AN EMPIRE DAY "DOUBLE BILL": Field Talk + Celebration
On the morning of 17 September 1859, Joshua Norton walked into the upstairs office at 517 Clay Street — between Montgomery and Sansome — and handed George Fitch, editor of the San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, a proclamation declaring himself "Emperor of these United States." Fitch printed the proclamation in that evening's edition.
With this single act, Norton founded a borderless Empire of the heart that continues to the present and into the future.
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Last year, on 17 September, The Emperor's Bridge Campaign launched a new holiday to celebrate the occasion.
We called it Empire Day.
This year, we're marking the occasion with a "double bill" of events on Saturday 17 September: an onsite Field Talk at 3 p.m. followed by a nearby brief Empire Day celebration at 4:30.
We hope you'll join us for both events.
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First, the Field Talk.
In early 1863, Emperor Norton moved in to the Eureka Lodgings, a boarding house on Commercial Street between Montgomery and Kearny. Due to the longevity of the Emperor's tenure at the Eureka — he lived here for seventeen years, until his death in 1880 — more than a quarter of his life — the Eureka often is recognized as his "imperial palace."
But — both before and after declaring himself Emperor — Joshua Norton had lived in several other places in the thirteen years since arriving in San Francisco in late 1849.
One location in particular — the southwest corner of Sansome and Bush Streets — is the former site of two hotels where Norton lived: one, from 1851 to 1853; the other, from 1861 to 1863.
The circumstances of the hotels — the first was one of the finest in the city; the second was a once-grand establishment gone to seed — mirrored Norton's own "decline."
We'll visit this site and explore the stories of this and other places where Joshua Norton lived and worked from his arrival in San Francisco until the earliest years of his reign.
Field Talk #2
BEFORE THE PALACE
Norton's Habitats, 1849-1863
Saturday 17 September from 3 to 4 p.m.
Gather at southeast corner of Sansome & Bush Streets
Free to Emissaries of the Empire
(Join online or on the day.)
All others: $10 online or on the day. *
No paper tickets.
This Field Talk will include a handout of archival photographs and drawings of a selection of the sites and buildings we'll be discussing.
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Following the Field Talk, we'll take a short walk up to Clay Street, where we'll gather for a brief celebration directly across the street from the site where Joshua Norton declared himself Emperor on 17 September 1859.
By all means, even if you're unable to make it to the Field Talk at 3, join us for...
Welcoming the 158th Year of the Nortonian Realm
Saturday 17 September from 4:30 to 5 p.m.
Gather on the sidewalk adjacent to Redwood Park
Clay Street, between Montgomery & Sansome
Like the Empire itself, this event is free and open to all.
Following the celebration, we'll make our way Comstock Saloon, where — in the shadow of the sculpture of Emperor Norton that presides over the main bar — we'll raise a glass to the Emperor and his Empire.
Please come — and bring all of your Emperor-saluting friends!
* As always, no one will be turned away for financial reasons. And, for those paying or joining online: We respect privacy. The Emperor's Bridge Campaign will never share or sell personal information that you provide to us.
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