19th Century FU

Here are a couple of mansions in San Francisco, on of which was built by Charles Crocker of the "big 4" (including Sanford, Huntington, and Hopkins) who built the western half of the transcontinental railroad  (don't be fooled -- the railroad itself, forced years ahead of its time by government policy, was a financial mess.  The big 4 made their real money in the construction company that built the railroad, and in real estate and ancillary businesses at the railroad's terminus).

Note the thing that looks like a four-story high wall in the back corner of the near mansion. What is that?  Its a four-story high wall.  Crocker was ticked off the last building owner on the block did not sell to him.  So he built a "spite wall" on his property on three sides of the building to block its views.  Abusive, I suppose, and used by some to talk about what the rich could get away with in that era.  But consider that in the current era, Crocker would just go to the government and get it to condemn the building and hand the property to him, in the Kelo logic that he would pay more taxes on the property.   Rich people have more power today to abuse their relationship with government for the simple fact that the government has a lot more power to be commanded.

As I tell people all the time, if you want to limit the special powers the rich wield by influencing politics, the only solution is to limit the power of the government.

From this cool 360 panorama of San Francisco

  • Smock Puppet

    > As I tell people all the time, if you want to limit the special powers the rich wield by influencing politics, the only solution is to limit the power of the government.

    Logic? Logic?

    Weeeeeeee don' neeed no steeeenkin' LOGIC!?!?

  • enjayboy

    "...if you want to limit the special powers the rich wield by influencing politics, the only solution is to limit the power of the government."

    Similar to something I frequently say:
    "To eliminate the abuse of power, eliminate the power."

  • jeff

    Typically, people that are agitated to limit the power of "the rich" think THEY will know the super secret handshake, and not have to give up their power. Don't worry! They have an extra helping of altruism and will only exercise that power to correct your mistakes.

  • el coronado

    crocker was obviously thee wrong guy to piss off, but fir my money, the real badass of the bunch was huntington. the perfect 19th century man: he was sure he'd been put on this earth to make money, and he by God got after it. his motto was - and i was told this is a direct quote - "anything that's not nailed down is *mine*. anything i can pry loose is not nailed down."

    *sigh* was born 150 years too late......when men weren't afraid to act like men, and lady gaga would have been institutionalized the instant she stepped outdoors.