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Edmund Frederick Erk.

A merry crusade to the Golden Gate : under the banners of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar, Allegheny, Pa. : a complete story of the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave, Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, U.S.A. ... and a tour of ten thousand miles through the wonderland of the West online

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Online LibraryEdmund Frederick ErkA merry crusade to the Golden Gate : under the banners of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar, Allegheny, Pa. : a complete story of the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave, Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, U.S.A. ... and a tour of ten thousand miles through the wonderland of the West → online text (page 20 of 38)
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A MERRY CRUSADE TO THE GOLDEN GATE 161

NEW YORK Grand Commandery. Apollo Commandery No.
15, Troy. Malta Commandery No. 21, Binghamton, E. Sir Arthur
W. T. Black, Commander. Central City Commandery No. 25, Syra-
cuse.

NORTH CAROLINA Grand Commandery.

NORTH DAKOTA Grand Commandery.

OHIO Grand Commandery. Cincinnati Commandery No. 3,
Cincinnati, E. Sir A. S. Brown, Commander. Reed Commandery No.
6, Dayton. Oriental Commandery No. 12, Cleveland, E. Sir R. D.
Morgan, Commander. Hansellman Commandery No. 16, Cincinnati,

E. Sir William J. Graf, Commander. Garfield Commandery No. 28,
Washington Court House. Palestine Commandery No. 33, Spring-
field, E. Sir John B. McGrew, Commander. Marietta Commandery
No. 50, Marietta.

OREGON Grand Commandery. Oregon Commandery No. 1,
Portland, E. Sir Henry Roe, Commander. Malta Commandery No. 4,
Ashland. Pendleton Commandery No. 7, Pendleton. Melita Com-
mandery No. 8, Grants Pass, E. Sir W. H. Hampton, Commander.

PENNSYLVANIA Grand Commandery. Pittsburgh Com-
mandery No. 1, Pittsburgh, E. Sir Edward Lewis, Commander. Alle-
gheny Commandery No. 35, Allegheny, E. Sir Lawrence Kalmeyer,
Commander. Tancred Commandery No. 48, Pittsburgh, E. Sir Win-
field S. Bell, Commander. De Molay Commandery No. 9, Reading.
Pilgrim Commandery No. 11, Harrisburg, E. Sir Lewis Beitler, Com-
mander. Towanda Commandery No. 16, Towanda, E. Sir Ed. Carter,
Jr., Commander. Coeur de Lion Commandery No. 17, Scranton. Al-
len Commandery No. 20, Allentown, E. Sir W. H. Rontzheimer, Com-
mander. Baldwin Commandery No. 22, Philadelphia, E. Sir Albert

F. Young, Commander. Kodosh Commandery No. 29, Philadelphia,
E. Sir George W. Loudenslager, Commander. Mary Commandery
No. 36, Philadelphia, E. Sir Davis W. Stewart, Commander. Reading
Commandery No. 42, Reading, E. Sir John M. Goas, Commander.
Corinthian Chasseur Commandery No. 53, Philadelphia, Sir Knight
John C. Taylor, Generalissimo. Melita Commandery No. 68, Scranton.
Mount Vernon Commandery No. 73, Hazelton, E. Sir William Glover,
Jr., Commander. Golden Gate Club, E. Sir J. H. Murray in charge.
Reading Club.

RHODE ISLAND Grand Commandery of Massachusetts and
Rhode Island. See Massachusetts. St. Johns Commandery No. 1,
Providence. Holy Sepulchre Commandery No. 8, Pawtucket, E. Sir
William W. Curtis, Commander. Calvary Commandery No. 13,
Providence, E. Sir Chas. C. Darling, Commander.
(H)



162 A MERRY CRUSADE TO THE GOLDEN GATE

SOUTH CAROLINA South Carolina Commandery No. 1,
Charleston, E. Sir James R. Johnson, Acting Commander.

SOUTH DAKOTA Grand Commandery.

TENNESSEE Grand Commandery, R. E. Sir A. N. Sloan,
Grand Commander.

TEXAS Grand Commandery. Texas Delegation, San Antonio.

UTAH Utah Commandery No. 1, Salt Lake City. El Monte
Commandery No. 2, Ogden, E. Sir Jacob H. Epperson, Commander.

VERMONT Grand Commandery. Vermont Frisco Club, White
River Junction.

WEST VIRGINIA Grand Commandery, R. E. Sir W. M. Van
Winkle, Commander.

WASHINGTON Grand Commandery. Seattle Delegation,
Seattle. Whatcom Delegation, Whatcom.

WISCONSIN Grand Commandery. Ivanhoe Commandery No.
24, Milwaukee, E. Sir Sam W. French, Commander.

WYOMING Grand Commandery.

ENGLA-ND AND WALES Great Priory, The Right Honor-
able, The Earl of Euston, G. C. T., 33 degree Most Eminent and Su-
preme Grand Master, and official staff.

CANADA Great Priory. Victoria Delegation, Victoria, B. C.
Vancouver Delegation, Vancouver, B. C.

Aside from the above mentioned, may other Commanderies were
represented. They came as delegations, which represented a number
of Commanderies in the same home district.

Many of our pilgrims spent the morning in continuing their sight-
seeing expeditions. The Presidio was a point that attracted many.
It is the headquarters of the Department of California, and covers a
stretch of 1,500 acres overlooking San Francisco Bay. Battalion
drills of soldiery take place every day and the spot is one of unusual
beauty and interest.

Walter and Ivor, though still enjoying the luxury of bachelor-
hood, are noted for their appreciation of all that is sweet in this life,
and with this reputation established, we were not surprised to find
them in charge of a confectionery store opposite the hotel. The store
could be viewed both within and without from the hotel windows,
and this soon revealed to us that two unprotected young women were
compelled to toil laboriously behind the counters, serving confections
to the demands of the public. Walter and Ivor, gallant to a fault,
could not long suffer to see these two young women overwork them-
selves, so they rushed to their assistance. Some unsympathetic per-
sons have said that they were attracted by sweets not embodied in the



A MERRY CRUSADE TO THE GOLDEN GATE 163

candies, but be that as it may, they proved themselves silent heroes
to the cause of honest working girls, and when the true history of
San Francisco is again written, it will remain incomplete unless it
gives proper space and position to the noble efforts of these two
sympathetic gentlemen behind the counters of that confectionery
store.

The Navy Department ordered all Government ships of the
Pacific squadron stationed in the harbor of San Francisco to remain
there during Conclave week for the benefit of the visiting Sir Knights
and their families. The United States flagship New York was anchor-
ed off the foot of Clay street; her boats landing at Clay street wharf.
Both the United States steamship Pennington and the United States
steamship Marblehead were anchored in the stream opposite Mission
street wharf. The torpedo boats were ordered from Benicia Bay to
the Bay of San Francisco, to remain there during Conclave week.
These boats were open for inspection to visitors. During the morn-
ing we had been invited to visit the United States Flagship New
York, which was lying in the bay. Several Sir Knights and their
ladies took advantage of the kind offer, and steaming out into the bay,
boarded the famous ship. The natty sailors, the wonderful mechan-
isms of warfare, the powerful guns which Uncle Sam knows so well
how to use, and the many other interesting things aboard the monster
fighting machine, were startling and most interesting revelations.

The afternoon was one of ceaseless activity. Sir Knights and
their ladies were coming and going in endless procession from and to
every point of the compass. San Francisco is essentially a tourist's
Mecca. A pleasure loving people possessed the city, and being the
gateway to the Orient, there is probably no other city in America
whose streets are filled with such a mixture of races and nationalities.
Then, because of its adjacent military posts and naval rendezvous,
glittering uniforms of foreign officials and the simpler dress of Amer-
ican soldiers and sailors were everywhere apparent. These uniforms
and international and Oriental costumes, aided by the brilliant Knight
Templar regalia and the splendid decorations, gave a brilliancy to the
street scenes that was beyond description.

With San Francisco as a starting point, days and weeks could be
spent in pleasant excursions. A sail on the bay or a visit to Oakland,
the favorite home city, which has a population of 95,000. The city
is named from the numerous live-oaks growing in its gardens and
along the streets. It has extensive manufactures and a magnificent
view over the expansive bay and city of San Francisco and the dis-
tant Golden Gate. In the Oakland suburbs is Berkeley, and against
the shoulder of the hills which mark its boundary, may be seen the



buildings of the great State University, the "Athens" of the Pacific;
the attractive grounds cover 250 acres and the endowment exceeds
$8,000,000. Across San Antonio estuary, (which the work of the
Federal Government has converted into Oakland Harbor) the city of
Alameda peeps from its clustered oaks, and through the beautiful
Piedmont hills to Oakland are the sister cities of San Leandro and
Haywards. An ascent up Mt. Tamalpais via the "crookedest rail-
road in the world" which parallels itself five times within 300 feet,
is a trip of scenic wealth.

Those who visited Fort Mason, the headquarters of Major Gen-
eral Arthur McArthur, found handsome grounds and an excellent
view of the bay. Fisherman's Wharf, located at the top of an im-
mense sea-wall, disclosed hundreds of Italian fishermen mooring
their picturesque lateen-sailed boats. The whole waterfront offered
romantically interesting sights. Schooners discharging pine from
Puget Sound ; steamers unloading cargos from Liverpool, from
Panama, from South America, from Australia, and others from China
and Japan, seemed to have secrets to disclose and tales of interest to
relate. White transports tell of the Phillipines, while steamers just
in from the frigid shores of Alaska also find place in this international
navy.

The spirit of roving and adventure pervades the scene at the
waterfront. Here one may observe the big four-masters, laden with
wheat, brought around Cape Horn. A rakish brig unloads a cargo
of copra and sandalwood, which tells of the scented groves of south
Pacific islands. Over yonder are big bunkers, with sooty workmen
and busy engines, straining at coal buckets. Japanese, Chinese and
Koreans mingle with the throng.

When evening comes on, the deep sea-chants rise above the city's
roar as anchors are lifted. One then keenly feels the call of the sea.
The genius of Stevenson has woven a halo of romance over these
semi-tropical seas that woos the traveler with well-nigh irresistible
charm. As you look westward out of the nation's front door from
the Cliff House headland height, it would be strange, indeed, if you
were not seized with a longing to set sail.

Where will you go?

To Hawaii? Magical isles, wreathed in flowers and laved by
flashing summer seas ; land of banana plantations, cane and rice fields ;
land of roaring volcanoes and verdant plains.

To Samoa? Coral shores under the stars and stripes; happy
natives, cocoanut palms and delicious tropical fruit, transparent seas
and beautiful shells.

To Tahiti? Riotous vegetation, the supple bamboo, broad-leafed




SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA.



A MERRY CRUSADE TO THE GOLDEN GATE 165

banana and lance-leafed mango ; an out-of-doors country, where houses
are used only to sleep in.

To New Zealand? Newest England, as it has been fittingly
called; half around the world, but nearer than many have
thought ; the famous west coast sounds, rivaling the fiords of Norway.

To Australia? A partly explored continent of vast and varied
resources ; wonderful cities, strange races, and strange flora and fauna,
kangaroos and paroquets, cockatoos and pouched bears.

Which one, or all of them?

The bay of San Francisco is almost completely encircled by land.
The Golden Gate is the tide-way, a narrow passage between the ex-
tremities of two peninsulas, upon the point of the southernmost of
which the city stands.

Few bays are more picturesque, none better suited to the purpose
of commerce. Crossing on the fine Santa Fe ferry boat and leaving
the dock at Point Richmond, San Francisco Bay proper extends far
beyond the limits of vision southward. To the north are other por-
tions of the same bay, though carrying distinctive names. At the
head of San Pablo Bay is Mare Island, with "Uncle Sam's" big navy
yards. Mount Diablo seems to rise close upon the Suisun shore.

Here, too, the Franciscan mission-builders were first upon the
field, and the present name is a curtailment of Mission de los Dolores
de Nuestro Padre San Francisco de Asis, an appellation commemora-
tive of the sorrows of the originator of the order. The Mission
Dolores, founded in 1776, is still preserved with its little campo santo
of the dead, a poor, unsightly, strangled thing, structurally unimpos-
ing and wholly wanting in the poetic atmosphere of semi-solitude
that envelops the missions of Southern California. A modern cathe-
dral overshadows it, and shops and dwellings jostle it. So nearly, in
forty years, has all trace of the preceding three-quarters of a century
been obliterated. Changed from a Spanish to a Mexican province early
in the century, then promptly stripped of the treasures that had been
accumulated by monkish administration, and subsequently ceded to
the United States, California had on the whole a dreamy, quiet life
until that famous nugget was found in 1848. Then followed the era
of the Argonauts, seekers of the golden fleece, who flocked by the
thousands from eastern towns and cities by way of the plains, the
Isthmus and the Cape, to dig in the gravel-beds ; lawless adventurers
in their train ; while the peculiar character of the population made it
then so lawless, that twice the better element had to take summary
control of the municipal government by "Vigilance Committees," who
did not hesitate to execute promptly notorious criminals. San Fran-
cisco practically dates from that period. Its story is a wild one, a



166 A MERRY CRUSADE TO THE GOLDEN GATE

working-out of order and stable commercial prosperity through
chapters that treat of feverish gold-crazy mobs, of rapine grappled
by the vigilance committee, of insurrection crushed by military force.
And in this prosperity, oddly enough, the production of gold has been
superseded in importance by other resources ; for although California
annually yields more precious metal than any other state, the yearly
value of its marketed cattle, wool, cereals, roots, fruits, sugar and
wines, is twice as great, and forms the real commercial basis of the
great city of the Pacific coast.

As if it were fearful of being hid, it is set upon not one, but a
score of hills, of which a group extends westward from the bay, vary-
ing in height from less than 200 to over 900 feet. Conspicuous among
them are the Telegraph Hill, Nob Hill, Park Peak, the Mission Peaks
and others overlooking land and sea. As you near the city by way
of Point Richmond, you will be dull, indeed, if your pulses are not
stirred in anticipation of viewing one of the really great cities of the
world.

When the first burst of delight at the wondrous panorama had
settled into a calmer satisfaction, we began to pick out and inquire
concerning the various points of interest. Off to the right, which is
here the west, is a lofty red island, and beyond, on the shore, a grim
cluster of red and gray buildings. The cluster of foreboding buildings
is the State Prison on Point San Quentin.

Angel Island, on the south of Raccoon Straits, is like all the
islands of the bay, government property. Just around the first head-
land is Hospital Cove, and there is located the United States Quaran-
tine Station. The island itself is one-and-a-half miles long, its crest
rises 760 feet from the bay, and its area is about 600 acres.

Looking back towards the bay shore on the left, the island be-
tween Point Richmond and the mainland carries the pastoral title of
Sheep Island. The Government puts it to no use. On the shore
beyond are the powder works, where dynamite and other high ex-
plosives are manufactured.

Goat Island is one of the most conspicuous islands in the harbor.
On this the Government has a torpedo supply station for the war-
ships, a depot for the buoys and supplies of the lighthouse tenders,
and a new Naval Training School, where American lads are to be
taught how to defend the country's honor upon the sea.

There is a whiff of fresh salt breeze as the boat passes beyond the
southerly point of Angel Island, and we turned to the right again to
view the Golden Gate.

Here, indeed, is fascinating beauty. The broad bay narrows to
the width of a mile the Golden Gate proper and through this nar-



A MERRY CRUSADE TO THE GOLDEN GATE 167

row passage ebb and flow the mighty tides. Some resistless forces
of old earth's agony seem to have rent the big hills to make this way
for commerce. Its guardian heights rise 2,000 feet on the left hand,
stretching up to the peaks of Tumulpais to the northward. On the
right hand the heights are lower, but still lofty. The slopes are bare
and sandy. From their bluffs may be seen the guns of a heavy
battery of 12-inch rifles 473 feet above the sea level the highest
heavy gun battery in tine world.

Inside the Gate are attractions for nearer view. In mid-channel
the fortified island of Alcatraz rears itself 140 feet above low water.
Here is the military prison and an artillery post, with a torpedo
station and a light that can be seen for 19 miles out at sea. These
attributes, together with the romantic prison and a melancholy fog
bell, give the island a peculiar grim fascination to the visitor.

One of the pretty and appropriate sentiments of the afternoon
was made manifest when the Sir Knights of De Molay Commandery
No. 7, of Boston, went in a body to the monument erected in Golden
Gate Park to the memory of the late Rev. Thomas Starr King.
Under direction of their Eminent Commander they participated in an
imposing ceremony and placed a wreath of "victory palms" at the
base of the monument, while fitting tributes were paid. The Rev. Mr.
King had formerly been a leader and public man in Boston.

San Francisco and California Commanderies, as hosts, spent the
day in attending to social duties and "open house" prevailed every-
where. Golden Gate Commandery No. 16 and California Command-
ery No. 1 were lavish entertainers, while all the Commanderies lo-
cated in Mechanic's Pavilion held a general reception. Aside from
this, receptions were held at the various hotel headquarters after-
noon and evening.

At the Palace Hotel a reception was held afternoon and evening
by the ladies of the general reception committee. A Hawaiian band
discoursed native airs, while talented little Chinese girls sang during
the serving of refreshments.

With the throngs coursing the streets in gala attire under the
blaze of the many-colored electrical decorations, the night was a
memorable one. We visited in turn the various reception head-
quarters, drills, band concerts and other diversions. The city was
in possession of a merry and loving gathering that numbered thous-
ands, and while the great majority were strangers to one another,
each sought to make the other more content and happier. The glitter-
ing uniforms the color and brilliancy of the street scenes together
with the music of laughter and good cheer that everywhere found
expression, made life both appear and feel, anew.



A MERRY CRUSADE TO THE GOLDEN GATE 169

pendicular rows ; apothecaries expounding the medicinal virtues of
toad and snake ; gold workers making bracelets of the precious metal
to be welded about the arm of him who dares not trust his hoard to
another's keep ; restaurateurs serving really palatable conserves, with
pots of delectable tea; shop-keepers vending strange foreign fruits
and dubious edibles plucked from the depths of nightmare; mer-
chants displaying infinitude of curious trinkets and elaborate costly
wares ; worshipers and readers of the book of fate in rich temples,
niched with uncouth deities ; conventional actors playing interminable
histrionics to respectful and appreciative auditors ; gamblers stoically
venturing desperate games of chance with cards and dominoes ; opium
smokers stretched upon their bunks in a hot atmosphere heavy with
sickening fumes; unutterable vices no whit above the level of deep
damnation such is the Chinatown one brings away in lasting mem-
ory after three hours of peering, entering, ascending, descending,
crossing and delving.

A very orderly and quiet community, withal, for the Mongolian
is not commonly an obstreperous individual, and his vices are not
of the kind that inflame to deeds of violence. He knows no more
convivial bowl than a cup of tea.

The joss-houses, or temples, are hung with ponderous gilded
carvings, with costly draperies and rich machinery of worship. The
deities are fearful conceptions, ferocious of countenance, bristling
with hair, and decked with tinseled robes. A tiny vestal-flame burns
dimly in a corner, and near it stands a huge gong. An attendant
strikes this gong vociferously to arouse the god, and then prostrates
himself before the altar, making three salaams. A couple of short
billets, half-round, are then tossed into the air to bode good or ill
luck to you according as they fall upon the one or the other side. A
good augury having been secured by dint of persistent tossing, a
quiverful of joss-sticks is next taken in hand and dexterously shaken
until three have fallen to the floor. The sticks are numbered and
correspond to paragraphs in a fate book that is next resorted to, and
you are ultimately informed that you will live for forty years to come,
that you will marry within two years, and, if your sex and air seem
to countenance such a venture, that you will shortly make enormous
winnings at poker.

With all the novelty that Chinatown offers to the uninitiated,
none receive the attention and patronage as is bestowed upon the
Chinese play. For acts that are mysterious and plays that are pecu-
liar, crude, boisterous and positively insane to the Occidental eye and
ear, the Celestial performance "takes the palm." The play, whether
comedy or drama, varies in length from six to eight hours to one



170 A MERRY CRUSADE TO THE GOLDEN GATE

continuous performance that holds the stage for three or more months.
Since women are excluded from the stage, male actors impersonate
feminine roles. Make-up is of chief import; acting is secondary.
Stage property and scenery as Americans know them are foreign to
the Chinese stage. A chair is made to represent anything from a
castle or fortress to a bridge or horse, according to signs which are
displayed now and again, and which assist the spectator in encour-
aging his imagination in giving other form to the chair. The musi-
cians (and it is the greatest charity to call them such) are seated
upon the stage among the actors, and so are all distinguished visitors.

The stage manager and his assistants now and then erect a small
background suggestive of environment, and the province of the
orchestra is to accentuate emotion in which they attain no small
degree of success. It is highly conventionalized drama, in which any
kind of incongruity may elbow the players provided it does not con-
fuse the mind by actually intervening between them and the audience.
The plays are largely historical, or at least legendary. There are
stars whose celebrity packs the house to the limit of standing-room,
and there are the same strained silent attention and quick rippling
response to witty passages that mark our own play-houses ; but such
demonstrative applause as the clapping of hands and the stamping of
feet is unknown. The Chinese theatre-goer would as soon think of
so testifying enjoyment of a good book in the quiet of his home.

Entering the Grand Opera House (where the Chinese perform-
ance was given during the Conclave week) we found ourselves a
portion of an audience that tested the seating capacity as well as the
standing-room of the house. The audience was a representative one,
which would have done justice to any grand opera performance.

Scanning the programs which were passed through the audience
by Chinese boys, we found a synopsis of the trouble in store, in both
Chinese and English ; we also learned that the performance was
divided into two parts. The first was to be a portrayal of vicissitudes
during the reign of Yan Tsung 1022-1046 A. D. It appeared from
the program that a wealthy Chinaman had two wives, and that mali-
cious reports had been spread concerning a son and daughter of each.
This led to a war of clans that threatened the empire, but virtue and
truth finally triumphed. From the performance it seemed that all
we witnessed was the war of the clans.

The second part, according to the program, was the story of
seven angels, who, descending from heaven became seven beautiful
young women, the youngest of which was the most beautiful. She
had a host of suitors, but was eventually won by a poor youth who had
nothing to offer but a good name. Owing to the fact that women



A MERRY CRUSADE TO THE GOLDEN GATE 171

were not permitted to appear upon the stage, and that the seven
"beautiful angels" were portrayed by as many coolies, there was much
speculation among the audience as to who the irresistibly handsome
younger one was. As a matter of fact no one knew when the first
part ended or the second began.

We sat in our seats three whole hours and never understood
any thing but the lightning and thunder which was sometimes re-
versed by the property man turning the thunder loose first. The din



Online LibraryEdmund Frederick ErkA merry crusade to the Golden Gate : under the banners of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar, Allegheny, Pa. : a complete story of the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave, Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, U.S.A. ... and a tour of ten thousand miles through the wonderland of the West → online text (page 20 of 38)