Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Gold Coast

On building lighthouses in California, from U.S. Treasury Annual Reports of 1855 and 1863. A decent wage back East was $1 a day. No wonder so many heeded the call, "Go West, young man!"
I have had the offer of the services of a superintendent for $10 a day and his expenses paid, and this I am told may be considered as rather under the current price of this class of employees.... the machinist who put up the apparatus of the Point Bonita light received the same per diem. All other labor and materials for the most part are equally high.

Considerable difficulty has been experienced and expense incurred in the district, by reason of the fact that gold and silver is the only currency of that coast, and payments in the legal currency of the government are subjected to heavy depreciation. The cost of the establishment [of lighthouses] on this coast has, in consequence, been materially increased.

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