Audio Tours



This is the portrait of the man who would join the east coast to the west coast of North America, in a manner of speaking. David Hewes came to California to profit from the gold rush forty-niners, but he has gone down in history for another piece of gold: He supplied the golden spike that joined the first transcontinental railway at Promontory Point in Utah, in 1869.

He's seen here standing in front of a single column, a symbol of his worldly success and power. Hewes made his fortune selling metal shelters to the era's gold miners and then became a real estate developer, leveling the hills of San Francisco and filling in part of the Bay to make the area accessible for development.

Though associated mostly with San Francisco, David Hewes also developed land in Orange County. Later he retired here and opened a public park and garden. A Japanese tapestry that once belonged to his sister-in-law, Mrs. Leland Stanford of San Francisco, also hangs in the Bowers Museum across from the Norma Kershaw Auditorium.

Another man who came to California to seek his fortune painted this portrait. In 1849, William Jewett left New York, where he'd earned a modest living as a painter, and travelled west to hunt for gold. His plans didn't materialize, but he did develop a career as a portrait painter, servicing the fast-growing class of wealthy elites in San Francisco.

Jewett spent more than twenty years in California as a productive artist before moving back east, where he vanished into obscurity.

Step14-Portrait of David Hewes by William S. Jewett, 1854

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