The narrow streets and alleys ran between decrepit adobe buildings roofed with “brea” from tar pits west of the city. Bicknell had summed up his philosophy this way when counseling a younger lawyer: “The safe way is to select a business that you will be satisfied to follow and build up a business of your own.” He began to follow his own advice. By the 1880s, he had attracted one of the region’s most important clients, the Southern Pacific Railroad.
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