The worst day imaginable came for San Francisco, California when the devastating earthquake and fire struck which practically whipped out the entire city. Whenever anyone talks about this tragedy we think how awful for the city but we forget how many different fascinating stories came out of all of this.
There are those of you who will recognize the name of the world’s greatest tenor, Enrico Caruso at that time. His lucky star followed him to California because when the tragedy struck he was there with the New York Metropolitan Opera.
Just the night before was opening night and Caruso sang the part of Don Jose in Bizet’s Carmen at the Mission Opera House. He was staying at The Palace Hotel and pleased with his performance went to bed. He woke up at around 5 AM on April 18, 1906, and felt his bed shaking. Looking out the window he was shocked to see toppled buildings, masonry falling and people crying out for help.
What saved the great tenor was he and his company managed to get out of the hotel safely before The Palace Hotel fell in the late afternoon. Caruso was also lucky enough to save the bulk of his luggage with the helping hand of his valet who also found a horse and cart to bring Caruso to the waterfront Ferry Building and away from the fires ravaging the city.
Once heading away from the city he was glad to be able to return to New York and from there back to Italy and his family. He was one of the lucky ones and how devastating if the world had lost such a great tenor in this earthquake.