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Photograph of Lotta Crabtree
Charlotte Mignon “Lotta” Crabtree

Her father, John Crabtree, came from New York seeking gold, sent for his family in 1853, and moved to Grass Valley. A few doors away lived Lola Montez, the Countess Landsfeldt, who began to teach young Lotta to sing and dance.

The Crabtree family moved to San Francisco in 1856, when she was nine, and by 12 she was known as “Miss Lotta, the San Francisco Favorite.”

She clearly invested her earnings, and at age 22 purchased San Francisco real estate to begin a fortune valued at $4,000,000 at the time of her death in 1924.

Charles D. Carter’s Real Estate Circular for September 1869 noted:
Sale to Lotta, the Actress.

Miss Lotta Crabtree, before leaving California, purchased a lot, 50x137 1/2 on the south side of Turk street, 87 1/2 feet east of Hyde, paying therefor $7,000. We believe that this sum was a portion of the receipts from her late short and successful engagement at one of our theatres.

The California Historical Society holds the Abstract of Title for a parcel of property Lotta owned at Fair Oaks and 22nd streets in 1885.

In 1875, Lotta gave “Lotta’s Fountain,” at Market and Kearny streets, to the people of San Francisco.

She retired from the stage in 1892, at 45, but made one last San Francisco appearance at “Lotta Crabtree Day” at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915.

Lotta Crabtree never married, and died in 1924 at her New York home.
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