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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 78

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Chapter 11 San Francisco… April 18, “ A Violent Heaving and Shaking!”… The Scene at the Palace... A Refugee in Black Lace and Feathers… Curb- Side Cookout on Nob Hill… A Lost Layette and Greater Tragedies… Riding an Express Wagon Through the Smoking Ruins IN 1906 TONOPAH WAS AT THE HEIGHT of its productivity and Goldfield at the apex of its boom; new discoveries were being made all over southern Nevada, and money was flowing through our hands like water. There was a steady stream of business in Hugh’s office, as he helped promoters of new mining ventures to launch their companies. As these new strikes kept rolling in, his fees were often paid in stock in the new companies rather than money. Every new company was listed on the stock exchange almost overnight, with their potential as producers rising with every market day. These were the top of the boom days, for us as well as for the promoters. Our first child was about to be born, and we had much to celebrate. We had planned that I should be with my mother through my confinement, so we went to San Francisco a few weeks early to take in the opera season. Though I had visited my family the previous autumn, I was tremendously thrilled over this trip. As a girl, when I sat in the balcony or, more probably, stood on the ground floor to hear Melba and Sembrick, Schumann- Heink and other brilliant stars clustered around the 1890’ s I had dreamed of such luxury. Now it was here. Our tickets were ordered and received, tenth row on the aisle, and my mother was commissioned to have an appropriate dress ready for me when the date came. We arrived in the city early on Monday morning, April 16. Like loyal Nevadans, we went to the Palace Hotel, which had been built with Nevada mining money. We were settled in an attractive, old- fashioned corner room on the fifth floor, with long green and gold draperies with valances and fringe, and chairs upholstered in gold brocade. A huge fireplace with carved marble mantel, surmounted by a large mirror in a fluted gold frame, practically filled one side of the room. It was the handsomest room either of us had ever occupied. That afternoon we both went shopping for clothes. Anticipating my expanding figure, my mother had had made for me a light blue evening gown to wear at the opera, but I needed an evening wrap. I bought a beautiful grey one trimmed with fur, and Hugh laid in a whole new outfit. Late Monday afternoon our purchases were delivered to the hotel by messenger; Hugh’s wardrobe came stacked in two tiers of six box eseach, with handles on top by which the boy carried them: new suits, shirts, ties, socks, a complete wardrobe. My own new clothes would materialize after our child was born.



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