to establish environmental protection for wilderness lands and efforts to prevent mass water projects that would require damming wild rivers to provide supplies for distant urban centers.
4. The Bohemian art colonies of San Francisco, the East Bay, and Monterey where writers and painters sought to capture the unique temperament and natural environment of the new state.
To learn more about these forces at work in turn of the century California, we can study the following over views :
Art Colonies - writers, painters, and photographers sought to capture the California spirit on paper and canvas
Land and Water Use Battles - From formation of the National Parks to the fight over the Hetch-Hetchy.
Battle for Environmental Protection