After taking California, the U.S. needed a way to sort through land claims and established a Public Land Commission. This operated from 1852 to 1856, principally in San Francisco but also briefly in Los Angeles, taking depositions and issuing decisions. Records of the 813 claims it heard (and the lawsuits that ensued) survived the 1906 fire.

The documentation is not sparse, but I haven't been able to answer one question: in which building or buildings in San Francisco did the Commission meet?

  • "Governor and judges journal; proceedings of the Land board of Detroit", catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/001265262, describes the process used their, starting with its authorization in 1806. It continued to meet thru the early 1820s. In the surviving minutes of the board, the date and location of the next meeting is always specified. The case should be similar for California. Dec 24, 2018 at 14:07

1 Answer 1


According to LeCount & Strong's San Francisco City Directory for the Year 1854, the U.S. Land Commission met in John Parrott's "Iron Building" at 148 California Street.

According to Igler's Industrial Cowboys (2001):

... the four floors of his Iron Building conveniently housed the clerks, archives, and officers of the U.S. Board of Land Claims Commissioners. For all practical purposes, Parrott's building was the San Francisco land office.

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