ss california ship illustration
The SS California.

The SS California was launched in May 1848.  It had been on the drawing boards for some time, and government subsidies helped make it possible.  It (and two other steamships were supposed to deliver mail and freight from the East Coast to California.

But the discovery of gold in California changed that, and the emphasis focused on passengers.  The ship, after a four-month voyage, arrived in San Francisco on February 28, 1849. It soon took successful and failed treasure hunters back East. But within a couple of years, much larger ships had taken over the route.

Like this article? Try: The Western War Between the States

Related Articles

  • california gold rush town

    Those early California Gold camps with their boardwalks, muddy streets, false-front buildings and tent houses were…

  • rush-to-gold_Malcolm-J-Rohrbough

    The California Gold Rush never stops inspiring stories, and now we have Malcolm J. Rohrbough’s…

  •   How many prospectors got rich during the California gold rush? Carl Justice Baltimore, Maryland…