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us up through the city to the Mission Dolores, the Presidio, and the
Golden Gate. But as we proceed up Market Street we take note of some
features of the life of San Francisco. Behold, here is an eager group
of men and boys in front of _The Call_ office. They are scanning the
bulletin of the day's news from all parts of the world, which will be
published in to-morrow's _Call_ or in the _Chronicle_ on the north
side of the street. In the early part of my sojourn in this city by
the Golden Gate I was impressed with this aspect of life here. It
was on Thursday the 3rd day of October that I saw a crowd of men of
various ages, and boys also, reaching out into the street, besieging
the bulletin board of _The Call_, at the corner of Market and Third
Streets. Why are they so deeply absorbed and why so interested? They
are reading the news of the victory of Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan's
_Columbia_ over Sir Thomas Lipton's _Shamrock_ in the great yacht race
in New York waters, in the cup contest. Had this international race
taken place outside of their own Golden Gate, on the broad Pacific,
they could not have evinced greater enthusiasm and pride at the
result. The pulse of San Francisco is quickened and the heart thrilled
at American success on the Atlantic seaboard as much as Boston or New
York is elated when it triumphs. Distance is nothing. It is America
from Sandy Hook to the Golden Gate. The one thing that impresses you
here in San Francisco is the intense patriotism of the people, and
your own heart is warmed as you see the evidences of loyalty to the
flag. I could not but be touched too at the devotion which the people
everywhere displayed to the memory of President McKinley. Even in
Chinatown a deep sentiment prevailed, and his draped portrait with his
benignant countenance might be seen in houses and stores and in other
conspicuous places.

As you walk leisurely along you will see on the sidewalk, on the south
side of the street, west of the Palace Hotel and opposite No. 981,
a newstand with American flags decorating its roof; and you will be
interested in the man who stands in his sheltered place behind the
counter on which are the daily papers. It is George M. Drum, a blind
man. Poor Drum, a man about fifty years old, lost his eyesight in a
premature explosion of giant powder, in a quarry near Ocean View, on
the 3rd of November 1895. Yet he takes his misfortune cheerfully. He
is chatty and witty and somewhat of a poet and is the author of a
highly imaginative story about a "Bottomless Lake" and a "Haunted
Cavern" in which that strange character, Joaquin Murietta, well known
in all California mining camps fifty years ago, figures. This Joaquin
Murietta has also been the theme of the "Poet of the Sierras," Joaquin
Miller. Indeed it was from this "Joaquin" that Miller has taken his
name Joaquin, being otherwise called Cincinnatus Heine Miller. It was
my custom to purchase _The Call_ and _The Chronicle_ each morning from
Mr. Drum; and on the second time that I saw him he said, "I wish to
shake hands with you; I know you." "Who am I?" I asked, with no little
surprise. Said he, "You are Bobby Burns." "Bobby Burns!" I exclaimed;
and, thinking only of the Ayrshire poet, I said, "Burns is dead!"
"Oh," he said, "there is a man here in San Francisco, whom I call
Bobby Burns, and T thought that you were he." So the mystery was
explained; and I could not but reflect that many other things which
puzzle us are just as easy of solution when we have the proper key to

If your walk is extended into the evening through the brilliantly
lighted streets, which electricity makes almost as bright as day, you
will meet here and there detachments of the Salvation Army and the
American Volunteers; then you will see a group of men around some
temperance lecturer or street orator. You will also hear the voice
of some fakir selling his fakes or wares, or some juggler who is
delighting his audience with his tricks of legerdemain.

If you desire to make purchases of silver articles or gold ornaments
you will go to Hammersmith and Field's at No. 36 Kearney Street; and
if you wish to spend an hour pleasantly and profitably among books on
all subjects, you will visit No. 1149 Market Street or 704 Mission
Street. Here you will learn that books on California, whether old or
new, are in great demand. Indeed all books relating to the Golden
State are eagerly sought for; and if you chance to have any such you
will be reluctant to part with them. They increase in value year by

The Club life of San Francisco is an important element; and it will be
an easy matter for you to find admittance to the Pacific Union Club,
the Cosmos Club, or the Bohemian Club, if you have the indorsement of
a member. A letter of introduction or commendation from a clergyman or
some well-known public man will secure for you the Open Sesame at any
time; and here you can pass an hour pleasantly and meet the foremost
men of the city, physicians, clergymen, lawyers, merchants, and army

But we hasten on now to the old Mission Dolores. Let us board the
street car which leads to its door. Meanwhile we have an opportunity
to study what is called the Market Street system. Rumour hath it that
the street railways will soon pass into the hands of a syndicate with
capitalists from Baltimore at the head of it. The estimated value of
the various lines is said to be over fourteen millions of dollars.
These cars are excellent in service, and they climb up the hills of
San Francisco with perfect ease. You feel, on some of the lines, as
ascent is so steep, that the car is about to stand on end, and you
cling to your seat lest you lose your balance; but you are perfectly
safe. They will take you in every direction as they run through all
principal streets and out to Golden Gate Park and the Cliff House as
well as to distant points in the suburbs of San Francisco.

Away back in the early days of the city the Mission was reached by a
plank road from the shores of the Bay; but now you ride to its doors
in comfort. The Mission Dolores located in the western part of the
city will always be a place of special interest. It carries you
back to 1776, the same year in which the American Colonies declared
themselves to be free and independent of Great Britain. The Mission
was founded under the supervision of Padre Miguel Jose Serra Junipero,
a native of the island of Majorca, who was born on Nov. 24th, 1713. At
the age of 16 years he joined the order of St. Francis of Assisi, and
in 1750 he went as a missionary to the city of Mexico. It was in 1769
that he arrived in San Diego and established its Mission. Proceeding
up the coast he founded other Missions, and his desire was to name one
in honour of the founder of his order. Said he to Don Jose de Galvez,
the leader of the expedition from Mexico to California, "Is St.
Francis to have no Mission?" The answer was, "Let him show us his
port, and he shall have one." In consequence of this the San Francisco
Mission was established. The solemn mass which marked its foundation
was celebrated by Padres Palou, Cambon, Nocedal and Peña; and on the
occasion firearms were discharged as a token of thanks to God,
and also for the purpose of attracting the Indians, though it was
difficult for them to understand it. The Indians were hard to win at
San Francisco, but a piece of cloth, with the image of "Our Lady
de Los Dolores," on it, was exhibited to them and it produced a
marvellous effect. Pictures seem to have a peculiar attraction for the
savage mind. In the Church of Guadaloupe, Mexico, you may see a large
painting of the Mexican Virgin with Indians crowding around her.
The effect of pictures is well illustrated by a scene in the ninth
century, as when, in answer to the request of Bogoris, King of the
Bulgarians, the Emperor Michael, of Constantinople, sent to him a
painter to decorate the hall of his palace with subjects of a terrible
character. It was Methodius, the monk, who was despatched to the
Bulgarian court on this mission, and he took for his theme the Last
Judgment as being the most terrible of all scenes. The representation
of hell so alarmed the king that he cast aside his idols, and many of
his subjects were converted. The Franciscans in their work both in
Mexico and in California understood well the value of pictures in
convincing the untutored mind. Hence it was the custom to have
pictures of heaven and hell on the walls of the Missions. They were
better than sermons. The name of the Mission here was at first, simply
San Francisco de Asis. Then in time Dolores was added to indicate
its locality, because it was west of a Laguna bordered with "Weeping
Willows" or because three Indians had been seen weeping in its
vicinity. Naturally the title of the Virgin would be applied to the
Mission, - Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores, "Our Lady of Sorrows." In
this Mission, as well as in the others, the Indians were in a certain
sense slaves, as the Fathers controlled all their movements. The
religious instruction was of the simplest character. The life of the
convert also was somewhat childlike, in marked contrast with his
experience in his savage condition. His breakfast consisted of a kind
of gruel made of corn, called Atole. The dinner was Pozoli, and the
supper the same as breakfast. The Christian Indians lived in adobe
huts - of which the Padres kept the keys. Some of the Missions were
noted for their wealth. For example, as you may read in the Annals of
San Francisco, the Mission Dolores, in its palmiest days, about the
year 1825, possessed 76,000 head of cattle, 950 tame horses, 2,000
breeding mares, 84 stud of choice breed, 820 mules, 79,000 sheep,
2,000 hogs, 456 yoke of working oxen, 18,000 bushels of wheat and
barley, $35,000 in merchandise and $25,000 in specie.

Such prosperity in time was fatal to the Missions. The spiritual life
was deadened, and in time it might be said that Ichabod was written on
them. The glory has departed. The early Franciscans were men of deep,
religious fervour, self-denying and godly. They did a splendid work
among the Indians in California. Father Junipero was a saintly man,
full of labour, enduring hardships for Christ's sake, and he is worthy
of being ranked with the saints of old. Padre Palott was a man of like
character, and there were others who caught the inspiration of his
life. When Junipero knew that his pilgrimage was about ended he wrote
a farewell letter to his Franciscans; and then, on the 28th of August,
1784, having bade good-bye to his fellow-labourer, Padre Palou, he
closed his eyes in the last sleep, and was laid to rest at San Carlos.
The lives of such men make a bright spot in the early history of
California; and as most of its towns and cities have San or Santa as a
part of their names it is well to recall the fact that the word Saint
was not unmeaning on the lips of those Franciscan Missionaries who
laboured on these shores and taught the ignorant savage the way of
life. On the day when Doctor Ashton and I visited the Mission Dolores
we were deeply impressed with what we saw. There stood the old
building, partly overshadowed by the new edifice erected recently just
north of it. Yonder were the hills, north and south and west, which
from the first had looked down upon it; but the old gardens and olive
trees which had surrounded it for many years were gone, and instead
the eye fell on blocks of comfortable houses and streets suggestive of
the new life which had taken place of the old. The bull-fights which
used to take place near this spot on Sunday afternoons are things
of the past happily, and the gay, moving throngs, with picturesque
costume of Spanish make and Mexican hue, have forever vanished. The
old graveyard with its high walls on the south side of the Church
remains. Tall grass bends over the prostrate tombstones, a willow tree
serves as a mourning sentinel here and there, while the odours of
flowers, emblems of undying hopes, are wafted to us on the balmy air
as we stand, with memories of the past rushing on the mind, and gaze
silently on the scene. The building looks very quaint in the midst of
the modern life which surrounds it. It is a monument of by-gone days
with its adobe walls and tiled roof. Its front has in it a suggestion
of an Egyptian temple. Its architecture is Spanish and Mexican and old
Californian combined. You can not fail to carry away its picture in
your memory, for without any effort on your part it is photographed on
your mind for the remainder of your days. These old Mission buildings
of California and of Mexico too are all very similar in their
construction. Some have the tower which reminds you of the Minaret
of a mosque. I fancy, as the idea of the Mission building with its
rectangular grounds, generally walled, came from Spain, that the
mosque, with its square enclosure and houses for its attendants, was
its model. The Moors of Spain have left their impress behind them
in architecture as well as in other things. They borrowed from
Constantinople, and the City of the Golden Horn has extended its
influence in one way and another over all the civilised world. But
Dolores is crumbling, and its services, still held, and its "Bells,"
of which Bret Harte sang so sweetly years ago, can not arrest its
decay. In it is seen "the dying glow of Spanish glory," which once,
like a cimeter, flashed forth here. Yet, though a building fall and
a nation be uprooted, "the Church of Jesus constant will remain,"
shedding its glory on generation after generation and beautifying the
human race!

Let us now pursue our walk in a northwesterly direction to the
Presidio. The descendants of the old Spanish families in San Francisco
pronounce the word still in the Castilian way, with the vowels long,
and the full continental sound is given. This makes the name very
musical as it is syllabled on their lips. What is the Presidio? This
was originally the Military Post of the Spaniards, but it is now the
Military Reservation of the United States. We are carried back to the
old Spanish days as we tread the well kept walks of this garrisoned
post. It was on Sept. 17, 1776, as we learn that it was established.
There were four of these Presidios in California, one at San Diego,
the second at Santa Barbara, the third at Monterey, and the fourth
here by the waters of the Golden Gate. They were built on the lines
of a square, three hundred feet long on each side, and the walls were
made of adobes formed of ashes and earth. Within this enclosure were
the necessary buildings, of the simplest construction, such as the
Commandante's house, the barracks, the store house, the shops and the
jail. The government buildings as a rule were whitewashed. The chief
object of the Presidios was to give protection to the Missionaries and
guard them against the Indians. The full complement of soldiers in
each Presidio was two hundred and fifty - but the number rarely reached
as high as this. The soldiers in those early days were not, as a rule,
of the highest standing. Many of them were from the dregs of the
Mexican army, and among them were men sometimes who had committed
crime and were in a measure in banishment.

There could be no greater contrast possible than that between the
Presidio of Spanish days and the Presidio of the present time, both
as to the place and the personnel of the officers and men of the
garrison. As you look around you now your eyes rest on wide and
handsome parade grounds, on beautiful gardens where flowers bloom
in luxuriance, on groups of the Monterey Cypress, on neatly trimmed
hedges, on walks in many places bordered with cannon balls, on
attractive buildings which have a homelike aspect with vines climbing
the walls, on barracks where the soldiers are made comfortable. The
Presidio looks like a settlement in itself, and is very picturesque.
I will not soon forget the beautiful, balmy afternoon, when I walked
through the grounds on my way to the hills above the ocean. Here
everything was suggestive of forethought, of care, of order, of
dignity. The Reservation stretched out on every hand and over to the
shore of the Bay northward where it has a water frontage of at least a
mile and a half. In all its area it embraces a landscape, varied and
undulating, of one thousand, five hundred and forty-two acres. It is
a noble park in itself and well may the nation be proud of it. The
Presidio was first occupied by United States troops in 1847, on March
4th, when the sword was trembling in the weak hands of Spain. On
November 6th, 1850, President Millard Fillmore set these grounds apart
forever as a Military Reservation. As I walked on, before me to the
west, rose hundreds of tents in which were soldiers, some of whom had
returned from the Philippine Islands, and others of them were soon
to embark for the Orient. Yonder too is the cemetery, where, as on
Arlington Heights above the Potomac, sleep the Nation's dead; and

"There Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay."

After your visit to the Presidio you will naturally desire to go to
the Cliff House, that world renowned resort on Point Lobos south of
the Golden Gate, and about seven miles distant from the City Hall.
Thousands frequent this favoured spot annually, and especially on
Saturday afternoons is it thronged. You can reach the Cliff either by
the street cars going by Golden Gate Park, or by the electric railway
which skirts the rocky heights of the Golden Gate. This last was our
route, and the return journey was by the street railway. A Mr. Black
and a Mr. Norton, two of San Francisco's prosperous business-men, were
going thither also, and, seeing that we were strangers, they with true
California courtesy gave us much information and showed us favours
which we valued highly. As we sped westward, on our right was Fort
Point just rising above tide water with its granite and brick walls
and strong fortifications and powerful guns guarding the entrance to
the Bay of San Francisco.

Close by the Cliff House, and north of it, are the famous Sutro Baths,
always well patronised; and the lofty, vaulted building in which they
are located impresses you greatly as you enter it. It stands on the
shore of the sea, reaching out into the deep; and the waters, which
fill the swimming pools of various depths, flow in from old ocean in
all their virgin purity. Here you will find all the best equipments
and conveniences of a bath house.

After bathing you may ascend to a long gallery of the building, where
is a museum with a valuable collection of Indian relics and stuffed
animals and archaeological specimens, and even mummies from old Egypt
in their well preserved cases. The view from the heights above the
Cliff House is magnificent. Almost at your feet, about two hundred
and fifty yards from the shore, are the Seal Rocks rising up in their
hoary forms from the sea and against whose sides the waves dash from
time to time in rythmical cadence. Here are hundreds of sea-lions,
young and old, basking in the sun or disporting themselves in the
waters, and ever and anon you hear their roaring, reminding you that
here is nature's grand aquarium. As you look northward you see the
rocky shores of the ocean for miles, while to the south your eyes rest
on a receding beach; and in a direct line some twenty miles westward
are the Farallones or Needles, a group of seven islands consisting of
barren rocks, the largest of which, comprising some two acres in area,
has a spring of pure water and is surmounted by a lighthouse. Here too
are vast numbers of sea-lions and wild birds of the sea, which make
these islets their home, nothing daunted by the billows which roll
over them in wind and storm. Surely it is a picture of the steadfast
soul in the midst of commotions, when the waves of the sea of human
passions "are mighty and rage horribly!" As you look out toward the
Farallones, as lights and shadows fall on them, you almost imagine
that they are ships from distant shores ploughing their way to the
Golden Gate. But what of the Golden Gate, on which our eyes now rest?
The name naturally recalls to mind the "Golden Gate" in the wall of
Theodosius, in Constantinople, with its three arches and twin, marble
towers, now indeed walled up to prevent the fulfillment of a prophecy
that the Christian Conqueror who is to take the city will enter
through it. A similar belief prevails concerning the Golden Gate of
the Temple Area in Jerusalem, which is also effectually barred. But
whoever named it doubtless had in mind the "Golden Horn," that noble
right arm of the Bosphorus, embracing Stamboul and its suburbs for
five miles up to the "Sweet Waters of Europe." There are indeed some
correspondences between the two. As the wealth of the Orient flows
into the Golden Horn, the harbour of Constantinople for many
centuries, so the riches of commerce, the products of great states
west of the Rocky Mountains, and the treasures of the Pacific, pass
through the Golden Gate. The Golden Gate too is about five miles in
length, although at its entrance it is a little over a mile wide and
widens out as you sail into the great Bay of which it is the outlet.
This is located in latitude 37° 48' north and in longitude 122° 24'
32" west of Greenwich, and has a depth of thirty feet on the bar while
inside of its mouth it ranges from sixty to one hundred feet. The
shores are a striking feature, and on the south side range from three
hundred to four hundred feet in height, while on the north the
hills, in places, attain an altitude of two thousand feet; and these
adamantine walls, witnesses of many a stirring event in the history of
California, are clothed in green in spring-time, while in autumn
they are brown, and from the distance resemble huge lions, couchant,
guardians of the Gate. But who gave it its name, and why is it so
called? These were my questions. Among the residents of San Francisco,
whom I asked, was a Señora whose countenance plainly indicated her
Spanish descent, and she said it took its name from the Golden Poppy
of California. This was the Gateway to the land of the Golden Poppy.
The Poppy is called Chryseis at times, after one of the characters of
Homer; and it is also known by the Spanish name, especially in the
early days, Caliz de Oro, Chalice of Gold. Another designation, used
by the poets, is Copa de Oro, Cup of Gold; while in Indian legends it
has sometimes been styled, "Fire-Flower" and "Great Spirit Flower." It
was the belief among the Indians, when they saw the people flocking
for gold from all directions, that the petals of the "Great Spirit
Flower," dropping year after year into the earth, had been turned into
yellow gold. The Golden Poppy, the State Flower of California, blooms
in great profusion and with marvellous beauty on hillside in plain and
valley, in field and garden, by lake and river, from the Sierras to
the shores of the Pacific, and it is especially abundant on the hills
which skirt the shores of the Golden Gate. Indeed in spring time these
are one mass of gold; and hence it would not require much imagination
to coin the magic name by which the gateway to one of the grandest
Bays in the world is known. An old Californian song well describes the
beauty and luxuriance of this suggestive Flower.

"O'er the foothills, through the meadows,
Midst the canons' lights and shadows,
Spreading with their amber glow,
Lo, the golden poppies grow!
Golden poppies, deep and hollow,
Golden poppies, rich and mellow,
Radiant in their robes of yellow,
Lo, the golden poppies grow!"

The honour of having named the Gate, however, is generally conceded
to General John C. Fremont. In his "Memoirs" he says: "To this Gate I
gave the name of Chrysopylae or Golden Gate, for the same reasons that
the harbour of Byzantium (Constantinople) was named the Golden Horn
(Chrysoceras)." It has been hinted nevertheless that Sir Francis Drake
gave it its appellation; and if this be so the euphonious name would
be suggested by his ship in which he sailed along this coast, the
_Golden Hind._ At first the ship bore the name of _Pelican_, but
at Cape Virgins, at the entrance to the Straits of Magellan, Drake
changed it to the _Golden Hind_, in honour of his patron Sir
Christopher Hatton, on whose coat of arms was a Golden Hind. Not
without interest do we follow the fortunes of this ship. When finally
she was moored in her English port after her voyages, and was put out
of commission as unseaworthy, and fell into decay, though guarded with
care, John Davis, the English navigator, had a chair made out of her

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Online LibraryJoseph CareyBy the Golden Gate → online text (page 12 of 13)