• View of the Golden Gate Bridge, taken from the Marin Headlands, looking towards San Francisco at sunrise.

    Golden Gate

    National Recreation Area California

Viola (Grilnberger) Connelly Collection

Although not much is known about Viola Connelly, the archival collection she donated to the Presidio Army Museum in 1974 speaks volumes about the Golden Gate National Recreation Area's past. Prominently featured is a panoramic photograph taken of the Cliff House from Ocean Beach. The establishment was owned by Adolph Sutro, a Prussian-born engineer who made his fortune in Nevada during the Comstock Lode Silver Rush. The Cliff House pictured in the Connelly collection was formally opened in 1896 after the previous structure burned to the ground on Christmas Day in 1893. Sarcastically referred to as "The Gingerbread Palace" by one San Franciscan, the grand Victorian building was designed by Emile Lemme and C.J. Colley and entertained both tourists and citizens of the city. In 1907, it also succumbed to fire, nine years after the death of Adolph Sutro.

 
GOGA-1766 Viola Grilnberger Connelly Collection Ocean Beach & Victorian Cliff House Photograph
This circa 1900 panoramic view of Ocean Beach features Adolph Sutro’s Victorian Cliff House, built in 1896 by Emile Lemme and C.J. Colley and destroyed by fire in 1907. Also visible on the bluff overlooking the structure is the Sutro Heights parapet.
Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, Viola Grilnberger Connelly Collection, GOGA-1766
 
GOGA-1766 Viola Grilnberger Connelly Collection Transport Ship USAT Sherman Postcard

Hand-tinted postcard featuring the United States Army Transport (USAT) Sherman docked at U.S. Transportation Service Pier No. 12 in San Francisco, circa 1909.

Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, Viola Grilnberger Connelly Collection, GOGA-1766

Also included in the collection are ten hand-tinted postcards of ships used to transport troops from San Francisco to ports in Japan, Hawaii, Cuba, and the Philippines. One such postcard features the USAT Sherman. Originally built as the freighter Mobile by Harland & Wolff as part of four sister ships for the African Steamship Company (Elder Dempster & Company), the ship was chartered and purchased by the Atlantic Transport Line (ATL) in October of 1896. Captained by Sydney Layland, the ship made 44 voyages to New York for the ATL between 1892 and 1897. In 1898, with five other vessels, the Mobile was called upon by the U.S. Government for service as transport ships during the Spanish American War. For this service, the Mobile was renamed the USAT (United States Army Transport) Sherman.

The Army Transport Service (ATS) was organized in late 1898 as part of the Army Quartermaster Department after commercial shipping and naval resources were found deficient. Working in conjunction with civilian railroads and the maritime industry, the ATS dominated San Francisco ports that served as the main point of troop embarkation during the Spanish American War. Since the USAT Sherman was already equipped to carry livestock, the ship was retrofitted to carry cavalrymen and could accommodate 80 officers, 1,000 men, and 1,000 horses. During her time in the service, the USAT Sherman transported the 16th Pennsylvania, the 6th Illinois, the 8th Ohio, and the 9th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiments. The ship's return voyage to San Francisco from the Philippine Islands with California's volunteer infantry regiments in 1899 was the first in the city to be heralded by wireless transmitter. In addition to the ship's involvement in the Spanish American War, the USAT Sherman served in the Philippine American War, the Boxer Rebellion, and World War I.

 
GOGA-1766 Viola Grilnberger Connelly Collection SF EQ&F Panormic with Soldier in center
Panoramic photograph of a soldier overlooking the ruins of San Francisco’s Nob Hill after the1906 earthquake and fire. The Fairmont Hotel is visible still standing in the right of the image.
Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, Viola Grilnberger Connelly Collection, GOGA-1766
 

The most striking facet of this collection are the photographs depicting the U.S. Army's presence in San Francisco in the wake of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. On April 18, 1906, one of the largest earthquakes in California history erupted along the San Andreas Fault at 5:12 a.m. The earthquake reduced San Francisco to rubble which fed devastating fires that raced through the city in the earthquake's aftermath. Martial law was quickly declared. The United States Army, overseen by General Frederick Funston, took command in cooperation with city officials, the Red Cross, and volunteers to provide shelter, medical attention, and sanitation services for refugees in camps that were formed in parks and on streets across the city.

 
GOGA-1766 Viola Grilnberger Connelly Collection SF EQ&F Panormic with Cavalry Soldiers
A group of mounted Cavalry soldiers pose in front the ruins of San Francisco’s City Hall. All panoramic photographs in the Connelly collection are mounted in this manner, some with the original ribbons which held the images together in a book format.
Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, Viola Grilnberger Connelly Collection, GOGA-1766
 
GOGA-1766 Viola Grilnberger Connelly Collection SF EQ&F Recovery Tent Camp at PSF
This Refugee Camp located on the Presidio of San Francisco was one of many that were dispersed around San Francisco in the wake of the 1906 earthquake and fire.  Alcatraz Island is faintly visible in the distance.
Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, Viola Grilnberger Connelly Collection, GOGA-1766
 
 

Did You Know?

Blueschist rock

Blueschist is a form of high pressure and low temperature metamorphic rock that only forms around subduction zones.