Women of the Gold Rush Essay

Women of the Gold Rush Essay

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Many women came to California to work as prostitutes or entertainers during the 1850s. They did this because there were so few women to satisfy all of the men mining in the gold fields. During this time women who chose to be prostitutes were not looked down upon because they were so desirable. Many women also came to take advantage of the possibility of marrying a rich miner and getting out of the prostitution business. Not all women however came to California to prostitute and eventually find themselves a husband. Some came along with their husbands and would earn a living by running boarding homes while their husbands would pan for gold (Wikipedia). There were many influential women that came to California during this time period. They were able to make a name for themselves, and some left an everlasting impression on San Francisco.
One of the most influential women during this time period was Lillie Hitchcock Coit. She moved to California from West Point in 1851 with her parents. Lillie was very involved with the male community. She would dress in men’s clothing and gamble in the males-only establishments and soon became an avid part of the firefighters in the city. Ever since she was a young girl, Lillie found a fascination in fire fighting and once in her teens was out at the front of the line putting out fires with all the other men in the town. She became such an important figure to the firemen that they made her their mascot (Museum). The firemen made her an honorary member of the Knickerbocker Engine Company and citizen admired her for her affection that she had for the firefighters. After the 1906 earthquake, Lillie left funds for beautification in San Francisco, which is when the Coit Tower was built (Coit). Lillie ...

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...and having an impact on San Francisco.


"1900 - Biography of LillieHitchcock-Coit." 1900 - Biography of LillieHitchcock-Coit. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. .

Bibbs. "Pleasant's Story." Pleasant's Story. N.p., 1998. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. .

"Coit Tower & PWAP Murals on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco." Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill Murals, Pictures and History. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2014. .

"Isadora Duncan Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2014. .

"Women in the California Gold Rush." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Jan. 2014. Web. 09 Feb. 2014. .

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