United States Mint at San Francisco
Historical Background: The Gold Rush and Great Earthquake
With the California Gold Rush underway in 1849, the United States Mint was overwhelmed with the task of turning all that gold into coins. Also, transporting it all to Philadelphia for coining was both time-consuming and hazardous. So in 1850, President Millard Fillmore recommended that a branch of the United States Mint be established in California. Congress approved the plan in 1852, and the San Francisco Mint was born.
The Mint's production of coins was uninterrupted for 32 years, until the disastrous earthquake of 1906. Because the gas works were partially destroyed, operations stopped temporarily. But the beautiful, solidly constructed Mint building survived both the earthquake and the ensuing firestorm. In fact, the Mint was the only financial institution capable of operating immediately after the disaster and became the treasury for disaster relief funds, performing other emergency banking services as well. Coining operations resumed soon afterward and continued in this building until 1937, when Mint workers moved to a larger, more modern facility, the present United States Mint at San Francisco.
Other Mint Facilities