Unofficial Website for Historical Artifacts from the Palace Hotel.

Palace Hotel Timeline: 1882 to 


January 19th, 1883: Eating Soap Grease. There used to be a good story told by the temperance lecturers of a man’s going home very drunk and eating up his wife’s soap grease, not knowing that it was but filthy scraps. That was beaten by the high-toned party that lately met at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco at the invitation of the Oleomargarine, or “Bull Butter” manufacturers. Gov. Stoneman, Ex-candidate for Gov. Estee and all the law makers who could be induced to attend were there. The wily scrap gatherers filled their guests with good drink until they were in the condition of the soap grease eater and then fed them bull butter which the high toned declared good. Great enterprise has the Oleomargarine makers. There are more ways than one to get a certificate.

January 26th, 1883: Fatal Explosion. Giant Powder Works Blown To Atoms. ....The reports were heard all over this city, the fact of the explosion being made known in the Western Addition by the shaking of the houses and the sharp rattling of window sashes. Even the solidly built Palace Hotel was shaken. Accounts vary as to the actual number of reports heard, but those in the immediate vicinity of the powder works at the time of the explosion are positive in the assertion that there swore seven distinct explosions....

January 27th, 1883: G. H. Smith, the popular and gentlemanly manager of the Palace Hotel, S. F., and his family, were guests at the Pacific Ocean House last Sunday.

February 27th, 1883: An Attempt at Suicide. San Francisco, February 26th. A report has been circulated throughout the city and is apparently well authenticated that a sister of ex-Senator William Sharon attempted suicide in a bathroom of the Palace hotel yesterday by cutting herself in the breast with a penknife. The smallness of the weapon prevented deep wounds, but the cuts are so numerous and the loss of blood so great that the lady is in a precarious condition. The act is attributed to insanity. A great effort is being made to hush up the affair.

April 3rd, 1883: Gas Explosion! At the Palace Hotel this Afternoon - Captain White and Engineer Ross Among the Injured - Seven Firemen Reported Hurt. San Francisco, April 3rd, this afternoon at two o'clock a gas explosion occurred in the basement of Palace Hotel, and causing a fire, which, although speedily extinguished by the Fire Department and Patrol, which were promptly on the ground, sent terror throughout the house. The accident occurred in the cellar of the Palace Hotel, and was caused by two gas explosions. Seven firemen are reported injured, but the extent is not yet known. Capt. White, of the Fire Patrol, and Engineer Ross are among the wounded. The greatest excitement prevailed in the hotel, but none of the guests were injured, the damage is reported slight. Chief Engineer Ross eventually died from his injuries. 

The Palace Hotel suffered an explosion and fire that few know about. The cause of the explosion was the breaking in two of an eight-inch gas main, while some plumbers were engaged in connecting a pipe with the fifteen-hundred light gas meter which had just been put in place by the Central Gas Company, without turning off the gas at the main. Whether it was caused by a light taken down by some person, or a plumber's furnace which was filled with live coals in the passage-way a short distance from the vault then ignited, is a matter of great doubt. A volume of flame poured into the street from the place in the sidewalk where light was admitted into the vault through plates of thick glass, which had been shattered to atoms by the explosion. The full article can be read HERE at Guardians of the City, San Franciso Fire Department. 

April 28th, 1883: A resident of the Pajaro Valley, a late convert to oleomargarine, was occupying a bed on the seventh floor of the Palace Hotel, San Francisco, late one cold morning the other week. A porter came along and said, knocking at the chamber door, "Want fire, want fire?" He of the oleomargarine, knowing of the gas explosion that had just occurred in the same building, and thinking that the lower floors of the Palace were in flames, sprang out of bed, threw his garments over his shoulders and rushed downstairs, shrieking at each platform and into every hall, 'Fire, fire!" Finally he was caught, and stopped long enough to have his error pointed out. The simple bull-butter man swears that he will never again be found napping on a seventh floor, and that if a darkey says anything to him about firs he will run a runnet down his throat.

May 4th, 1883: Alexander D. Sharon, of the Palace Hotel, is seriously ill of paralysis. For some time past he has been suffering from acute rheumatism, and on the day of the explosion at the hotel, he dressed himself and went downstairs. The effort caused a relapse, and although he rallied for a time, his malady has assumed the form of slow paralysis of the left side. His mind is affected at times. His illness was brought about by too close attention to business.

May 10th, 1883: Ex-Sheriff of San Francisco John Sedgwick has assumed the management of the Palace Hotel, succeeding A. D. Sharon, who leaves on the account of serious illness.

May 12th, 1883: The Marysville Commandery of Knights Templar have secured, for reception purposes during the Conclave, four rooms at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, at an expense of $60 per day. 

May 23rd, 1883: The jury in the Ross inquest case returned a verdict exonerating the gas company and Palace Hotel from blame for the Palace Hotel gas explosion.

June 14th, 1883: The passengers by the steamship Zealandia invited Captain Webber and his officers to a dinner at the Palace Hotel Tuesday evening. About fifty sat down to a capital dinner provided by the host of the Palace.