As I said before, San Francisco was a bottle digger's paradise! During the massive construction taking place in the financial district; demolition and redevelopment was taking place in the South of Market district of old tenements and warehouses. The heaviest concentration being in the area from Howard to Brannan and Second to Sixth Streets.

I will never forget an experience that bottle diggers dream about! One evening on a Friday, I was returning from photographing a job in Oakland about 5:00 P.M. and decided to check out the lots in the South of Market. I took the Fifth St. exit and swung over to Sixth and Tehama Streets. Wow! The buildings in one lot had just been leveled to the ground and the concrete flooring had been broken up and bull dozed smooth. I parked my Jeep and made a quick surveillance of the area. I could see three outhouse outlines from the rotted redwood foundations of each privy. How lucky could I be. No weddings to shoot that Saturday!

I was back in the City the next morning by 6:00 A.M. Parked my Jeep again this time right on the lot. No fences up yet. I started probing and made glass contact at no more than four feet down. The soil in the area is extremely sandy and can be very dangerous for cave-ins especially when you are about five feet down in a hole and a wino is standing on the edge begging for a hand out. This is one time you carry lots of dollar bills to get rid of them. Quite often the SFPD would stop out of curiosity to watch me dig and to see what bottles I dug up.

Digging in this area was quite an education as you were able to see the transformation from outhouse to indoor plumbing. I had probed one privy and made a solid brick contact about three feet down. After shoveling out the sand I came across a six inch terra cotta elbow emptying directly into the privy hole. I could almost date this one as being in the 1860s-1870s period. I got some choice bottles from three privys in this one lot. These bottles were mold blown with pontilled and smooth bases with applied or rolled tops.

Open pontilled amber snuff

Barrel style, Open pontil Louit Freres, Bordeaux, France, Mustard

The sodas were of the typical blob top style, embossed with smooth base. Three beautiful "Bay City" S.F. sodas came out of one hole.

One of my favorite sodas is the Cornflower blue, bimal Crystal Soda Water Co Patented Nov. 12-1872 Taylor's U.S.Pt

Crystal Soda Reverse

I dug mint condition, hand made, swirl center, ground pontilled marbles,(unfortunately sold a few years ago), agates, Chinese hand painted clays, Benningtons in brown and blue.

Various pots and pot lids, pontilled eight sided inks in green, aqua and amber, and an amber master ink with pouring spout.

Green Pontilled Umbrella Ink

Amber Master Ink

These are some choice pot lids also dug in various privies in the South of Market demos.

And my favorite "Alice Blue Gown" cobalt blue eight sided ink; smooth base with rolled lip.

What a great dig day!
Ready for some uptown digging in a