Union Square's Christmas Tree • A tradition for over 130 years
Since 1880, and every year since, a magnificent tree or a facsimile or creation resembling a tree, has adorned Union Square during the holiday season. This annual tradition has, like many things in the City's history, been credited to Emperor Norton (1818-1880), who it is said, in his normal fashion to such matters, simply decreed that this shall be done. Norton, the City's great eccentric, has also been noted as the first person to envision bridges across the bay, not to mention he is a man who created his own currency. Apparently, this was also the first public-space Christmas tree in the country.
...But is this a Real Tree?
The tree in this photograph however appears that it may not be tree but rather a creation that surrounds and adorns the monument using its structure to create the form of a tree - I am presently researching this to determine the truth - if you know- please comment / send me an email.
(Original image collection of the History Room of the Oakland Library, Hand-tinted © Bennett Hall 2014)
The Emperor in full regalia
___________________________________________________________Union Square's name originated from pro-Union rallies held on the eve of the Civil War. Built on what was originally a sand dune, the Square became a public park in 1850.
Learn more about first Emperor and his important decrees
(Original image collection of the San Francisco Images, Hand-tinted © Bennett Hall 2014)
Dewey Monument, Union Square viewing North c1905Union Square, the center of the City in pioneer days, was deeded for permanent public use on January 3, 1850 during the administration of John White Geary, San Francisco's first mayor and postmaster. The 97-foot Corinthian column is topped by a figure representing Victory.
Dedication of Dewey Monument, May 14 1903
President Roosevelt dedicated the Monument in Union Square to honor the victory of Admiral George Dewey and the American fleet over Spanish forces at Manila Bay, the Philippines in 1898, during the Spanish-American War. The Monument is also a tribute to the U. S. Navy sailors.
Articles and stories in this post are © Bennett Hall / San Francisco Images / Business Image Group
Source: (Tree shot) Oakland History Room, Oakland Public Library, digitally mastered by San Francisco Images / Business Image Group. You can acquire copies of these images framed and unframed through our World Wide Archive Web Galleries. A portion of all sales will be donated to the History Room to assist them with their work preserving local history and to maintain their collections.
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