On this day in 1937, San Francisco opened the Golden Gate Bridge to the public.
It was pedestrians only on day one, vehicles the day after.
There used to be a plaque on the bridge giving some of the credit for the bridge to a Norton I, who supposedly ordered a bridge to be built over the bay.
That proclamation wasn’t real, but Norton I was.
For a time, San Francisco embraced a man as an emperor.
He was originally known as Joshua Norton, an immigrant from England who became wealthy and then lost his fortune in 1853 in a bad business deal.
When he reemerged six years later, he was… different.
He declared in the newspapers that by public demand, he was now Norton I, Emperor of the United States, and he began appearing in public in a military uniform.
(He went around saying he was an emperor, but not because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at him.)
Some called him delusional, others eccentric.
They mocked his proclamations with fake ones; it wasn’t always clear which were actually from Norton and which were spoofs.
But others in San Francisco said, ok, sure, let’s have an emperor.
So when he issued imperial bonds, people accepted them as local currency.
Some even paid taxes when he levied them!
When his original uniform wore out, residents crowdfunded a new one.
And once, the actual Emperor of Brazil came to town and San Francisco made sure that he met Emperor Norton.
Tens of thousands of people attended his funeral in 1880, and when he was reburied in a different cemetery in 1934 the mayor led the ceremonies.
Norton I may have only been emperor in the hearts of San Franciscans, but there was plenty of public support for his reign.
In the CL1(2nd-division) match today between Sichuan Jiuniu and Zibo Cuju, He Shihua, the principle sharedholder of Zibo Cuju, was introduced into the match just ahead of the injury time. The 35-year-old enterpreneur/footballer wears No. 10 shirt. The match ended 0:0. pic.twitter.com/d0XfNFUFIZ
— Titan Sports Plus (@titan_plus) May 4, 2021
Here’s another guy who just gave himself a new job title.
He Shihua, a millionaire in China, is a huge soccer fan.
So he bought himself a soccer team and then added himself to the roster.
That’s one way to make sure you can play whenever you like, right?
Emperor Norton I (American Heritage)
The truth about Chinese football club owner’s 126kg son viral story (South China Morning Post)
Photo via Wikicommons