Regular steamboat service from the West to the East Coast of the United States begins with the arrival of the SS California in San Francisco Bay, 4 months 22 days after leaving New York Harbor, arriving at San Fransisco on February 28, 1849.
SS California was one of the first steamships to steam in the Pacific Ocean and the first steamship to travel from Central America to North America. She was built for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company which was founded April 18, 1848 as a joint stock company in the State of New York by a group of New York City merchants, William H. Aspinwall, Edwin Bartlett, Henry Chauncey, Mr. Alsop, G.G. Howland and S.S. Howland. She was built as the first of three steamboats specified in a government mail contract to provide mail, passenger, and freight service from Panama to and from San Francisco and Oregon.