Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge

I went down to the San Francisco waterfront yesterday to see the USS Iowa en route to her new home in Southern California, and there's no better place to view the Golden Gate than from the barbette tier of the Civil War-era Fort Point.

At a time when destroying historic sites in the name of progress (1930s) did not raise many eyebrows or howls of protest, Golden Gate Bridge Chief Engineer Joseph Straussto his everlasting creditsaved the old fort by incorporating a massive arch near the bridge's southern anchorage.

Happy 75th Birthday to the Golden Gate Bridge!
Under the arch
1870 view of Fort Point

USS Iowa passing through the Golden Gate, May 26, 2012
The USS Iowa seen from one of Ft. Point's embrasures

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Battle of Santa Clara

I had occasion to drive along historic El Camino Real in Santa Clara on Friday, weighing a vast array of yummy ethnic lunch options in mile after mile of unsightly strip malls (I settled for some Afghan kabobs). While there, I made time to revisit an old battlefield marker that ranks among my favorites of those installed by The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus.

It's a little hard to read in the mottled sunlight, so I've provided a transcript:
Battle of
Santa Clara

On January 2, 1847, somewhere
hereabouts was fought the last
northern battle of the Mexican War.
The official casualty report: "Dead:
none, wounded: none, missing but one on
the American side and he came up
shortly afterwards stating that he
had been searching for his ramrod
which in the excitement, he had
forgotten to draw from from his gun and fired
at the enemy."

Dedicated October 14, 1978,
Mountain Charlie Chapter No. 1850
E Clampus Vitus

"Right Wrongs Nobody"

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Scuffle at California and Montgomery

I found these intriguing photos at the FoundSF wiki site, and have spent quite a lot of time since then looking for reference to these events in the San Francisco Call and other period newspapers. So far, though there's quite a lot of ink given over to local Independence Day celebrations, and daily reports of the war, I've not seen anything yet on this reported "scuffle" between pro-Union and pro-Confederate citizens. I'll keep you posted as things develop.

A scuffle between pro-Union and pro-Confederacy supporters at California and Montgomery on July 4, 1862. Nob Hill rises in background in the pre-cable car era.
Greg Gaar Collection, San Francisco, CA
Looking up California today, through the intersection with Montgomery, in San Francisco's Financial District.

Pro-Union meeting, July 4, 1861, corner of Montgomery, Post, and Market Streets. Photo: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
The corner of Market, Montgomery, and Post today.
A rare photographic image of a nineteenth-century urban riot in progress. Sacramento Street east of Montgomery during the course of the disturbance, showing police lined up to thwart the intentions of those bent on destroying a "secesh" newspaper. Charles and Michael De Young apparently scooped up printing and typesetting equipment left in the streets in the wake of riots against Confederate-sympathizing newspapers after Lincoln's assassination, which they used to launch their newspaper The Daily Dramatic Chronicle.
Photo: Lincoln Museum, Ft. Wayne, Indiana

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