Join The Emperor’s Bridge Campaign and the Comstock Saloon in our celebration of Empire Day — the anniversary of Joshua Norton’s public declaration of himself as Emperor on 17 September 1859.Read More
Filtering by Category: Tributes
On the eve of a crowdfunding campaign in support of its project to produce a compilation album of “Emperor songs” — songs about, or in some way inspired by, Emperor Norton — the Campaign has received a pledge of $3,000 for the project — which represents one-half of the projected $6,000 needed to pay for all costs associated with producing and distributing the album, including engineering, design, vinyl pressing, shipping materials and postage.Read More
In spring 1961, two establishments opened in San Francisco.
One was a hotel bar on Geary Street. The other was a lunch spot and cocktail lounge on Maiden Lane.
Both were less than two blocks from Union Square.
One was created by a designer who went on to be celebrated in the pages of the Architectural Digest. It had an "Emperor Norton" doorman. And, per Herb Caen, it once was host to Jack Dempsey and Lefty O'Doul — sharing a bowl of peanuts on the same night.
The other was home to a new portrait of the Emperor commissioned by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Both were called the Emperor Norton Room.
Here’s the intriguing story of two Nortonian stars that briefly rose and just as quickly fell in the same San Francisco season.Read More
In February 2015, The Emperor’s Bridge Campaign inaugurated the modern tradition of celebrating Emperor Norton’s historical birth date with a 197th birthday party where we presented our research establishing 4 February 1818 as the Emperor’s date of birth.
We’ve been celebrating the Emperor’s birthday on February 4th ever since — including last year, when we led San Francisco in commemorating the Emperor’s 200th.
So, join the Campaign at the Comstock Saloon this coming February 4th to celebrate the Emperor’s 201st birthday…on his birthday!Read More
The annual holiday party of The Emperor's Bridge Campaign celebrates the legend that it was Emperor Norton who originally called for the raising of a great tree in Union Square every Yuletide season. By tradition, the celebration takes place on the second Sunday of December in the mezzanine of the historic House of Shields bar in San Francisco, where we'll gather for the sixth time on Sunday 9 December from 4 to 6 p.m.Read More
A well-known and fondly regarded Emperor Norton plaque created in 1939 most recently was installed at San Francisco’s old Transbay Terminal for 34 years — from November 1986 until the terminal was prepared for demolition in late 2010.
The weathered bronze plaque has been out of the public view for the last 8 years. But, recently, the plaque was lovingly restored — and plans are moving forward to reinstall the plaque at the new Transbay Transit Center.
Read on for a photograph of the plaque as most have never seen it — and for details on the location now being eyed for this rare and wonderful tribute to the Emperor.
Herb Caen's "Norton Bridge" Campaign of 1947 (And the 1960 Letter from Berkeley That Watered the Seed)
Did you know that the longstanding call to name the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after Emperor Norton traces part of its pedigree to legendary San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen?
Exactly 70 years ago — in what may be some of the earliest published statements of the idea that a San Francisco Bay-spanning bridge should bear the name of the Emperor — Caen, with some persistence, called for a planned "second Bay Bridge" to be named the "Norton Bridge."Read More
The annual holiday party of The Emperor's Bridge Campaign celebrates the legend that it was Emperor Norton who originally called for the raising of a great tree in Union Square every Yuletide season. By tradition, the celebration takes place on the second Sunday of December in the mezzanine of the historic House of Shields bar in San Francisco, where we'll gather for the fifth time on Sunday 10 December from 4 to 6 p.m.
To join us for a Procession to the Toast — led by Emperor Norton, as played by our friend, Joseph Amster — come to Union Square and gather at the foot of the tree at 3:30 p.m.Read More
In 2015, The Emperor's Bridge Campaign launched a new holiday to commemorate the date — 17 September 1859 — when Joshua Norton declared himself and his Empire. We called it Empire Day.
Little known and appreciated is that, for many years — as part of his imperial rounds — Emperor Norton hopped the ferry every week and visited Oakland.
So, this coming September 17th — the third Empire Day— we celebrate with a Sunday afternoon ferry ride and family-friendly outing to the city that anchors the eastern end of the Emperor Norton Bridge.
The Emperor rode for free. So...
Round-trip ferry tickets are free to Emissaries of the Empire a.k.a. members of the Campaign.
Is your Emissary card up-to-date?Read More
Tonight, the Emperor's Bridge Campaign is throwing the Emperor a party. A link to details and a comic from the annals of imperial confectionery humor, on the flip.Read More
Join The Emperor's Bridge Campaign in celebration of Emperor Norton's 199th birthday on 4 February 2017.Read More
For Emperor Norton Day 2017, a look at how — in both art and prose — the San Francisco Illustrated Wasp paid tribute to the Emperor on 17 January 1880, nine days after his death.Read More
The annual holiday party of The Emperor's Bridge Campaign celebrates the legend that it was Emperor Norton who originally called for the raising of a great tree in Union Square every Yuletide season. By tradition, the celebration takes place on the second Sunday of December in the mezzanine of the historic House of Shields bar in San Francisco, where we'll gather for the fourth time on Sunday 11 December from 4 to 6 p.m.Read More
In 1918, author and literary anthologist Ella Sterling Cummins Mighels (1853-1934) recalled her childhood memory of Emperor Norton and recounted the special Decoration Day tribute that was repaid him five years earlier.Read More
On Saturday 12 November 2016, the Emperor Norton Bridge a.k.a. the Bay Bridge turns 80.
Please join The Emperor's Bridge Campaign for a celebration to wish the Emperor's bridge a happy birthday and to show your support for naming the bridge for Emperor Norton in 2022 — the 150th anniversary of the Emperor's proclamations in 1872 setting out the original vision for the bridge.Read More
There is a proposal afoot to name the Sharon Meadow, in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, for the late comedian and actor Robin Williams. The rationale being used strengthens the case for naming the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge for Emperor Norton.Read More
In 1959, "the Society of California Pioneers in cooperation with the San Francisco Chronicle" proposed an Emperor Norton memorial plaque at the intersection of California Street and Grant Avenue — where the Emperor collapsed and died on 8 January 1880. A design for the plaque was created by Hubert Buel, the Chronicle's art director. Indeed, the design and text for the plaque were approved by resolution of the San Francisco Arts Commission on 1 June 1959.
And yet, today, there is no Emperor Norton plaque at California and Grant. In fact, it appears that the project never made it before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors — which typically would have to have given final approval for a project like this in order for it to move forward.
How did an Emperor Norton plaque with the collaborative backing of two storied institutions like the Society of California Pioneers and the San Francisco Chronicle get pushed off the tracks — and who did the job?Read More
Today, in celebration of his 90th birthday, Tony Bennett was on hand in San Francisco to receive a well-deserved tribute: the unveiling of a larger-than-life statue of him in front of the Fairmont Hotel, where he made his San Francisco debut in 1954 — and where he introduced his immortal signature song, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," in 1961.
Bennett was given the tribute because — although he wasn't born in San Francisco, and although he never lived here — he was a true San Franciscan.
Emperor Norton is another gentleman who — like Tony Bennett — became a true San Franciscan by loving the city and being loved in return.
It is long past time for Emperor Norton to be honored with a tribute that rises to the level. A tribute that recognizes the Emperor for setting out the original vision for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and for being one of the earliest champions of the values of openness, tolerance, fair play and the common good that came to be identified with San Francisco, Oakland and the Bay Area — and that celebrates him for doing all of this with the whimsical and irrepressible style that is the hallmark of his adopted city.Read More
This year, we're marking Empire Day 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.Read More
Today, The Emperor's Bridge Campaign launches ARENA: Archive of Emperor Norton in Art, Music & Film. ARENA seeks to be a comprehensive, authoritative, searchable digital archive of representations and interpretations of Emperor Norton in the visual arts, in music and in film — the mediums that are most readily presented online. The Archive includes "renderings" of Emperor Norton from the early 1860s to the present.Read More