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Transit project unearths relics of San Francisco's past (photos)

The ongoing construction of San Francisco's new Transbay Transit Center has dug up memories in the form of artifacts on display in an exhibit that opened yesterday in the city's South of Market district.

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James Martin
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SF's big dig

The ongoing construction of San Francisco's new Transbay Transit Center has uncovered lost treasures of the city's past on display at a new exhibit opened yesterday and running through January 2012.

Household and industrial items, such as medicine, porcelain dolls, kitchenware, and bone toothbrushes offer clues about what life was like here for settlers who first rushed to the city in search of gold in 1849. The artifacts traveled from East Coast cities like New York and Philadelphia and from as far away as China and Europe.

The Transbay Archeology Exhibit at 201 Mission Street in the city's South of Market distrcit is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.



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Apothecary jars

The colorful lid of this apothecary jar seems to depict a circus bear on display atop a pole.
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Hand-painted porcelain dolls

These busts of hand-painted porcelain dolls were found at 40 Natoma Street and 45 Minna Street during construction.
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Container for charcoal toothpaste

This container for charcoal toothpaste, manufactured by Bazin in San Francisco between 1850-1887, was found at 40 Natoma Street.
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Charcoal toothpaste

Various apothecary jars and lids used for cosmetics and hygiene products, including this one made by B.B Thayer & Co. in Philadelphia, were found at 40 and 42 Natoma Street and 45 Minna Street.
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Original Transbay Terminal

The original Transbay Terminal, seen here being demolished in 2011, was built in the 1930s.
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Hunting dog with a bird in its mouth

A figurine of a hunting dog with a bird in its mouth was found at 38 Natoma Street.
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Marbles

A set of painted and glazed children's marbles.
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Glass ink bottles

Glass ink bottles, ink wells, and glue bottles from the Sponge Mucilage Company of New York were dug up in the area along Natoma Street in San Francisco.
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Animal bone toothbrushes

Animal bone toothbrushes seen here, likely using cow, horse or boar hairs as bristles, were common hygiene products used during the late 19th century.
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A perfume jar lid

A lid to a jar of Eugene Roussel perfume is addressed 114 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.
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Wheel from a rope pulley

This wheel from a rope pulley used to hoist heavy loads was found at the site of the former Risdon Iron Works factory.
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Transfer print blue saucer

This transfer print blue saucer, dated July 1847, was made in England by Mellor Venables & Co.
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Glass bottles

Bottles from Dr. J. Hostetter's Stomach Bitters and Bay City Soda Water.
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A hand-painted blue soup terrine

A hand-painted blue soup terrine and serving platter made by W. Adams & Sons in Staffordshire, England in the mid 1800s.
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A copper plated spoon

A copper plated spoon found at 45 Natoma Street during the construction of the Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco.
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Rubber comb

A mid-19th century comb made from hard rubber found at the excavation site at 41 Minna Street in San Francisco.

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