Peter Donahue (businessman)

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Peter Donahue
Peter Donahue.jpg
Occupation Businessman
Known for Co-founder of San Francisco and San Jose Railroad; built first railroad to go to Santa Rosa, California

Peter Donahue, a founder of industrial San Francisco, made his way to gold-rush San Francisco aboard the steamship Oregon from Ireland by way of Peru.

In 1849, Peter and his brothers (Michael and James) opened a blacksmith's shop at First and Mission Streets. Later, they expanded it into a foundry (which became known as the Union Iron Works) and added a gas works,[1] the San Francisco Gas Company, a forerunner of Pacific Gas and Electric Company.[2]

In 1860, Donahue organized the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad, and in the 1870s he built a North Bay line from Donahue, California (at 38°11′22″N 122°32′31″W / 38.189362°N 122.541926°W / 38.189362; -122.541926 on Petaluma Creek[3]) to Cazadero, California which eventually became the Northwestern Pacific Railroad.[1] Donahue built the first railroad to serve Santa Rosa, California.[4]

The Mechanics Monument in San Francisco, unveiled in 1901, was a tribute to the Donahue brothers' contributions, commissioned by his son James Mervyn Donahue, and designed by Douglas Tilden.[2][5]


  1. ^ a b Dillon, Richard. "Those Amazing Donahue Boys". Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  2. ^ a b Anderson (May 15, 2001). "The Mechanics Monument". Sandow Museum. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Donahue
  4. ^ LeBaron, Gaye (September 30, 1990). "It was a long way to Gettysburg" (PDF). Santa Rosa Press Democrat. 
  5. ^ [] brief article on monument, with images]