Play

8 The Old Hippodrome

The Old Hippodrome

The Old Hippodrome
We have a lovely little arts and crafts store here at 555 Pacific Avenue today, but if you could go back in time to the late 1800s, this whole area was called the Barbary Coast, named after the pirate-infested coast of North Africa. Around every corner here, you could find shady characters, a lot of thieves and prostitutes. Murders were happening on a daily basis. Back in the days of the Barbary Coast, this arts and crafts store was a venue called The Hippodrome. This was a dance hall. It was very popular with sailors, merchants, and gold miners who'd all flock to this area in search of a good time. But sometimes, they’d get a little more than they bargained for. We're here in the basement of the old Hippodrome where we can find an old blocked-off tunnel in here, and that one dates all the way back to the Gold Rush of the 1800s. Back in those days, sailors were in quite short supply because when a boat would arrive in San Francisco, a lot of sailors would run off to the Gold Rush. So the maritime industry got really desperate, and they started kidnapping people to join their ships' crews. Let’s have a look. To kidnap people for the ships, they would come to the bar at the Hippodrome upstairs, and then they would ply the men with a few too many drinks. When those men were totally inebriated, legend has it they would bring them down to the tunnel here, and then secretly cart them off to the ships at the waterfront. And the next thing they knew, the men would wake up on a ship halfway to the Far East. Typical destinations would be Japan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, and that's where the term "shanghaiing" comes from.
-
  • Subtitles
-
The Vesuvio

8 The Vesuvio

The Vesuvio

Columbus Tower / Sentinel Building

Columbus Tower / Sentinel Building

Columbus Tower / Sentinel Building

1 of 1