< BARTENDER'S TALES / GIVE ME VESUVIUS!
On the morning of April 18, 1906, at 5:12 a.m., a massive earthquake magnitude 7.8. on the Richter scale shook San Francisco. Though the quake lasted less than a minute, its immediate impact was disastrous. The earthquake also ignited several fires around the city that burned for three days and destroyed nearly 500 city blocks.
On the evening before the earthquake struck, Italian opera star Enrico Caruso was performing the role of Don José in Bizet’s opera Carmen and was staying at the Palace Hotel.
The urban legend has it that when earthquake struck, he ran from the hotel in his nightshirt and an autographed photograph of President Theodore Roosevelt under one arm. Famous tenor was heard saying, "Give me Vesuvius! San Francisco is an 'ell of a place!" He vowed never to return to San Francisco, and he never did!.