January 8, 2009
It’s Emperor Norton Day
One hundred and twenty-nine years ago today, the Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico crumpled in front of Old St. Mary’s Church on the edge of Chinatown, and died on the way to the hospital.
Thirty thousand citizens attended his funeral, and the San Francisco Chronicle commemorated the man in style befitting a fallen Royal:
“On the reeking pavement, in the darkness of a moon-less night under the dripping rain…, Norton I, by the grace of God, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, departed this life”
Though Norton is said to have found the bicycle a mode of transport not sufficiently dignified for a personage of such eminence, in honour of Emperor Norton’s Official Day of Remembrance, I humbly present this charming photo of the man I firmly believe to be the City’s one true Patron Saint.