San Francisco, a City Built on Ships

“San Francisco, a City Built on Ships.”

During California’s golden age, hopeful prospectors flocked to California from all over the world. As soon as they arrived, many sailors, including the captains, abandoned their ships, hoping to strike the city because they thought was rich in gold fields.

Because real estate in San Francisco was at a premium (even then!), the ships were repurposed as prisons, homes, or hotels. Some rotted and sank in the harbor or were burned in the fire of 1851. Therefore, entrepreneurs and builders continued to build, right on top of the sunken ships.

When digging tunnels for the Bay Area Railroad in 1994, crews discovered a completely intact ship, The Rome. Too big to move, they just kept tunneling, meaning the J, K, L, M, N and T trains travel right through the ship’s hull.

About 70 ships are located under some of the most expensive real estate in the world.



The Secret Apartment at the Eiffel Tower

Did You know that is a Secret Apartament at the Eiffel Tower?

The Apartament was designed by Gustave Eiffel as a private space for himself to entertain notable guests and perform scientific experiments. The apartment was the lowest of a series of platforms that reached the uppermost sections of the tower, which Eiffel used for atmospheric and astronomical experiments. It’s generally referred to as the secret apartment, but it was fairly well-known to the public that Eiffel had this space.

After word got out that Eiffel had a private abode at the summit of the tower, the space became the envy of the Paris elite. Eiffel received myriad offers to rent out the space for large sums of money, but he refused them all. He only invited select members of the scientific community into the space, the most notable of which was Thomas Edison, who gifted Eiffel a sound recording device.

It’s telling that Eiffel located his private apartment directly above the public observation deck. It’s an interesting clash of uses; at one level, you have a space open to the public, which allows individuals to experience the thrill of viewing the city from above. Directly above this is a private residence for a single individual who restricted access to a small group of notable guests from the scientific community. Eiffel was using verticality to assert his dominance over the public, but his motivations for doing so remain unclear.

The apartment remains an intriguing curiosity atop the tallest building in the world,  has since been restored, and visitors to the observation deck can view it through a glass divider, complete with wax mannequins of Eiffel, Edison, and Eiffel’s daughter.


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