Britton & Rey
Britton & Rey (1852 – 1906) was a lithographic printing firm based in San Francisco and founded by Joseph Britton and Jacques Joseph Rey in 1852. Especially during the second half of the 19th century, Britton and Rey became the leading lithography firm in San Francisco, and probably California. Among their many publications were birds-eye-views of Californian cities, depictions of the exquisite landscapes, stock certificates, and no least maps. While Rey was the primary artist, Britton worked not only as the main lithographer but was essentially also the man running the business. In addition to their own material, the firm reproduced the works of other American artists like Thomas Almond Ayres (1816 – 1858), George Holbrook Baker (1824 – 1906), Charles Christian Nahl (1818 – 1878), and Frederick August Wenderoth (1819 – 1884). Following Rey’s death in 1892 Britton passed the form on to Rey’s son, Valentine J. A. Rey, who ran it until the great earthquake and fire of 1906 destroyed most of the company’s assets.
Joseph Britton (1825 – July 18, 1901) was a lithographer and the co-founder of the prominent San Francisco lithography studio Britton and Rey. He was also a civic leader in San Francisco, serving on the Board of Supervisors and helping to draft a new city charter. In 1852, he became active in lithography and publishing, first under the name ‘Pollard and Britton,’ and then ‘Britton and Rey,’ a printing company founded with his friend and eventual brother-in-law Jacques Joseph Rey. Britton and Rey became the premier lithographic and engraving studio of the Gold Rush era, producing letter sheets, maps, and artistic prints.
Jacques Joseph Rey (1820 – 1892) was a French engraver and lithographer born in the Alsatian town of Bouxwiller. At the age of about 30, he emigrated to America, eventually settling in California. Here, he soon entered into a partnership with local entrepreneur and civic leader Joseph Britton. Three years later, Rey also married Britton’s sister, allowing his business partner and brother-in-law Britton to live in their house with them. Rey and Britton were not only an important part of the San Francisco printing and publishing scene but also owned a plumbing and gas-fitting firm. In the early years, both men would sometimes partner up with others on specific projects, but by the late 1860s, their partnership was more or less exclusive.
William Hammond Hall
William Hammond Hall (1846 in Hagerstown, Maryland, United States of America – 1934) was a civil engineer who was the first State Engineer of California, and designed Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA.
After serving with the U.S. army engineers in the Civil War, Hall was assigned in the latter part of the 1860s to surveying the Western regions of the United States and preparing topographical maps.
During this same time, the citizens of San Francisco were considering building a grand park for their new and growing city. The city designated a tract of 1,013 acres (4.10 km2) stretching out to the ocean that was known as the “outside land.” In 1870 the Park Commission solicited bids for a topographical survey which was awarded to Hall. After the successful completion of that task, he was appointed Golden Gate Park’s first superintendent in 1871.
Hall devised a plan to improve the Park. The design included a Panhandle along with two main drives. Additionally, the outside land was covered with sand dunes which needed to be reclaimed and replaced by forest trees. 60,000 trees had been planted by 1875 (Blue Gum Eucalyptus, Monterey pine and Monterey cypress). Plantings continued and there were 155,000 trees planted by 1879.
In 1876, Hall was elected a member of the California Academy of Sciences, and was appointed California’s first State Engineer. Despite his new responsibilities, he retained the position of consulting engineer to Golden Gate Park until he resigned in 1890, and was replaced by his assistant John McLaren.