The Emperor Ruled San Francisco Joshua Norton was beloved for his eccentricities.

Emperor Norton true west magazine
Emperor Norton.

Joshua Norton spent more than 30 years in San Francisco, from 1849 to 1880, and for most of them he was the self-proclaimed “Emperor” Norton.  He regularly put out royal decrees—including one that ordered the building of a bridge between San Francisco and Oakland.

He was beloved in his adopted town.  He issued his own script, which was accepted by local businesses and restaurants.  And he was greeted by hundreds of folks when he wandered the streets every day. More than 10-thousand people turned out for his funeral in 1880.

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Mark Boardman

Mark Boardman is the features editor for True West Magazine as well as the editor of The Tombstone Epitaph. He also serves as pastor for Poplar Grove United Methodist Church in Indiana.