One major key to the ethos of San Francisco is the city’s explosive and unbalanced growth from 800 to 25,000 people in one year. Twenty-five thousand were men; miners under the age of 40 and 2,000 were prostitutes. San Francisco Tim’s History and Tour Maps
The adventurers who came to mine for gold survived formidable hardships, whether they traveled overland or around Cape Horn. They were self-sufficient and independent minded people who made their own rules in an unregulated and ungentrified city, building a context of individual rights and choices.
San Francisco burned down six times before the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906. Each time, the entire community, a mix of Chinese, Mexicans, Chileans, Incas, French, and English, an amalgam that ranged from family members who settled in after the initial gold rush to prostitutes, put aside their differences, came together and rebuilt the city over and over and over again. Working with mutual interests in survival, these diverse communities developed a camaraderie and an appreciation for the others that provided a basis for the city’s legendary embrace of diversity.