San Francisco — A City with History

A sea of cyclists start the race at Amgen Cycling Tour of California

By Jeanne Lawrence

San Francisco 1906 Earthquake Centennial

On April 18, 2006, 5:12 a.m., the 100th anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake captured the imagination of the entire city.

Dave Hubert and Blaze the Firedog in vintage 1900's Fire Truck

A sold-out gala San Francisco Rising: 1906 Centennial at the historic 1875 Palace Hotel, the elegant survivor of the quake, crowned the festivities, benefiting the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society and the Chinese Historical Society of America. 

Colorfully costumed performers of the Peony Opera set the tone as many celebrants embraced the spirit of the era, wearing period costumes as they danced to the retro sounds of Swing Fever.

Hundreds, led by SF Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, joined the faithful who, for the past thirty-five years, have commemorated the anniversary by painting gold the fire hydrant at Church  and 20th Street - the only hydrant not to have failed in 1906.

The 1906 quake was a biggy by today’s seismometers, an estimated magnitude 7.9 (30 times the energy released by the 1989 Loma Prieta quake) and lasting less than a minute.  San Francisco at the time was the eighth-largest American City and a cultural and economic center.

The evening before the quake hit, legendary tenor Enrico Caruso performed Don Jose in “Carmen” at the Grand Opera House on a nationwide tour and stayed at the Palace Hotel.

“I had a room on the fifth floor…the night before the great catastrophe,” Caruso recalled. “I went to bed that night feeling happy and contented.  But what an awakening!”

Escaping by boat to Oakland, then back to New York, he vowed never to return to San Francisco and he never did.

What didn’t crumble in the temblor – which lasted less than a minute - burned in one of the thousands of fires that lasted almost four days. More than three-quarters of the city were leveled.

It must have seemed like the end of the world.  But San Francisco, the proud city, refused to be beaten and rebuilt itself to become one of the great cosmopolitan cities of the Twentieth Century.

Randy Saver and Captain Rick Saver at Palace Hotel breakfast

Commissioner Mae Woo, Ellen Newman, Judge Harry Low, Sue Lee, and Walter Newman
Lord and Lady Levene, of Lloyd's of London, Jim Lazarus, and John De Cles as Mark Twain

Chief of Protocol Charlotte Schultz

Thao and Jerome Dodson, Pres SFMHS

Dagmar and Ray Dolby of Dolby Sound

Dede Wilsey and John Traina
Clockwise from top left: Dr. Stephen and Phyllis Pfeiffer; Delia Ehrlich of host committee with Peony Performers; Philanthropist Richard Goldman and Sandra Farris.
Ed and Norma Osgood in Palace Hotel's Palm Court
Dave Bergmann and Carol Andrade

Cynthia Glinka and Al Griffin dance the night away

Goyard of Paris Arrives in San Francisco

Goyard, the legendary French maker of luxury leather goods, opened its first freestanding boutique outside of Paris at Union Square. Since 1853, Goyard’s home has been Rue Saint-Honoré just off the Place Vendôme near the Tuilleries Gardens.

Goyard has long been a favorite with Sarah Bernhardt, Cesar Ritz, John Rockefeller (several Goyards were lost in the wreck of the Titanic), the Royal Court in England, the Emperor of Russia, and the occasional Maharajah.  Arthur Conan Doyle even commissioned a travel writing desk.

The company was born of a marriage, literally, between Francois Goyard, a wood worker and innovator of waterproof techniques, and young couturier Leopoldine Delaporte.

SF’s fashionable crowd turned out for the opening soirée where a portion of the evening’s sales benefited Raphael House. The family shelter is dedicated to helping at-risk families find stable housing and financial independence, while providing daily comforts and one-on-one support.

Celebrants at the party included: Goyardfranchise owners Patrick and Luisa  Hagemeister-Rangel de Alba, Norman Hagemeister, Jorge Rangel de Alba with his daughter Mariana Hagemeister – the family also owns Bang and Olufsen and Roche Bobois.) Goyard owners Alex and Jeanne Signoles flew in from France.

San Franciscans attending included night club impresario Harry Denton, Cheryl Baxter, Elizabeth Thieriot, Joy Venturini Bianchi, interior designer Jean Larette, John and Lisa Grotts, Claudia Ross with her Dad Jorge Castillo.

Also seen in the crowd were Aqua Restaurant owner Mary Condy, Skyy Vodka creator Maurice Kanbar, Special Events creator Kimberly Bakker, Cliff Demavandi, fashion designer Julie Chaiken, Patricia Loucks, jewelry designer Rosalina Lydster, Beth Townsend, Mark Wagoner, Nikki Hennesy, and Riccardo Benvides.

Jorge Rengal de Alba and Mariana Hagemeister
Luisa and Patrick Hagemeister de Alba

Cheryl Baxter with her own Goyard bag

Claudia Ross with her Dad, Jorge Castillo
Fashion designer Julie Chaiken, Claudia Ross, and Patrick Hagemeister
Harry Denton, Starlight Room nightclub partner
Mary Condy owner of Aqua Restaurant

Maurice Kanbar of NYU's Institute of Film and Television

Beth Townsend and Mark Wagoner

Modeling the Goyard goods

Cliff Demavandi and Kimberly Bakker
Interior designer Jean Larette

Joy Venturini Bianchi

Brothers Norman and Patrick Hagemeister
Lisa and John Grotts, ballet patrons

Inauguration of Amgen Cycling Tour of California

Elite cycling, in the tradition of the Tour de France, raced into California this year. The opening gun echoed off the San Francisco Ferry Building at Pier 1 marking the start of the “Prologue,” the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California.

Only the scenic hills of San Francisco could provide the riders with such a challenge. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was there to congratulate the winner.

The race was presented by AEG, a world leader in sports and entertainment, and sanctioned by USA Cycling which is recognized by the US Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale.

The 8-day, 7- stage event covered 600 miles of California coastline, from San Francisco to Redondo Beach. Ten host cities welcomed the tour; San Francisco, Sausalito, Santa Rosa, Martinez, San José, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks (Amgen HQ) and Redondo Beach.

Thousand Oaks welcomed the racers with their own charity cycle event with 500 local participants, led by Bruce Jenner, the 1976 Olympic Decathlon Gold Medalist, highlighting the biotech pioneer’s “Breakaway from Cancer™” initiative.

The peloton, with more than 125 riders, was really quite a sight as a blur of rainbow-hued jerseys whizzed past. In the overall final standings, eight of the top ten finishers were Americans.

California Governor Arnold Schwarznegger congratulates Levi Leipheimer, winner of the Prologue Race in SF

Olympic Decathlon Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner led the 'Breakaway from Cancer' Charity Race

Relaxing before the starting gun

The big finish


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Photographs by Tom Gibbons.


© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/