Friday, January 19, 2024

Retail RX --- Day 13/13

Walk: de Young Museum, Hood

Distances: 5 miles

Callot Sisters (Marie, Marthe, Regina, Josephine), (French, active 1845-1927), Ensemble bodice and Skirt, ca 1908, silk.  Worn in San Francisco by Ethel W. Sperry Crocker (1851-1934)

Not that many years after the 1849 Gold Rush, the sparsely built territory named Yerba Buena with no more than 1000 residents had become a cosmopolitan city, renamed San Francisco. The population had exploded to over 400,000 with a constant stream of national and international visitors.  It was home to elegant restaurants and hotels as well as an opera house, a museum, a grand park and a multitude of social and cultural events.  Luxurious department stores located mostly on Union Square were busy meeting demands for dresses and gowns imported from New York and especially from France.

But the catastrophic 1906 earthquake and fire effectively destroyed the city and certainly downtown retail activity. How did the new San Franciscans respond?  Well, in the midst of rubble, lawlessness, still burning fires, gerry built shelters, that disperate group of resilient, visionary, ambitious, entrepreneurial, often flamboyant souls, acted instantly.  Within weeks! retail was back in business.  The store owners banded together, quickly erected a temporary shopping district, made arrangements for the delivery of French-made clothes, and affluent San Franciscans got themselves downtown through the rubble strewn streets to purchase them.  This, dear readers, was Retail Therapy, San Francisco style.

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