The Daily Examiner – 1889 – In the Dirt Under the House

As I was gathering up the mortar chunks left over from the removal of the sandstone foundation, I found crumbled up in the dirt parts of an old newspaper. I’m not sure if it had been in the dirt all this time or was stuffed inside the wall and fell down when the house was lifted. I carefully put it in a safe place to investigate it later. It was in bad shape,a little dirty and very fragile. I carefully pulled it apart and looked for a date at the top of the paper but couldn’t find one. Then I saw the ad for the TIvoli Opera House performance of Maritana on Tuesday Evening, June 4, 1889. Yes, you read that right 1889! It was the San Francisco newspaper, The Daily Examiner. There was only “The”  and San Francisco from the front page that gave the clue to the publication. In case you were wondering The Examiner was founded in 1863 as the Democratic Press, a pro-Confederacy, pro-slavery, pro-Democrat party paper opposed to Abraham Lincoln, but after his assassination in 1865, the paper’s offices were destroyed by a mob, and starting on June 12, 1865, it was called The Daily Examiner. In 1880, mining engineer and entrepreneur George Hearst acquired the Examiner. Seven years later, after being elected to the U.S. Senate, he gave it to his son, William Randolph Hearst, who was then 23 years old. Writers such as Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce and Jack London increased its popularity along with yellow journalism, with ample use of foreign correspondents and splashy coverage of scandals. The ad for the opening of a new opera at The Tivoli Opera House was located on Sutter between Powell and Stockton. It opened in 1879 and replaced the burned Tivoli Gardens. Waiters served beer and cheese sandwiches to guests at the tables in the pit, balconies and galleries. A beautiful gaslight chandelier hung from the ceiling and lite the stage. Garlands and festoons of flowers draped the stage and statues stood proudly on the sides. Music lovers enjoyed seasons of light comic and grand opera. The Tivoli Opera House was regarded by San Franciscans with the same pride as New Yorkers regarded the Metropolitan Opera House. It was considered a firetrap in 1903 and torn down. It was rebuilt at Mason and Eddy in 1904 and then destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and then again rebuilt. It was torn down in the 1950-60’s. The opera Maritana is a grand opera in three acts composed by William Vincent Wallace. It is based on  the 1844 play Don César de Bazan. It is a story about a gypsy street singer in Madrid who falls in love and despite the devious minister of the king is happily reunited with her love, Don Caesar.


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