Maguire’s Opera House, exhibited through the courtesy of the California Historical Society, FN-16862.  Thousands of miles away from Charles Dickens’s London and a continent away from Boston (a leading cultural center of America), San Francisco was nonetheless the cultural center of the West Coast.  At the center of San Francisco’s cultural center were Tom Maguire and his opera house.  Maguire was illiterate and a gambler, but also a shrewd impresario and promoter.  He billed top attractions into his opera house and later into Baldwin’s Theater, where he served as manager.