Some ideas never die. A recent Facebook campaign is calling for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to be renamed in honor of Joshua Abraham Norton.
Many American numismatists are familiar with the eccentric Emperor Norton of San Francisco. For background, here’s an excerpt from a December 15, 2004 article from the San Francisco Chronicle.
Joshua Abraham Norton -- who, according to his Chronicle obituary, hailed from Scotland -- was a businessman who came to San Francisco by way of South Africa in 1849 to try his luck in the Gold Rush. It is said that he lost his fortune -- and his mental stability -- after making a bum investment in the rice market a few years later.
In 1859, he proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States and, shortly thereafter, the Protector of Mexico. For the next 20 years, he issued proclamations defending minorities and championing civil rights, which were reproduced in local newspapers. He roamed the city accompanied by his dogs, Bummer and Lazarus, and some eateries honored Norton's own specially printed paper money.
In 1872, Norton ordered "a bridge be built from Oakland Point to Goat (Yerba Buena) Island and thence to Telegraph Hill." Though his proclamation received little notice at the time, such a bridge would open in 1936, described by President Herbert Hoover as "the greatest bridge ever erected by the human race."
The article went on to describe a councilman's resolution to rename the bridge. That was ten years ago, but the concept lives on.
I think it's a great one.
Pictured in the Facebook post is one of Norton's hand-signed certificates.
To help carry forward our call for the State of California to name the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge for Emperor Norton, THE EMPEROR'S BRIDGE CAMPAIGN has been laying the groundwork to incorporate as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit membership organization.
EMPEROR NORTON'S BOOZELAND MAKING "CAMPAIGN DONATION" OF $2 A DRINK FROM THURSDAY NIGHT SALES OF DRINKS FEATURING HANDMADE ABSINTHES AND GINS FROM LOCAL RAFF DISTILLERIE
Our fundraiser on Thursday is at Emperor Norton's Boozeland — a longtime friend of the Campaign and the site of our launch party last September.
Amongst the featured liquors at Boozeland are two spirits — Emperor Norton Absinthe Dieu and Bummer & Lazarus Gin — handmade on Treasure Island by another friend of the Campaign, Raff Distillerie.
+ Emperor Norton Absinthe cocktail (simple syrup, water & ice) >>> $10
+ Bummer and Lazarus Gin & Tonic >>> $8
For every one of these you buy on Thursday night, Boozeland will donate $2 to The Emperor's Bridge Campaign.
"The idea of holding a fundraising gala for such a small amount is nicely daft and a neat counterpoint to the big money campaign mixers in political circles."
About 40 people gartered for the event. Which rasied far more than the $50 needed.
To read the complete Facebook page, see:
RAISING THE FINAL 50 | An Emperor's Bridge Campaign Mixer
Wayne Homren, Editor
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