I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Nob Hill~ Love's Reward's Neighborhood

My novella, Love's Reward, released this month in Barbour's The Most Eligible Bachelor Collection! I'm so excited, I thought I'd share a few photos that helped inspire the story's setting.

The novella takes place in the Spring of 1896 among some of San Francisco's wealthiest citizens. And there were indeed very wealthy people living in San Francisco. In the late nineteenth century, many of them clustered on Nob Hill, an exclusive neighborhood with breathtaking views. Because the residents were rich, they were called "nobility" or "nabobs", which was eventually shortened to "nob"--hence Nob Hill.

Take Mark Hopkins, for example. He was one of the Big Four who started the Central Pacific Railroad. Here's his home on Nob Hill in the 1880s.

Mark Hopkins Mansion, Nob Hill, San Francisco, 1880's. Survived only 28 years until the 1906 earthquake.
Mark Hopkins mansion, Nob Hill.

It's so grand, I used it as the home of one of my secondary characters, Theodora Humphries. Get a look at the foyer:
Mark Hopkins Mansion, Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA destroyed in San Francisco earthquake 1906
Hopkins mansion, interior
Too bad I didn't set the entire story here, eh? Alas, none of my main characters are as wealthy as Theodora. Or Mr. Hopkins. (Sadly, the house wasn't entirely finished by his death in 1878.)

Mr. Hopkins' next door neighbor, by the way, was Governor Leland Stanford of Stanford University fame. He was also one of the railroad's Big Four.
Mansion of Gov. Leland Stanford, Nob Hill, c. 1890--quite similar to Congressman Blair's house.

It is just the sort of house my hero's father, Congressman Roger Blair, would find worthy of his high position. Here's a view from one of the windows, which was described as "overlooking both the city and the bay."

[p. 55] "View overlooking the city and bay from bath window of Mr. L. house." Eadweard Muybridge - Leland Stanford’s Residence Photograph Album: ca. 1878 :: San Francisco Public Library ...The panoramic views from Stanford’s windows, reveals Muybridge’s intention to document the dwelling from the point of view of its master. The California Street home was destroyed in the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. - See more at: http://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=2000336401#sthash.HuOch7Rg.dpuf

Speaking of the bay, here's a photo of the Golden Gate taken by Ansel Adams in 1933, pre-bridge. Many think the Golden Gate Bridge received its name from its bright orange color, but in truth, it was named for the strait of water beneath it.

Ansel Adams 1933 Photo of Strait before Golden Gate Bridge was built. The Bridge was not named for it's color, but the Golden Gate Strait it traversed.

Unfortunately, every mansion and business on Nob Hill was utterly destroyed by the earthquake and fires of 1906 (except for the granite walls surrounding the homes of the Big Four, including Hopkins and Stanford). The neighborhood maintained (and still maintains) its swanky reputation, but every owner of a great mansion rebuilt elsewhere.

Eadweard Muybridge - Leland Stanford’s Residence Photograph Album: ca. 1878 :: San Francisco Public Library
Stanford's picture gallery. One imagines all these pieces of art were destroyed in 1906. sfpl.org
The InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco Hotel now stands where his mansion had been, and The Stanford Court sits atop the site of his home. Here's the InterContinental today.

July #SanFrancisco Trip Idea via @carryon_travel #travelsocial

There are stories upon stories here, both real and imagined, just one of which is in my novella.

It's also a reminder how few things stay the same over time. We need to appreciate one another and what we've been blessed with now.

Look for The Most Eligible Bachelor on Amazon

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