Great historical account published in 1940. Felix Riesenberg’s books have gone out of print, but I was alerted to their existence via the great Neglected Books site. They mention his service in the Merchant Marine, work as a civil engineer, running a nautical school, then his decision at age 44 to write his first novel. The history I read was non-fiction, written 15 years later, and an entertaining, well-researched history indeed. Most of the items are typically found in SF histories, but I was interested in this bit:
Vioget’s saloon opened early, usually in response to the knocks of big Bob Ridley, clerk for the Hudson’s Bay Company. The good-looking Scot had prodigal drinking habits, seldom failing to take several “London Docks” long before noon. His huge capacity for brandy led eventually to his purchasing the saloon from Vioget. (1840s)
Google seems to think Ridley was merely leasing the joint, but I prefer the dreamy splendor of one’s best customer ponying up the cash to purchase it. Google also tells me that a London Dock drink recipe is half rum, half red wine, with honey, cinnamon, lemon and nutmeg.
I may have already come across this, but also found this footnote interesting:
The name California first appeared in the romantic, medieval novel Las Sergas de Esplandian, and the land was described as “an island abounding in gold and other delights, located to the northward of New Spain.
Overall: a delightful look from a mid twentieth century perspective on the history of San Francisco.