Vido Opusich was born in Grad Dubrovnik, Dubrovačko-neretvanska, Croatia on January 9, 1881.
Opusich immigrated to America at age 14, exactly five years before he shot and killed Napoleon. At the time of the murder, he was employed by a Sansome street commission house as a fruit packer and living in the Colombo Hotel, on Broadway.
In the early evening of June 10, 1900, a 19-year-old Croatian immigrant named Vido Opusich was on a mission. He was searching the streets of San Francisco for John Petrovich.
Petrovich was a 45-year-old waiter, commonly known by his nickname, Napoleon. He worked at a coffee house on the corner of Sacramento and Leidesdorff streets. At last Opusich found him at The Dalmatia, a saloon at the corner of Stockton and Pacific streets. The waiter was slightly drunk when Opusich entered the saloon and spotted him standing beside the bar.
Witnesses told police Opusich approached Napoleon, snarling something in a foreign tongue. The waiter jumped and immediately moved toward the street but Opusich pulled a revolver from his pocket and shot him. The bullet passed through Napoleon’s hat and lodged at the base of his brain. But he did not collapse. Instead, he staggered out of the saloon and into the street. Opusich followed him, firing three more shots.
In my recent foray into the federal archives, I began to notice that the reference info on many of the most interesting photos indicated they came from San Francisco. Many of these San Francisco images were tagged “glamour photographs”: an irresistible combination!
I’m excited to share my findings here, but first I need to issue a warning that you may need to adjust your ideas around what glamour is. In some cases, what qualified as glamorous and exciting in 1900, may not be enough to land you in the next issue of Vogue in 2019. Also, Victorian San Francisco was a little less sensitive to language, as evidenced by some of the photograph titles.