The Tip Post

Chapter 5: Highlights of the Hartman collection

And not statehood, which arrived in ’49 and brought with it the complications of new police and new politicians (though enough with the same old appetites), nor Civil War just over ten years later, nor Nigel’s slide into neglectful sloth and ultimately senescence, could deter the Tip from becoming engorged nightly with eager guests, guests from up and down California, from Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming — one even from as far away as Illinois. The Tip’s hotel registry, impeccably preserved in Princeton’s Hartman Collection, actually records a visit from an “A. Lincoln of Springfield,” seeming to confirm recent speculation that when the then-Senator talks in his letters about sleeping with male friends, he isn’t just talking about trying to stay warm.

Whatever the case with President Lincoln, at the height of its late-nineteenth-century glory, the Tip had become the inescapable place to go for the nocturnal San Franciscan, gay, straight or otherwise, with more than a passing interest in laughter, liquor or loose morals. At the height of its glory, the Tip was the irrefutable tip-top of nightlife in the City by the Bay, if not in the entire 32 states.

No, what toppled the Tip was the trolley.

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