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Sutro Tunnel Co. signed by Theodore Sutro - Autograph Stock Certificate

Inv# AG1588   Stock
State(s): California
Years: 1888

Stock signed by Theodore Sutro (1845-?) The Sutro Tunnel Company was organized by Adolph Sutro for the purpose of constructing a drainage tunnel under the Comstock Lode in Virginia City, Nevada. Sutro's initial associates in this enterprise were William M. Stewart, D.E. Avery, Louis Janin, Jr., and H.K. Mitchell. On February 4, 1865 the Nevada legislature granted the company an exclusive franchise to construct a drainage tunnel beginning in the foothills of the Carson River Valley in Lyon County, and terminating in the Comstock Lode of Virginia City.

The Sutro Tunnel Company was also given a charter to sink mining shafts along the line as long as they did not infringe upon the rights of miners with previous claims. The U.S. Congress granted the Sutro Tunnel Company an exclusive charter on July 25, 1866. The charter gave Sutro the right to purchase public land at $1.25 per acre to use for construction of the tunnel, and $5.00 per acre for land within 2,000' of the tunnel which contained mineral veins and lodes. It also specified that all persons, companies or corporations owning claims benefitted by the tunnel would be required to contribute to the costs of its operation.

Sutro encountered considerable difficulty in raising the capital necessary for construction. The sale of stock in the Sutro Tunnel Company enabled construction to begin in 1869 but he was eventually forced to turn to England where, begining in 1872, he obtained major financing from the banking house of McCalmont Brothers and Company. The tunnel connected with the Savage Mine in 1878. Contracts which helped pay for lateral tunnels were signed with twenty-four mining companies in April of the following year. Two months later the tunnel project was completed, and by 1880 Sutro had sold his stock in the company. The tunnel was in use for fifty years and was a success as a means of draining hot water from the mines. Financially it was a loss, as stock became worthless with the decline of Comstock Lode.

The mortgage holders, McCalmont Brothers & Co., sued to foreclose, showing an amount due in principal and interest of $2,023,833 of which they are said to have received, on a compromise, $1,000,000 when the properly was sold on foreclosure in 1889. With the exception of this amount, no part of the cost of the tunnel was ever repaid. Many of the old stockholders formed a new company called the Comstock Tunnel Company and took over the property. Theodore Sutro became the President.

Theodore Sutro (born in Aachen, in 1845), prominent lawyer of New York City, was instrumental in raising the capital for his brother's large venture. In 1887 he successfully defended the interests of the Sutro Tunnel Company, and organized its successor, the Comstock Tunnel Company. Theodore Sutro was active in the reform campaign of 1894 in New York, and is an authority on the law of taxation. (See Chapter iv.) Another brother, Otto Sutro, musician and merchant, was the founder of the Oratorio Society of Baltimore, and prominent in the musical history of that city.

The Sutro Tunnel is a drainage tunnel connected to the Comstock Lode in Northern Nevada. It begins at Virginia City, Nevada and empties approximately 6 miles southeast near the town of Dayton, Nevada.

The tunnel was proposed by Adolph Sutro in 1860. He promoted the drainage tunnel to allow access to deeper mineral exploration in the Comstock. Flooding and inadequate pumps had inhibited some exploration until that time.

By 1865, Sutro's idea had gained the approval of state and federal legislation. The mining interests of the Comstock initially supported the project, but later opposed the idea. They feared that an alternate access point to the Comstock minerals would threaten their monopoly on the mining and milling of gold and silver in the Comstock.

Nonetheless, Sutro formed the Sutro Tunnel Company, selling stock certificates to raise funds for its construction, which began in 1869. Financing also came from local miners motivated by the prospect of improved mine safety. This motivation was further advocated (perhaps exploited) by Sutro after the Yellowjacket mine disaster where dozens of miners were burned to death because they could not escape.

Arthur De Wint Foote worked on the tunnel in 1873, but was fired in 1874, having struck a flood of water in Shaft No. 2.

The main tunnel was completed in 1878. By then the Comstock mine had gone deeper, using improved pumps, and was also thinning out. Lateral tunnels were created to enhance drainage and ventilation. Upon completion, Adolph Sutro immediately sold his interest in the tunnel company and moved to San Francisco, later becoming mayor, building the Sutro Baths and a small Sutro Tunnel to them.

The Sutro Tunnel pioneered the excavation of large drainage and access tunnels in the US. Later US mine drainage tunnels included the Argo Tunnel at Idaho Springs, Colorado, the Leadville and Yak tunnels at Leadville, Colorado, and the Roosevelt tunnel in the Cripple Creek district, Colorado.

Adolph Heinrich Joseph Sutro (April 29, 1830 – August 8, 1898) was a German-American engineer, politician and philanthropist who served as the 24th mayor of San Francisco from 1895 until 1897. Born a German Jew, he moved to Virginia City, Nevada and made a fortune at the Comstock Lode. Several places in San Francisco bear his name in remembrance of his life and contributions to the city.

Born to a Jewish family in Aachen, Rhine Province, Prussia (today North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany), Sutro was the oldest of eleven children of Rosa (Warendorff) and Emanuel Sutro. He spent his youth working in his father's cloth factory and at school. After his father's death, he and one of his brothers, Sali (né Emanuel Sali Sutro; 1827–1908), began running the cloth factory.

The Prussian rebellion in 1848 caused the family to leave for America in 1850 and settle in Baltimore. Soon after, Adolph left for California and arrived in San Francisco on November 21, 1851. Adolph held a number of positions in San Francisco and eventually owned several tobacco shops.

In 1860, Sutro left San Francisco for Virginia City, Nevada, after silver was found in Comstock Lode with plans to continue selling cigars. He soon devised a concept for a tunnel to drain water from the mines and eliminate the threat of flooding. This concept became the Sutro Tunnel.

In 1865 Sutro incorporated the Sutro Tunnel Company and was granted an exclusive charter to build the tunnel by the U.S. Congress in 1866. The project encountered financial difficulties, due in part to William Ralston (1826–1875) of the Bank of California, who originally agreed to finance the project but later rescinded the offer. Over time, Sutro found other investors, including miners in the area. Sutro won miners' support after a disaster at the Yellow Jacket Mine on April 7, 1869, allowed him to lobby the Miner's Union in support of the Sutro Tunnel and construction began on October 19, 1869.

According to historian Samuel Dickson (né Samuel Benjamin Dinkelspiel; 1889–1974), " ... Sutro set off blasts of dynamite, ... leading the way for tunnel diggers" during the tunnel's construction The tunnel was completed in 1878 and made Sutro the King of Comstock because it could drain four million gallons of water daily and was rented by mine owners at an average of $10,000 a day.

After a year of running the tunnel, Adolph moved back to San Francisco. His brother Theodore Sutro takes over the Sutro Tunnel Company. Theodore Sutro sold the Sutro Tunnel Company to Franklin Leonard Sr., after Adolph's death.

His wealth was increased by large real estate investments in San Francisco, where he became an entrepreneur and public figure after returning from the Comstock in 1879. These land investments included Mount Sutro, Land's End (the area where Lincoln Park and the Cliff House are today), and Mount Davidson, which was called "Blue Mountain" at the time.

Sutro opened his own estate to the public and was heralded as a populist for various astute acts of public generosity, such as opening an aquarium and an elaborate and beautiful, glass-enclosed entertainment complex called Sutro Baths in the Sutro District. Though the Baths were not opened until 1896, Sutro had been developing and marketing the project for years, attempting four separate times to insulate the site from waves using sea walls, the first three of which collapsed into the Pacific.

In 1896, Adolph Sutro built a new Cliff House, a seven-story Victorian Chateau, called by some "the Gingerbread Palace," below his estate on the bluffs of Sutro Heights. This was the same year work began on the famous Sutro Baths, which included six of the largest indoor swimming pools north of the restaurant that included a museum, ice skating rink and other pleasure grounds. Great throngs of San Franciscans arrived on steam trains, bicycles, carts and horse wagons on Sunday excursions.

In 1894, Sutro, in preparation for the opening of the Cliff House, bought a large part of the collection of Woodward's Gardens, a combination zoo, amusement park, aquarium, and art gallery which had closed in 1891.

The Baths were saltwater and springwater pools, heated to varying degrees, and surrounded by a concert hall and museums stocked with treasures that Sutro had collected in his travels and from Woodward's Gardens. The baths became very popular despite their remote location, across the open dunes to the west of the populated areas of the city. This popularity was partly due to the low entry fee for visiting the Baths and riding the excursion railroad he built to reach them.

Sutro managed a great increase in the value of his outlying land investments as a direct result of the development burst that his vacationers' railroad spawned. He also increased the value of his lands by planting his property at Mount Sutro with saplings of fast-growing eucalyptus. This occurred at the same time as city Supervisors granted tax-free status to "forested" lands within city limits. Small fragments of the forest still exist. The largest is at Mount Sutro, where 61 acres (25 ha) are the property of the University of California, San Francisco, and another 19 are property of the City of San Francisco.

A fire destroyed the baths complex in 1966 and all that remains now are ruins. The fire was later determined to be arson. Developers, planning to turn the location into apartments, took their insurance money and left the property behind.

Sutro's reputation as a provider of diversions and culture for the average person led the politically weak and radical Populist Party to draft him to run for mayor on their ticket. He won on an anti-big business platform, inveighing against the tight grip that the Southern Pacific Railroad had over local businesses. According to historian Alexander Saxton:

Sutro was not exactly a Populist, but he was enormously popular, and especially with workingmen since he was thought to have defended the honest miner of the Comstock against the "interests." More recently he had served San Francisco as philanthropist on the grand scale and especially had endeared himself by fighting the Southern Pacific's grip on the city streetcar system. Sutro would have won on any ticket, and he was in fact elected by a landslide. It is clear however that his victory represented a non-partisan tribute to a very highly esteemed old man rather than a mass conversion to Populist principle: for while Sutro polled 50 percent of the city's vote, the Populist gubernatorial candidate, J. V. Webster, received only 11 percent, considerably less than his state-wide showing.

He was quickly considered a failed mayor, ill-suited for political work, and did not provide any popularity boost to the Populist party.

At the time of his death, in 1898, his fortune was extensive and his legal affairs in disarray. As a result, his heirs fought bitterly over his holdings.

Many of Sutro's gifts to the city of San Francisco still exist and bear his name, such as Mount Sutro, originally Mount Parnassus (a lower hill nearby is the location of the Sutro Tower), and Sutro Heights, and Sutro Heights Park. Sutro Baths became a skating rink and then was destroyed by a fire in 1966. The ruins of the baths (mostly the concrete foundations) are just north of the Cliff House. They are part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. (1894–1896)

In 1854, Sutro married Leah Harris (maiden; 1832–1893). They had seven children:

  1. Emma Laura Sutro, MD (1855–1938), who on March 27, 1883, married George Washington Merritt, MD (1855–1928)
  2. Rose Victoria Sutro (1858–1942), who in 1887 married Count Pio Alberto Morbio (1849–1911). One of their daughters, Marguerite Helen Morbio (1890–1972), had been married from 1916 to 1919 to French Army aviator and nobleman, Count Anselme de Mailly-Châlon (1887–1929), great-grandson of Adrien Augustin Almaric (fr) (1792–1878), Count of Mailly, Marquis of Haucourt and Nesle, prince of Orange
  3. Gustav Emmanuel Sutro (1859–1864)
  4. Kate Sutro (1862–1913), who married Moritz Nussbaum (1850–1915), an allopathic physician, anatomy scholar and Professor of Biology at the University of Bonn
  5. Charles Walter Sutro (1864–1936)
  6. Edgar Ernest Sutro (1866–1922)
  7. Clara Angela Sutro (1867–1924), who, on December 24, 1898, in Los Angeles, married Chicago attorney William John English (1845–1926), divorced him in 1912, and on July 7, 1915, in Paris, married Count Gilbert de Choiseul-Praslin (1882–1926), grandson of the French nobleman, Charles de Choiseul-Praslin (1805–1847), and son of Marie Elizabeth Forbes (maiden; 1850–1932) – sister of Henry de Courcy Forbes (1849–1920). Clara and Gilbert divorced in 1921.

Leah filed for divorce from Adolph in 1879 and the two officially separated July 3, 1880. Shortly after Adolph's death in 1898, Clara Louisa Kluge (maiden; 1863–1943) claimed to be his widow by way of common law marriage. She retained attorney Van R. Paterson (1849–1902) and prevailed in securing financial support for her two children that she claimed Adolph had fathered:

  1. Adolph Newton Sutro (1891–1981), who, in January 1926 in San Bernardino, married Olive Woodward Waibel (maiden; 1901–1979)
  2. Adolphine Charlotte Sutro (1892–1974), who married Elliott Lazier Fullerton (1885–1932)

A brother of Adolph, Otto Sutro (1833–1896), was an organist, conductor, and minor composer who was prominent in music in Baltimore, Maryland. Otto's daughters, Rose Laura Sutro (1870–1957) and Ottilie Sutro (1872–1970), were an internationally acclaimed piano-duo team.

Another brother, Theodore Sutro (1845–1927), a New York City lawyer, married September 18, 1884, in Manhattan, Florence Sutro (née Florence Edith Clinton; 1865–1906), a musician, painter, and founding President of National Federation of Women's Music Clubs.

The actor Robert Argent played Sutro in the 1957 episode (season 5, episode 17), "The Man Who Was Never Licked" of the syndicated television anthology series, Death Valley Days, hosted by Stanley Andrews. William Hudson was cast in the same episode as Lucky Baldwin, a powerful 19th century California businessman.

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Condition: Excellent

A stock certificate is issued by businesses, usually companies. A stock is part of the permanent finance of a business. Normally, they are never repaid, and the investor can recover his/her money only by selling to another investor. Most stocks, or also called shares, earn dividends, at the business's discretion, depending on how well it has traded. A stockholder or shareholder is a part-owner of the business that issued the stock certificates.

Item ordered may not be exact piece shown. All original and authentic.
Price: $325.00