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Gilded Age
For San Francisco, a dress becomes a reminder of survival
For San Francisco, a dress becomes a reminder of survival

SAN FRANCISCO — For decades, the pre-dawn commemoration of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 has featured dwindling survivors lined up on a stage at Lotta's Fountain, where those displaced by the April 18 temblor and fire once left messages for loved ones. On the 80th anniversary, more than 300 honorees turned out, among them three of the Downey brothers — Irish one-time pugilists in derby hats — and Cyril Magnin, who survived the disaster as a boy of 6 and came to head a multimillion-dollar chain of upscale women's clothing stores. The late Herb Caen in his San Francisco Chronicle column called it "a convocation of ghosts" and worried that...

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