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On the Gold Rush's track

(Mechanics' Institute, San Francisco, CA)


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I was able to take advantage of a business trip to Berkeley, CA in July 2004 to visit my friend Andy Ansel and to go with him by BART (Bay Area Regional Train) to the Mechanics’ Institute, 57 Post Street in San Francisco downtown. John Donaldson was expecting us, he is the director of the Chess Room there, the oldest chess club of the United States which was probably founded even in 1854 along with the whole institution.
Andy in front of the entrance

Andy in front of the entrance
57 Post Street



In J. Donaldson's office

In John Donaldson’s office, 4th floor



Reading room of the Library

Reading room of the Mechanics’ Institute’s Library
(above and below)


The Mechanics’ Institute should offer education and cultural entertainment to the mechanics who had settled after the gold fever (in 1848 gold was discovered at Coloma in the North East, also San Francisco benefited from that). Nowadays its magnificent library with about 160,000 books in the neoclassicist reading rooms is a gem. Among them is quite a considerable number of nice chess books and magazines – so John showed us a marvellous edition of the Wiener Schachzeitung or of the Deutsches Wochenschach and of the British Chess Magazine located in a special room for the valuables as well as common books intended for lending.


Reading room of the Library






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