Jackson Square information
Today upscale Jackson Square is framed by Washington, Columbus, Pacific and Sansome Sts – but before the Gold Rush filled in the area with abandoned ships, this was a notorious waterfront dock area. Behind the iron shutters of these Italianate brick buildings, whiskey dealers, loan sharks, madams, lawyers and other hustlers plied their trades.
Current tenants are ad agencies, antiques dealers and interior designers – all of them much more subtle about wheedling money from unsuspecting consumers than Jackson Square's original occupants. Notorious Gold Rush saloon owner Shanghai Kelly and madam Miss Piggot made an almost literal killing, conking new arrivals on the head and delivering them to ships in need of crew.