From the outset of the Gold Rush, people were dreaming about coming to San Francisco: 

 

Fantasizing about ways to get there:

 

Imagining what they would find:

Putting into action what Bayard Taylor called the emigrants’ “restless and daring spirit”: 

 

Images from upper left, clockwise: Chinese gold mines, Emperor Norton, Wagon train disaster, Levi Strauss, Madame Moustache, Joaquin Murietta, The Idle Miner, Mary Ellen Pleasant

Images from upper left, clockwise: Chinese gold mines, Emperor Norton, Wagon train disaster, Levi Strauss,

Madame Moustache, Joaquin Murietta, The Idle Miner, Mary Ellen Pleasant

 

Once settled in the city, restless visionaries continually sought to propose or impose their will on the terrain of San Francisco. This urge to remake (or destroy) the city in their own image marks the common feature of all the people represented on this site, from madmen to established architectural firms.

 

— Arthur Chandler, 2015