POLITE LITERATURE AND GHOSTS
DURING the mid-sixties San Francisco celebrated the winning of the Civil War and mourned the assassination of Lincoln; it was shaken physically by the earthquake of '65 and financially by the panic on the Comstock; it built a stock exchange and inaugurated the Pacific Mail for trade with the Orient. And as the rails crept west from Omaha and climbed east from Sacramento, the end of the frontier came closer day by day.
San Francisco continued to grow in population and wealth in spite of temporary set-backs. When Nevada silver slumped in '64, stocks which had been selling for as high as two thousand dollars became worthless and the entire mining investment in Virginia City fell to an evaluation of only five millions. To balance the decline in mineral output, however, four generous, wet winters followed the pinching droughts of the early sixties, making a major wheat-producing area of the San Joaquin Valley. Merchandise exports swelled to fifteen millions in 1865, to seventeen millions in 1866. In the same year the Comstock Lode again took on life and moved towards a second bonanza. Realtors anticipated the completion of the railroad by selling property at boom prices to the greatest annual influx of newcomers that the city had ever seen.