(Stacker) – After the completion of the 1860 census and the election of President Abraham Lincoln, America imploded.

Eleven southern states seceded from the Union in 1861, instigating four bloody years of the Civil War and fundamentally altering the social history of the U.S. The estimates of deaths caused by the Civil War begin around 600,000, but some claim as many as 750,000 individuals died throughout the conflict.

With so many families looking for a new start after combat finally ended and approximately 4 million Black Americans emancipated from slavery, it was time for many Americans to look for a new home to put down roots. The obvious choice for many was to move west, where there was more land to buy, settle, and cultivate.

Many traveled by covered wagon, spending months on the dusty trail. Others who could afford better accommodations took a 25-day ride by stagecoach. All of them picked new cities and towns to make their homes, spreading the U.S. population more evenly across different states and territories.On May 10, 1869, the first transcontinental railroad route across the United States was completed, ushering in a new era of transportation.

The project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, though with the loss of many lives, including those of the many Irish and Chinese immigrants hired to work 12-hour days in the hot western sun.

Riding by steam engine, passengers could cross the entire country in four days, enabling waves of Americans and immigrants to quickly occupy land that would otherwise take months to settle.

The years of Civil War reconstruction, coupled with wagon, stagecoach, and railroad passengers finding new lives across the U.S., made the urban development reflected in the 1870 census incredibly interesting. Stacker compiled a list of the biggest cities in California from 150 years ago using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

By transcribing Table XXV of the Ninth Census of the U.S., which was previously only available as a PDF, it’s easy to explore what the urban landscape looked like less than a decade after the end of the Civil War as America healed and grew.

The largest city in California ranked #10 among all cities nationwide in 1870. Of the 100 largest cities in the U.S., 2 were in California. Here are the “big cities” of 150 years ago:

#17. Santa Clara, Santa Clara County

– Total population: 3,469 (#1,084 nationwide)
— Male population: 2,070
— Female population: 1,399
— Child population, ages 5-18: 1,177

#16. Chico, Butte County

– Total population: 3,714 (#923 nationwide)
— Male population: 2,476
— Female population: 1,238
— Child population, ages 5-18: 853

#15. Napa, Napa County

– Total population: 3,791 (#892 nationwide)
— Male population: 2,220
— Female population: 1,571
— Child population, ages 5-18: 977

#14. Nevada, Nevada County

– Total population: 3,986 (#821 nationwide)
— Male population: 2,652
— Female population: 1,334
— Child population, ages 5-18: 940

#13. Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County

– Total population: 4,255 (#722 nationwide)
— Male population: 2,377
— Female population: 1,878
— Child population, ages 5-18: 1,392

(Credit: Detroit Publishing Company/Library of Congress)

#12. Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County

– Total population: 4,436 (#665 nationwide)
— Male population: 2,605
— Female population: 1,831
— Child population, ages 5-18: 1,176

#11. Petaluma, Sonoma County

– Total population: 4,588 (#619 nationwide)
— Male population: 2,548
— Female population: 2,040
— Child population, ages 5-18: 1,397

(Credit: 1870 U.S. Census)

#10. “3”, Contra Costa County – oddly, the census lists five cities in Contra Costa County in 1870, but three were unnamed. A city identified only as “3” was listed with over 4,000 residents, but it’s unclear what location is referenced with those three numbers. Many of the county’s historic population centers, including Richmond, Lafayette Walnut Creek and Pittsburg had yet to be formally incorporated.

– Total population: 4,610 (#610 nationwide)
— Male population: 2,794
— Female population: 1,816
— Child population, ages 5-18: 1,324

#9. Marysville, Yuba County

– Total population: 4,738 (#572 nationwide)
— Male population: 3,144
— Female population: 1,594
— Child population, ages 5-18: 923

The City of Los Angeles and railroad works as seen in 1877. (Credit: Carleton Watkins/Library of Congress)

#8. Los Angeles, Los Angeles County

– Total population: 5,728 (#411 nationwide)
— Male population: 3,186
— Female population: 2,542
— Child population, ages 5-18: 1,629

#7. Vallejo, Solano County

– Total population: 6,391 (#344 nationwide)
— Male population: 3,957
— Female population: 2,434
— Child population, ages 5-18: 1,322

#6. Grass Valley, Nevada County

– Total population: 7,003 (#300 nationwide)
— Male population: 4,545
— Female population: 2,518
— Child population, ages 5-18: 1,638

#5. San Jose, Santa Clara County

– Total population: 9,089 (#216 nationwide)
— Male population: 4,971
— Female population: 4,118
— Child population, ages 5-18: 2,442

#4. Stockton, San Joaquin County

– Total population: 10,006 (#187 nationwide)
— Male population: 6,210
— Female population: 3,856
— Child population, ages 5-18: 2,438

#3. Oakland, Alameda County

– Total population: 11,104 (#150 nationwide)
— Male population: 6,589
— Female population: 4,515
— Child population, ages 5-18: 2,848

#2. Sacramento, Sacramento County

– Total population: 16,283 (#93 nationwide)
— Male population: 9,465
— Female population: 6,818
— Child population, ages 5-18: 3,838

#1. San Francisco, San Francisco County

– Total population: 149,473 (#10 nationwide)
— Male population: 86,182
— Female population: 63,291
— Child population, ages 5-18: 34,541