An extraordinary article from the San Francisco Sunday Call, October 20, 1907

Once upon a time there was a fire in San Francisco, and after that there was progress, an awful, haunting nightmare of progression and reinforced concrete. Leagues and clubs and other civic organiations chortled with delight as they rushed madly for the quaint, dear old places and “cleaned” them up and “bettered” the conditions. The Latin quarter? It’s so “improved” it’s almost dead. Soon the Italian colony will be lost to art altogether. What with banks and theaters and clinics and newspapers getting out special editions to show the rehabilitation of Dupont street, it is almost gone now. There is only the Sicilian fishing colony left, and as soon as some well intentioned philanthropist masters the dialect, that will go, too.

But there is a hope, just a bare hope. Hidden away in scattered spots, in some 10 or 15 boarding houses, there is a new Spanish colony. No, not a Mexican colony, nor a Central American colony, but a real Spanish colony. These people are neither untidy nor lazy nor poor nor illiterate, so they may escape the philanthropist. Very few speak English, so they will continue to live among themselves, with time to be kind and polite and courteous and ignorant of the only truth on earth—that time is money…

…The Spanish colony works and works hard. There are brick layers and carpenters, and cement workers, painters, laborers and servant girls. Before the fire San Francisco was only a name to most of the workingmen of Spain. There were not more than a few hundred Spaniards here. Now there are 3,000, some say 5,000, from Galicia, from Catalonia, from Andalusia, from Gibraltar and from Navarre. The wonderful accounts of wages –without the intersting information as to the cost of living—souinded pretty good to mechanics whose highest rate was from $1 to $1.50 a day. So they came.

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