The Fires That Devastated San Francisco

In April 1906, following the great earthquake (for more on the earthquake, see my previous post), numerous fires broke out all over the city of San Francisco. The city had recently installed gas and water mains, and these ruptured during the quake, so the combination of explosive gas and no water made for a volatile and horrific situation. One of the first and largest fires was started by a … [Read more...]

The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906

As you saw in my previous post, Enrico Caruso experienced a devastating earthquake. At 5:12 on the morning of April 18, 1906, San Francisco was rocked by an earthquake estimated now to have been of magnitude 7.8 (the Richter scale was yet to be instituted; this magnitude is the same as the recent initial Tibetan earthquake.) While the main epicenter of the quake was offshore, it is assumed to … [Read more...]

The Voice of the Early 1900s: Enrico Caruso

In the climactic chapters of FORGIVEN, Kula, along with other wealthy patrons, spends an evening at the opera and hears Enrico Caruso perform. It was to be his last performance in San Francisco, and her last night of stability. Enrico Caruso (1873-1921) was an Italian tenor who captivated the world with his voice. He lived during the advent of the phonograph, and in part because his celebrity … [Read more...]

The Wealthy of Old Nob Hill

In FORGIVEN, after Kula's rude introduction to San Francisco's meaner streets (as described in my last post), she finds her way to the home of her future benefactor. Here's how she describes it: "Turrets and towers, porches and balconies...these only began to describe what looked like a confection of furbelows and curlicues and fancies." Before the earthquake and fire of 1906 San Francisco was … [Read more...]