On this afternoon in San Francisco, on January 9, 1915, Edna Purviance was getting ready to attend the biggest event she ever attended. It was the grand opening of the Exhibition Auditorium at San Francisco Civic Center.
This event was a worldwide event, as over 20,000 people from all over the world came to attend on this one evening. It was the official re-opening of the Civic Center area, since the 1906 earthquake, which destroyed the original Civic Center. And Edna Purviance was one of guest to attend.
At the time, Edna lived with her sister Myrtle Purviance Bell. They lived only a few blocks from the Civic Center. One can just picture Edna getting the final touches ready for the big evening.
During the event, Essanay Studios filmed the early arrivals to the event. By midnight, they returned with a special film to show the audience. Was Edna still there? She could have been, since midnight dances in Lovelock were a fairly common affair, with dances starting as late as 9PM.
This all happened before Edna Purviance ever met Charlie Chaplin.
Edna would go back to work the following Monday, not knowing her life would be changed forever in the coming two weeks.
And Charlie Chaplin? He was in Chicago on the night of January 9th, 1915. He was finishing up his first film and preparing to travel to California in the coming week. But he could have easily read about the opening, in the Chicago newspapers.
Exhibition Hall about the time of the opening