National Register of Historic Places in San Francisco
The Niantic was built as a R.I. whaler (or English ship) in 1844; used until 1849 under Capt. Henry Cleveland. Hauled (stern in) to foot of Clay Street and converted into a hotel in spring of 1849. Superstructure burned on April 5, 1851. Another Niantic Hotel replaced ship. In 1872 the Niantic Block was built at NW corner of Clay and Sansome.
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After carrying 248 gold-seekers from Panama to San Francisco Bay, the Niantic was beached in the summer of 1849 at the corner of Clay and Sansome Streets.
She then served as a storeship earning her owners $20,000 per month until she... burned to the turn of her bilge in the great San Francisco Fire of May 1851.
The Niantic was the furthest inland of the 44 ships known to be buried in downtown San Francisco. More than any others, she was described by contemporaries, drawn and captured in lithography.
Two Transamerica Center - a twenty-story highrise designed William L. Pereira & Associates and built in 1980 - stands on the northwest corner of Clay and Sansome, five blocks from today's waterfront. (Pereira's most famous building is the neighboting Transamerica Pyramid built in 1972.)
The Niantic is commemorated by an inconspicuous marker in an arcade on the Clay street side of the building. To read the marker and view more images, please see California Historic Landmark 88.