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Notable Fires:

Pony Express
April 13, 1860
11 1/2 p.m.


1860 April 14

The Pony Express arrived in this city at 22 minutes before one o’clock, this morning
Source: Daily Alta California, Volume 12, Number 104, 14 April 1860 — Pony Express in San Francisco [ARTICLE]


City Items
1860 April 13

According to the published programme the General Committee, named at the meeting on the previous night, met yesterday at half past twelve o'clock, at the Chamber of Commerce, when Frederick MacCrellish was appointed Chairman of the Committees, and Wm. Y. Walla, Secretary. Committees were appointed to arrange for a celebration in honor of the expected arrival of the Pony Express last evening, and Messrs. L. K. Lull, Theodore Baugh and Sherman Day Having been, by unanimous vote, added to the General Committee, the meeting adjourned to 7 1/2 o'clock last evening.

In the evening the Committee met at the same place, where a discussion ensued as to the expediency of having the celebration last evening, or postponing it until to night as the Sacramento beat, with the pony, would not arrive until nearly night. Several of the Committee believed that the hour would he too late, and wished to defer the demonstration until the next day, when many more people could participate In it; but the majority finally decided that the express would be more appropriately received at the moment of its arrival, and Mr. Crane was unanimously elected Grand Marshal for the occasion. Chief Burks was appointed a Committee to wait upon the Monumental Engine Company and request them to fire a salute on the Plaza, and the Committees on Finance were authorized to procure rockets. Messrs. Stewart, Page, Berth, Gould, Capt. Taylor, and the Foremen of all the engine companies ware appointed aids to the Marshal. Messengers ware dispatched to the several engine companies and request them to rendezvous at ten o'clock, at the corner of Merchant and Montgomery streets. . The Committee then adjourned to the call of the Chairman.

The fact that a demonstration would be made, was opportunely announced from the stage of the several theatres, and was received with much applause. At eleven o'clock, the California Band, numbering eighteen pieces, headed by the Marshal and Aids, as above mentioned, started from the corner of Montgomery and Sacramento streets, and perambulating the streets, soon gathered a large assemblage, all on the qui vive to welcome the Pony Express on its arrival. Bonfires were lighted in several places, which told with remarkable affect in the dark night The Monumental bell occasionally rang out its merry peal, and Five's boys, dressed in their uniform, ran out their engine for the lark of the thing, racing at full speed around the block bounded by Montgomery, Sansome, Sacramento and Clay. The lateness of the hour at which the Monumentals were apprised of the wish for a salute, prevented their getting the necessary powder, but the want of it was made up in the. amount of fun end enthusiasm. In fact, the whole lower part of the city was in motion, and the crowd was greatly augmented by the audiences from the theatres.

At half-past eleven o'clock the procession moved off from Montgomery street to the adjacent engine houses, where they took up delegates from each, until the procession swelled with the constant addition, from all points, to not far from two thousand. But for the lateness of the hour, this number would have been more than trebled. Meantime, the streets In all directions. were illumined with bonfires. Those before some of the engine houses were the most conspicuous, and the lurid glare than thrown up on the midnight sky, caused an alarm of fire to be sounded from the Hall bell. No. 5, as the procession passed, came out in goodly numbers, dressed in their famous “nip up" coats, and bearing torches and lanterns, and fell into the ranks. An immense bonfire of dry goods boxes was blazing nearly all night opposite their house. California 4 fell in opposite their house, where also a great bonfire was lighted up. There were also bonfires on the Plata, on Brenham Place, opposite Monumental Engine House, on Front street near Vallejo, and opposite Engine House No. 10, on Pacific street, below Kearny. Tremendous cheers were given as the procession filed past the several fires, and passed down to Broadway wharf, where, after waiting half an hour, the band playing splendid martial airs and waltzes the while, the Antelope hove in sight from Sacramento, and the pony having been trotted, with all his gay decorations, into the centre of the profession, the band struck up again, and the concourse of people moved up to the office of the Alta Telegraph Company, at the corner of Montgomery and Merchant streets, in the following order:

California Band— Playing "See the Conquering Hero Comes.”
Engine Company No 2.
Hook and Ladder Company No. 2.
Engine Company No. 5.
Engine Company No. 6.
The above companies had their machines fall manned, and many of them lighted, and the men bearing torches.


[A bay horse with Spanish saddle, the machillas stuffed with letters brought overland.]


On arriving at the office of the Alta Express Company — which was lighted up in front with candles — the procession formed in Montgomery street and a succession of rousing cheers were given for the Pony Express. Several speeches were called for, but owing to the lateness of the hour— it was past one this morning— none offend, and after three more, and a tiger," the procession dispersed. But until the “wee sma’ hours' this morning, the boys were "running," and in various boisterous styles, and harmless ways, manifesting their appreciation of the great event they had all been celebrating. The affair, though somewhat impromptu, was an entire success.
Source: Daily Alta California, Volume 12, Number 104, 14 April 1860 — CITY ITEMS. [ARTICLE]


By the state telegraph line.
San Francisco, April 13th.

The General Committee on celebrating the arrival of the Pony Express met this evening at the Merchants' Exchange. It was decided to have a preliminary celebration tonight on the arrival of the steamer Antelope. A band of music was ordered, and a supply of fireworks. Telegraph men, firemen, newspaper men, and citizens at large were invited to participate. At 11 o'clock a large assemblage was gathered at the comer of Merchant and Montgomery streets, and. preceded by the band, preceded to Broadway wharf, where they awaited the arrival of the steamer, which came handsomely into her berth shortly after 11 o'clock. Immediately on the steamer heaving in sight several port-fires were lighted and rockets sent up ; the band played a national air, and general enthusiasm ensued, After the landing of the Express, a procession was formed, consisting of delegations from the fire Companies, with torches, and citizens generally. The line of march was enlivened by the discharge of bluelights, Roman candles and other fireworks; and on arrival at the corner of Merchant and Montgomery streets, the Monumental Fire Company fired a salute on the Plaza of nine guns. The horse was handsomely decorated, and on the dismounting of the rider, the Express bag was banded to the Agent, who immediately opened it and distributed the letters as directed to persons present. The greatest excitement prevailed, and several impromptu addresses were made, after which the various parties who had participated in the celebration adjourned, pleased with themselves and the rest of mankind, and the Pony Express in particular. All took a drink at their own expense. It is understood that a general meeting of citizens will be held in a day or two to make a more extended celebration of this great event.
Source: Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 19, Number 2824, 14 April 1860 — BY THE STATE

Extracted from original sources with grammar and spelling as published.

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