Sept-17 (Part 3): The Rise and Fall of San Francisco
In addition to being the bloodiest day in American history (Part 1) and Constitution Day among other things (Part 2), on this day Spain founded the Presidio of San Francisco, while resident Joshua Norton declared himself Emperor and another resident became the fist air crash fatality.
The Presidio of San Francisco
Spain founds the Presidio of San Francisco as part of New Spain. It passed to Mexico, which in turn passed it to the United States in 1848. As part of a 1989 military reduction program under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, Congress voted to end the Presidio’s status as an active military installation of the U.S. Army. On October 1, 1994, it was transferred to the National Park Service, ending 219 years of military use and beginning its next phase of mixed commercial and public use.
S.F. Legend Joshua Norton Declares Himself Emperor of the U.S.
San Francisco resident Joshua Abraham Norton, was a South African immigrant who in 1859 declared himself Emperor of the United States (and later added “Protector of Mexico”) whose whimsical edicts include banning the use of the term “Frisco and calling for the building of a bridge and tunnel across/under San Francisco Bay.
First Air Fatality
San Francisco born Thomas Selfridge became the first air fatality after a crash of the Wright Flyer flown by Orville Wright. The pair circled Virginia’s Fort Myer 4½ times at 150 feet. Halfway through the fifth circuit, the right propeller broke, losing thrust and the plane crashed.