The Tip Post

Chapter 2: La Punta and the Curyous ailment

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Curiously, it was the would-be assassin who immediately assumed ownership of the Plumpot-Brambley residence, at the intersection of San Ignacio di la Sangre Alley and San Somme Street, suggesting that it was the blacksmith himself who tipped the Governor to the plot against his bastard daughter. In any case, the lucky smithy, a Russian by the name of Leonid Davidovich Ivanovich, turned the residence into a rooming house, restaurant and publick house, which he dubbed the Dom Pribaltiskaya, but which instantly became known among local wags as “La Punta.”

Or “The Typ.”

Three times over the next 21 years the Pribaltiskaya burned down — twice as a result of the carelessness of Ivanovich, who, when the pub business didn’t quite take off financially, had installed his blacksmithing business in an adjoining wooden shed. The third conflagration, which consumed the Russian himself, occurred during the “Panick of 1807,” when citizen vigilantes, armed with torches, decided that Ivanovich’s now-infamous rooming house, a known place of prostitution, was responsible for the spread of the Black Plague.

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The Black Plague of San Francisco, of course, turned out to be a tragic misdiagnosis, a mass hysteria entirely a function of the poor hygiene of 19th century residents, who failed to understand that the dark, greasy spots that arose on their exposed arms and faces were actually deposits of carbonized animal fat settling over their community from the smoke-belching tanneries of Castro Street (then known as “Leathertowne”). Mistaking these for symptoms of Plague — while, conveniently enough, nursing a deep-seated suspicion of Russians — the crowd’s attack on Ivanovich was almost pre-ordained.

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