This week's cover story is the tale of the deadliest sports tragedy in American history -- which is something they don't tell you about in San Francisco travel brochures.
Researching the Nov. 29, 1900, disaster required days of sifting through the newspapers of the era. This was an unexpectedly lurid affair; even apart from the articles about hundreds of football fans crashing through a factory roof and onto a furnace, San Francisco of 1900 was a pretty rough-and-tumble place. For one thing, newspapers of the day reveled in covering the suicides of prominent men. These deaths were invariably due to sour business dealings, melancholia, or, most commonly, tainted love. "DEATH ENDS HIS ROMANCE," read a typical headline.
Deaths and misfortunes of all sorts were covered in a literary style that would work its way out of newspaper writing over the next several decades, and adorned with headlines that commonly lacked an ostensible subject ("DROPS DEAD ON THE BOAT").
So, come with us for a sentimental journey to a filthier, nastier, more bigoted, more dangerous, and more mind-boggling San Francisco as we tour the banner headlines of 1900. Click on the images to read a larger version: