The Eastern Approach to the Imperial Palace
From late 1862 or early 1863 until his death in January 1880, Emperor Norton lived at the Eureka Lodgings, a 50-cent-per-night boarding house on the north side of Commercial Street, mid-block between Montgomery Street on the east end and Kearny Street on the west.
Today, the former site of the Eureka is occupied by the little urban oasis of Empire Park. A little more than a year ago, the fraternity known as the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus dedicated a lovely granite plaque in the park that tells the story of Emperor Norton's connection to the site.
For most of the time that the Emperor lived on Commercial Street, the Eureka's next-door neighbor was the Morning Call, the newspaper where Samuel Clemens — soon to become famous as Mark Twain — had a third-floor desk in the summer of 1864.
This past week, we discovered these two photographs that show the western side of Montgomery Street between Commercial and Clay — Clay is the next east-west street to the north of Commercial — with new glimpses of the Montgomery end of Commercial in 1865 and 1866, just a couple of years after Emperor Norton moved in.
The Emperor would have been very familiar with these views.
Sam Clemens would, too.
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