The Arkansas Re-discovery from Grosvenor Americas on Vimeo.

As local history buffs know and will never tire of telling you, much of San Francisco's Financial District is built on landfill — the Bay waters are extremely shallow there — and some of that landfill is just abandoned Gold Rush-era ships. Even a portion of the Muni Metro runs through the hull of a sunken ship, in fact. Recently, part of the famed old ship after which the Old Ship Saloon near Jackson Square is named was re-discovered during excavation by a developer working on the site next to the bar, and now they've got the video to prove it.

The vessel in question was the Arkansas, which ran aground at Alcatraz in 1849 after making a rough passage to the Pacific from New York City. The ship was towed to the part of town where rapid expansion was leading to the creation of new land along the Bay shore by way of landfill — scrapped and abandoned ships were frequently turned in to makeshift saloons and hotels, with proprietors building atop them as fresh dirt filled in what was water around them (as shown in this illustration).

Word of the rediscovery of the Arkansas first circulated last November. The developer of the site, Grosvenor Americas, had an archeologist take a look at the scene, and they also commissioned the video to share a bit of the history, going beyond their due diligence and showing off a bit. In the end, they lift the keel where they found it: "The City and the San Francisco Maritime Historic Park asked that the Arkansas' location at 240 Pacific Avenue be precisely mapped and that the ship be left in situ," Grosvenor wrote to its website.

The most exciting aspect, as not much of the ship is really visible, might be the bottles and other artifacts that were dug up around it. Whether those were actually onboard the ship when it made its voyage is less clear. Before the Arkansas was buried 25 feet deep, it was landlocked, and was made accessible via a plank and served as a store and bar, a sign for which read: “Gud, bad and indif’rent spirits solds here! At 25 cents each.” Are these the bottles for those indif'rent spirits, then?

Previously: Near Old Ship Saloon, More Remnants Of Gold Rush Era Vessel Discovered