Carol Doda. (via Wikipedia)

#TBT: Scandalous Moments and People in San Francisco History


For this week's installment of #TBT, we focus on some of the obscure, shady, and downright criminal goings-on of the San Francisco yesteryear.

The Barbary Coast, for instance, was full of vice. Bootlegging and gambling were commonplace in speakeasies during Prohibition, and a slew of shocking crimes—before and since—have made spines tingle all across America.

5. The Great Diamond Hoax of 1872

via Fishwrap/

Swindles seemed to be commonplace in the early years of San Francisco. The Great Diamond Hoax of 1872 involved two cousins, prospectors John Slack and Philip Arnold. The pair got prominent San Franciscans and New Yorkers to invest in a mine in Colorado that they had salted with diamonds they procured elsewhere. By the time the scam was unearthed, the pair had already made off with about $600,000 (around $10.5 million today).

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