The Secret History of Green Street
Green Street in San Francisco was named in honor of Talbot Green, an early citizen from Philadelphia who had become one of the pillars of the young city. As merchant banker, he became a man of wealth and power and was named U.S. Custom Collector. He married in 1851 and the couple were one of the most celebrate couples in San Francisco high society. In the early 1850s Democratic party leaders in the city pressed Talbot Green to be their candidate for mayor.

On the morning before his official nomination, a local newspaper alleged that Talbot Green was living a lie. It claimed that they had a witness who swore that Green was living under an alias and that he had embezzled funds from a bank in Pennsylvania. Green strongly denied the claims. The other city fathers were shocked and pressed him for the truth. Green's good friend, the wealthy Sam Brannan, even offered to repay all debts if the allegations were true. But Green stuck to his story and surprised everyone by stating he would return to Philadelphia and clear his name. The next morning Green said goodbye to his wife, boarded a ship with a single suitcase, and sailed away through the Golden Gate.

In the months that followed the true story emerged. Talbot Green was in fact Paul Geddes a bank officer from Gettysburg who had lost $7,000 of the bank's money in high stakes card game, then fled west, renaming himself after a town in Wales. It was also learned that Geddes had abandoned a wife and three children in Pennsylvania. His whereabouts after leaving San Francisco were never confirmed but rumors would later circulate of his involvement in Texas land speculation and a possible reunion with his wife on a farm in Ohio. Later sightings were reported in New Orleans and Tennessee. San Francisco considered changing the name of his namesake street but in the end left it as Green.

Years later Geddes would write to his old San Francisco friend Thomas Larkin begging for money to clear his debts. Larkin would help him but decades later when Geddes returned to San Francisco he was shunned by his friends and mostly forgotten by the public. History records that the old, once-great man, took the time to walk the entire length of the street still named for him, from the waterfront to where the street ends at this Pacific Heights home next to the Presidio.
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