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when luisa sang at lotta's fountain

To finish this little series of shots around "newspaper angle" on Market St, San Francisco - the story of "Lotta's Fountain".

 

"Lotta" was Charlotte Mignon Crabtree. Born in New York to British immigrant parents she began, at age 6, performing song and dance routines to entertain miners in the camps of California. By 1859 she had become "Miss Lotta, the San Francisco Favourite". She went on to become an actress touring with her own theatrical company and by age 20 was a national star. At the height of her success in the 1870s and 80s she had become the highest paid actress in America. She used much of her money to support local charities and to build drinking fountains in cities. The most famous of these is Lotta's Fountain in Market St SF, which was built in 1875.

 

After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake the fountain became a gathering place for those seeking lost relatives and subsequently the site of public gatherings on 18th April each year to mark the anniversary of the earthquake.

 

The final piece of the fountain's history, marked by the plaque shown here, is the story of Luisa Tetrazzini (1871-1940). Luisa was an internationally famous Italian opera singer who made her American debut in San Francisco in 1905. After she encountered legal problems which stopped her performing in New York she announced "I will sing in San Francisco if I have to sing in the streets, for I know the streets of San Francisco are free." She gave this free public performance on Christmas Eve 1910 on a stage close to Lotta's Fountain. The surrounding streets were filled with an estimated 250,000 people. The art nouveau plaque on the fountain marks this event. Note also the faded wreath marking the 1906 earthquake. anniversary.

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Taken on May 4, 2012