There was no end of enjoyments. After the theatre they would go to Zinkaud’s, Tate’s, the Palace or some other of the many places of resort, for a snack to eat and a spell under the music, which was to be heard everywhere.
Another part of the gay life of the city was for a private dance to keep going all night in a fashionable residence, and at daylight, instead of everybody going to bed, to jump into automobiles or carriages or take the trolley cars and whizz off to the beach for a dip in the cold salt water pool at Sutro’s baths, and then, with ravenous appetites, sit down on the Cliff House balcony to an open-air breakfast while watching the ships sail in and out at the Golden Gate and hearing the seals barking on the rocks. After that home and to rest.
The city never went to sleep altogether. It was “an all-night” town. Few of the restaurants ever closed, none of the saloons did. Always during the whole twenty-four hours of the day there was “something doing” in the Tenderloin. No hour of the night was ever free of revelry. It was marvelous how they kept it up. The average San Franciscan could stay awake all night at a card game, take a cold wash and a good breakfast in the morning, and go straight downtown to business and feel none the worse for it.
It was a gay town, a captivating, piquant, audacious, but not especially wicked city. A Frenchy, a risque city it might justly have been called, but it was not wicked in the sense that sordid vice, vulgar crime and wretched squalor constitute wickedness.
It was a lovable place that everybody longed to get back to, once having been there. A woman, leaving it for years, watched it from the ferryboat, and, weeping, said, “San Francisco, oh, my San Francisco, I am leaving thee.”
Will those who left it after the fire ever get back to their old city again? We have already expressed our doubt of this. The old San Francisco is probably gone, never to return. The new San Francisco will be a cleaner, saner and safer city, destitute of its rookeries, its tenements and its Chinatown. It will be a greater and more sightly city than that of the past, but to those who knew and loved the old San Francisco—San Francisco the captivating, the maddest, gayest, liveliest and most rollicking in the country—there must be something impressibly sad to its old inhabitants in the reflection that the new city of the Golden Gate can never be quite the same as the haven of their early affections.
Plans to Rebuild San Francisco.