Before the California Gold Rush of 1848 brought fortune seekers to California in droves, San Fransisco was just a tiny coastal settlement primarily used as a seaport. As thousands of people streamed into the area from all over the world, the population of San Fransisco exploded. Gold seekers were literally everywhere in northern California, and the city of San Fransisco was at the center of it all.
Because those who found their fortune in the gold fields needed someplace to spend their money, merchants of all types set up shop in San Fransisco, happy to relieve prospectors of their burden of their gold.Check out this link here. Like as in all other gold rushes, the people who really made their fortunes were those waiting to allow the prospectors to hand it over to them after they left their claims. Some of the descendants of the city’s first merchants are among San Fransisco’s modern leading families.