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Powering the Dream by Alexis Madrigal

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chapter 8
Wave Motors and Airplanes
A YOUNG MAN WITH ARTISTIC aspirations could not have resisted the crowds of Market Street on a Saturday night. Nothing was more San Francisco than the street that cut through its heart. Like a weekly fair, all classes of society and the many flags of a port town mixed on the promenade from Powell to Kearny. “Everybody, anybody, left home and shop, hotel, restaurant, and beer garden to empty into Market Street in a river of color,” wrote one young woman of the time.1
Among the throngs of sailors and servants, we could almost certainly have found a young Jewish kid with an overbearing father and a canted, humane take on human foibles. Long after the 1890s and far away from the city by the bay, he would make ...

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