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tv   Second Look  FOX  April 17, 2011 11:00pm-11:30pm PDT

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150 years later, the role of the bay area in america's civil war and the landmark compared to stamp military origin: tonight the presidio, alcatraz. good evening i'm julie haener and this is a second look. the nation marked a grim
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anniversary this week. the beginning of the american civil war which claimed the lives of over 600,000 people during the four years the confederacy fought to succeed from the union. it was on april 12, 1861 in charleston south carolina that confederates at fort johnson fired the first shots of the civil war. targeting the union's fort sumpter. the confederacy would win the battle but lose the war. there is a bay area connection to fort sumpter. fort point is a replica of that famous garrison built to protect the fort from confederacy fighters. in 1981, george watson gave us this look at four point and the army's presidio as the army prepared to hand it over to the
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parks service. >> reporter: they didn't actually involve the presidio itself. the main coastal defense was entrusted to fort point. the base of the cliff that used to support the old spanish fort. it was thought to be in the verge of seizing the fort from the rest of the united states. that was the thinking in 1961. fort point was reassuring and at the same time no doubt impressing. but alcatraz was designed to throw fear into the heart of any enmy. it was thought to be enpregnable. it was the hub of the san francisco bay.
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1861 to 1865. alcatraz was the most armed with cannons. alcatraz was known then as the triangle of death. one point of the triangle guarding the bay. alcatraz was the strong point, for symmetrical as well as armed reasons. it was obsolete before it was completed. any ironclad ship could have reduced the fortifications to rubble. and as for the guns of the triangle of death, there was a rather large draw back. they apparently couldn't hit anything. not even a ship at anchor during a holiday celebration. >> in 1976 when america celebrated its centennial.
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they placed a ship and began firing with it. and they weren't hitting the ship. in fact, they had to go out and set a fuse. eventually in front of this huge crowd it blew up and it looked quite impressive. but the tacticians realized that they with respect doing a good job against this floating target. >> reporter: if alcatraz untested as it was missed the mark as a fortress what then was it good for. somebody always thought it would make a dandy prison. in 1853, alcatraz was a gently sloping lump in the middle of bay. by 1859 it was a military harbor defense postand even then the first garrison of 86 men contained the contingency of the first prison. by all accounts a nasty one at that. >> well after the years of the civil war, this room was converted from a gun room into
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jail cells for military prisoners. 14 wooden wall cells were in this small space. back in here this room which was an access into survival slots was split up into confinement sáebgs. there were nine, vertical, the men would have to stand up inside these cells. it was just enough room for their knees to hit the door. it's hard to imagine today that these idealing places on the bay giving so much to us visually and historically were once known as part of the triangle of death. the presidio was home to soldiers fighting in horse back, marching to ships awaiting to take them to war. the presidio was their home,
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they planted trees here. thousands of them. they turned barren sand dunes into beauty. complimenting the beautiful city that was behind them. they completed beautiful homes with picket fences. that was then, this is now. 15 years ago we came dangerously close to losing one of the most prominent structures. the fort almost fell to the wreckers ball once when the golden bridge was built. they were going to tear it down. however chief engineer for the golden gate bridge project joseph strauss still admired the old fort, he instead put the anchorages right above it.
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in recent years, archaeologists have found a treasure-trove of artifacts at the presido. this section of the presidio is the oldest section of what would become san francisco. established as a spanish fort in 1776. during the civil war, union soldiers stood here ready to defend the coast against a confederate invasion. volunteer diggers, mostly college students with an interest in archaeology have found thousands of artifacts, ranging from spoons to coke bottles in what used to be the soldiers backyard. >> did they farm locally, what were their diets like and what were they living spaces like. >> reporter: the original houses were made of adobe so there isn't much left of them.
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but this wall once surrounded the fort. the public is invited to look at the dig and look at the pieces the diggers have found. though it might take a archaeologist to differ from one piece to the other. amy ramsey is a graduate archaeology the students who helped supervise the project. >> a lot of people wonder why we need to do this, since we have books. not everybody made it into the history books. how california was used for the veteran effort. and the boat that made maritime history.
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we're remembering the civil war tonight on a second look. it was 150 years ago this past week that the first shots were fired in that deadly conflict. gold from california helped pay
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for the union's war effort and even after the war helped repay the nation's debt. in july 1865 only a few months after the war ended and president lincoln was assassinated, a wooden side rail steamer named brother jonathan left san francisco with a passenger list of soldiers, miners, prostitutes and politicians and a cargo of gold worth 50 million of today's dollars. on it way to portland it hit a rock near crescent city and went down. only 19 of the 244 on board survivorred. a mini craft located the wreckage. after a legal battle the operators were able to auction off the gold coins they were able to recover. gold would help write another chapter in california's rich history. as mike mibach found out in 2006, you can still find gold
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miners in california chasing a dream of riches. >> reporter: rick is one of those who call this gold mining townhome. >> there should be big old nuggets under here and i'm praying. my life is counting on it. >> reporter: back in 1850, groups of men came to california to dig for gold. over the decades those mines gold becomes ghost towns. today this gold mine has reopened. the treasure hunt is back on as they say here at this mine, the gold rush is on. the search for gold can be a hobby to some folks but for this crew of 60 it's no hobby. it's a business and it's fun. >> the scenery changes, the pay is good and they let you play with explosives. >> i've seen the mine here. i've mined here, there's very good gold in this mine. >> reporter: tim hunter is one
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of the miners. it was reopened by this man. >> we are very strictly convinced this place was totally underexplored and underdeveloped and that this was a great opportunity for us. of course the gold price plays a big role. >> reporter: coon says he and his investors spent the last years and $17 million bringing back the pulse this mine had. last month it became operational. a week and a half after that, these miners struck gold. >> it was one of the most gratifying moments in my career. >> reporter: the dig for gold on this day begins 1,800 feet deep down into the mine where 500 pounds of explosives are set for detonation. once the dynamite is loaded, a fuse is lit, minor surface and the explosion. and when the dusts settles. the rocks are scooped up, driven out and dumped at this
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mill where they are crushed. crushed again and again until the rocks turn into sand that is mixed into a solution which is then spun and eventually filtered on to the shaker table which separates the gold from the sand. >> makes it all worth it. it's a lot of work to get it out but it makes it worth it when you see it across the table. >> reporter: miners making money, words that sound sweet to the man below. >> there's nothing better than seeing what you can do to in a day. >> it's pretty satisfying, you see people around it light up, a lot of hard work went into this and we're starting to see gold on the tables and it's you know a lot of people are excited. >> when you see the gold coming off the table, that makes it all worthwhile. >> reporter: the gold rush of 06, maybe, maybe not. but here on the french gold mine there's a hope that this small river of gold will keep
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growing and keep flowing. >> you might never have heard the name thomas star king but he played a key roll in keeping california in the union. and in raising money for the newly formed red cross to help soldiers. his one was of two statutes of californians in the state capital. that was until 1926, when the legislature decided to replace king's statute with a better known american. that upset some people here in the bay area. >> the hollow statuary in washington, d.c. displays two statutes from each state in the nation. california statutes are of father genepos era and thomas king, credited for keeping california in the union. the state legislature passed a joint resolution to replace the star king statute with one of
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ronald reagan. star king's admirers say they didn't even have a chance to comment. >> star king was not only a minister but an activist and a naturalist. he wrote wonderful stories back east about taking trips around the bay and seeing the muster flowers in bloom. and about the sierra and he was an activist who really cared about holding california in the union during the civil war and preventing the importation of slaves into the central valley where the growers wanted to bring them to raise their cotton. king raised over half the money that was raised in this country to establish the united states senatary commission which is the beginning of the red cross. when we come back on a second look. raising the war submarine that made history. a bit later, how the civil war played a role in the naming of a san francisco landmark.
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in august 1863 a confederate vessel made history. the problem was the submarine sank with its crew aboard. for 137 years the humley and its crew layed at the bottom of the ocean until it was raised. john fowler first brought us this report the day before the henley was brought to the surface. >> reporter: 30 feet below the surface of these calm south carolina waters lies a civil war submarine thought to be the watery grave of nine confederate members. tomorrow, the henley and presumably remains of the men inside are scheduled to rise to the surface 136 years after they sunk off the coast of charleston. >> i can guarantee i will cry. i will. i get tears in my eyes when i think about the bravery of these men. to get them home after all
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these years and get them out of that cold seabed, i'm going to cry. >> reporter: today it's hard to make up the henley half buried in the sand. but a replica shows its daring resign for the time. authorities say the henley is the first to sink a ship during war. the hunley's crew ran it like a bomb on a stick singing the ship with its crew of five. then the henley itself sank, no one knows why. >> they were committed to the blockage, that's all that mattered to them.
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>> reporter: in 1995, adventure author found the ship. and what took years to find will take only three minutes to pull it to the surface. >> we didn't invent anything. what we did was take a bunch of different technologies and made them work for us here. >> reporter: after the henley is brought up to shore it'll be paraded through the streets of charleston. when we come back on a second look, if you think union square got the look from the labor movement. you would be wrong. the real story straight ahead.
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when the civil war broke out, people in california had to decide which side they were on. like the nation, california seemed split along north and south. people in southern california and there weren't many of them in the mid-1800s favored the confederacy. and the more prosperous north people backed the union. it was that backing that would lead them to name one of the
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city's most famous landmarks. george watson first brought us this report in 2001. >> originally the park was named ofaras mountain for the giant dune of sand that lay in the middle of the block. the square would take its permanent name from a pivotal point in san francisco and california's history. >> it was the site of a huge public gathering that demonstrates california's solidarity with the union on the eve of the civil war. following the debate to support california as a free state in the union, the park was thereafter known as union square. central patch of the city had forever shrugged off its past and beginnings. president teddy roosevelt came to san francisco to commemorate
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the new union square. union square would find perhaps the noblist mission as a soup kitchen. it was at this dark hour on a wednesday morning in frill 1906, that union square and the newly built san francis hotel would form a bond that still exists today. built in 1904 at union square because of union square, st. s t. francis hotel was the -- >> we served breakfast just like we did right now. our guests were shaken and did not know what was going to happen next. and everything remained normal until the next morning when the fire broke out. >> reporter: refugees from the
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fire would move to union square. now it was the place to gather where forces you have left and maybe get something to eat. >> the early pictures show people out there with their trunks and luggage. a woman with her bird cage with her dress on and all done up. you would see tables where we would greet people out in the park. so they would have long picnic tables where people would eat. >> reporter: in the middle of rubble of union square, the st. francis hotel built the little st. francis. a prefabricated hotel big enough for 100 or so guests. it would operate until 1907 when the original st. francis would reopen. stately, grand as ever. now a mecca to hollywood. the st. francis was evolving as a true historic partner with union square even when shrouded in that most uncommon occurrence, san francisco snow.
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>> the mid-1800s were also a time when river boats worked their way up and down california's water ways. now they are just romantic relics of our past. in 2001, george watson brought us this look at how our need for river boats slowly sank over time. old fashioned and almost quaint in appearance, seemingly more at home in the civil war era, the river boat showed remarkable staying power. >> there is a consensus that following the boom times of the gold rush, the old river boats sailed off into the sunset. but that wasn't the case. they at adapted and in fact, they stalled in. >> stern wheelers were the first and only way to move huge loads of cargo up and down the
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state. the vast newly settled farm lands north of the bay area would become the bread basket of california and grain would be the main cargo shipped down river. the early paddle wheelers carried all their cargo on board. but later, ship design allowed them to tug barges making them economicically competitive with their only real rival the railroads. but commerce did not travel on the fruits of freight alone, like the trains the river boats would count on passengers for revenue. sometimes the river was the setting for great excitement. there would be much valley who as sterns would hold races. partly for the thrill of victory but also to advertise the speed of the boats. finally all the river boats were gone, in the midst off into
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memory meloncholy. that's it for tonight's second look. i'm julie haener, thank you for watching.

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