These sources were consulted:

Original Documents & Site Reconnaissance:

San Francisco Public Library, Historical Section: Alta California newspaper microfilm from 1850s and 1860s; Old San Francisco city maps; S.F. - Peninsula train route maps.

In the basement of the Bank of California building (which became the Union Bank of California, then just Union Bank) on Sansome and California Streets in San Francisco, a William Ralston museum is maintained, including many photographs and artifacts from the Ralston era. These photographs show the employees and some details of the bank building itself, which was destroyed by fire in the 1906 earthquake.

Starting on Mission Street in San Francisco, drive west, then southwest until Mission becomes the Old County Road flanking the San Bruno Mountains, and this eventually feeds into El Camino Real on the peninsula and continues south. This is the route that Ralston took when racing the trains from San Francisco to his home in Belmont.

Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley: William Ralston correspondence; Report of the Commissioners ... in Regard to the Sutro Tunnel, referenced below, from which I used direct testimony given by both Sutro and the witnesses.

University of Nevada, Reno: Comstock Lode and Virginia City Maps and geology.

I made two trips to Virginia City where I inspected Piper's Opera House, the original Bank of California branch office of William Sharon, St. Mary's in the Mountains, and took a tour of the Savage Mine. Heading east out of Virginia City on what is now called Highway 79, one travels down the eastern face of Mt. Davidson and, at the eastern edge of town, the road becomes the old Six Mile Road. This is the same road traversed by Adolph Sutro from his home in Dayton, and also referenced several times in the text, including Ch. 12. The scenery hasn't changed much in the last 160 years (one suspects) and driving the road gives one a good feel for what travelers saw as they approached the Comstock Lode.


Nothing Seemed Impossible
William C. Ralston and Early San Francisco
David Lavender
American West Publishing Co., 1975


Adolph Sutro, A Biography
R.E. Jr. and M.F. Stewart
Howell North Books, 1962


Ralston's Ring
California Plunders the Comstock Lode
George D. Lyman
Charles Scribner's Sons
NY, NY1937


Report Of The Commissioners And Evidence Taken By The Committee…In Regard To The Sutro Tunnel (1872)
The Advantages Of A Deep Drain Tunnel For The Great Comstock Ledge
Adolph Sutro
San Francisco, Feb. 1865


The Roar and the Silence
The History of Virginia and the Comstock Lode
Ronald M. James
U of Nevada Press, 1998


Men to Match My Mountains
Irving Stone
Doubleday & Co., 1956


The First Tycoon
The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbil
T.J. Stiles
Alfred Knopf, New York 2009


Commodore Vanderbilt
Alfred A. Knopf
By Wheaton J. Lane


The Vanderbilt Women
Dynasty of Wealth, Glamour, and Tragedy
Clarice Stasz


Commodore: The life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
Edward J. Renehan, Jr.
Basic Books, NY 2007


Commodore Vanderbilt, An epic of the steam age
Wheaton Lane


Fortune’s Children
The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt
Arthur T. Vanderbilt
William Morrow & Co.
New York, 1989


Foreign Dialects
A Manuel for Actors, Directors and Writers
By Lewis Herman and Marguerite S. Herman
Theatre Arts Books, New York


The Barbary Coast
The Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld
Herbert Asbury
Brown and Nourse, 1949
Copyright 1933, Alfred A Knopf, Inc.


The Man Who Built San Francisco
A study of Ralston’s Journey with Banners
Julian Dana
NY, The Macmillan Co., 1937


William Chapman Ralston
Courageous Builder
Cecil G. Tilton


Golden Gate Country
Gertrude Atherton
American Folkways
Duell, Sloan & Pearce, NY 1945


Coins in History
John Porteus
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
200 Madison Ave. NY


The Discovery of Gold in California
Article by Gen. John A. Sutter
Hutchings’ California Magazine
November, 1857


Europe, A History
Norman Davies
Oxford University Press
Oxford – New York, 1996


A History of Europe
J.M. Roberts
Allen Lane, The Penguin Press
NY, 1996


The Sierra Nevada
A Mountain Journey
By Tim Palmer
Island Press
Washington, D.C. 1988


City of Women
Sex and class in New York, 1789-1860
Christine Stansell
Illiam Books
Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1982


Roughing It
Mark Twain
A publication of the Mark Twain Project
of The Bancroft Library
University of California Press
Berkeley, CA


Life on the Mississippi
Mark Twain
Oxford Mark Twain
Oxford University Press


The History of the Comstock Lode
Grant H. Smith
Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology
University of Nevada
Reno/Las Vegas
1943, 1998


A Short History of Germany
The MacMillan Company
Norwood Press, JS Cushing Co.
Norwood, Mass.


The Cambridge Illustrated History of Germany
Martin Kitchen
Cambridge Univ. Press


A History of United States Coinage
Ted Schwarz
A.S. Barnes & Co.
The Tantivy Press
San Diego & New York


Sketches of Early California
Compiled by Donald DeNevi
Chronicle Books, San Francisco


A Yankee Trader in the Gold Rush
The Letters of Franklin A. Buck
Compiled by Katherine A. White
Houghton Mifflin Co.
The Riverside Press Cambridge


The Fire Horses of San Francisco
Natlee Kenoyer
Westernlore Press, LA 1970


Victorian Working Women
Wanda F. Neff


Victorian Life and Victorian Fiction
A Companion for the American Reader
Jo McMurtry
1979, Archon Books, Hamden, Conn


Women Have Always Worked
Alice Kessler-Harris


Women in the American Economy
W. Eliot Brownlee and Mary M. Brownlee


American's Working Women
A Documentary History
Linda Gordon, Rosalyn Baxandal, Susan Reverby


Paddy and the Republic
Ethnicity and nationality in Antebellum America
Dale T. Knobel
Wesleyan U. Press, 1986


Confessions of a Shanty Irishman
Michael Corrigan
AmErica House


Comstock Women, The Making of a Mining Community
Ronald M. James and Elizabeth Raymond
U of Nevada Press, 1998


Madams of San Francisco
An Irreverent History of …
Curt Gentry
Doubleday, 1964


The Big Bonanza
Dan De Quille
Knopf, 1947


Comstock Mining and Miners
Eliot Lord


Old San Francisco
The Biography of a City
From Early Days to the Earthquake
Doris Muscatine
Putnam, 1975


The History of the Comstock Lode
Grant H. Smith
Nevada Bureau of Mines, 1943


Dictionary of Tools
Used in Woodworking and allied trades c.1700-1970
R.A. Salaman
Charles Scribner's Sons, New York


Slang, Today and Yesterday
Eric Partridge
1933, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd


An Irish Journey
Sean O'Faolain
1940, Longmans, Green & Co.


A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English
Eric Partridge
1961 New York
The MacMillian Co.


English as We Speak it in Ireland
P.W. Joyce
1910, Longmans, Green & Co.


The Vocabulary of Anglo-Irish
James M. Clark
Folcroft Library Ed 1974


A Dictionary of Hiberno-English



1848, Year of Revolution
Mike Rapport
Basic Books, 2008