The Sacramento Wood Company's steamer wood freight shed, between N and O streets in the Front Street right-of-way, remained at this location for approximately 30 years. The Sacramento Wood Company could trace his roots from an earlier enterprise that gathered cut firewood from the banks of the upper Sacramento River.
In the photo above, the building at this time sports a banner reading "Opposition Str. Chin Du Wan." The Chin Du Wan was a popular steamboat that operated from time to time on the Sacramento River. The phrase "Opposition Steamer," visible on the banner sign, dates back to the 1850s in Sacramento after the consolidation of many of the independent steamer operators. First, the People's Line was formed in 1851 and, in 1854, the California Steam Navigation Company. The "Opposition" was comprised of independent boat operators who attempted to capture some of the river-transport market with lower rates.
The California Steam Navigation Company was created to end cut-throat and uneconomical steamboat operations. Rate wars between independently owned and operated steamboats had financially ruined many boat owners by the constant undercutting of fares and shipping charges. In many instances prices were driven below the actual cost of providing the service.
In 1854, many steamboats were taken out of service and the owners paid to mothball their vessels. Some steamers were dismantled or shipped to other river systems such as the Columbia or Puget Sound regions.
The steamer Chin Du Wan was famous as an Opposition boat. The boat's steam calliope was used to attract customers to its remote landing and irregular schedule. Opposition boats remained a colorful 19th century phenomenon, which generally ended in the 1870s when the river lost its role as the sole means of travel between Sacramento and San Francisco.
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