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Emperor Norton (wikipedia.org)
89 points by tosh on June 8, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments

"n 1867, a policeman named Armand Barbier arrested Norton to commit him to involuntary treatment for a mental disorder.[3] The Emperor's arrest outraged the citizens and sparked scathing editorials in the newspapers. Police Chief Patrick Crowley ordered Norton released and issued a formal apology on behalf of the police force.[10] Crowley wrote "that he had shed no blood; robbed no one; and despoiled no country; which is more than can be said of his fellows in that line."[18] Norton magnanimously granted what he considered an Imperial Pardon to the errant policeman. All police officers of San Francisco thereafter saluted Norton as he passed in the street"


I wonder what the SFPD would do today, and fear that it would be a much less awesome story.

I took friends of mine on Emperor Norton's Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine [1] sort of as a joke, and it turned out to be an absolutely excellent decision. The Emperor Norton reinterpreter is a passionate history buff, knows a lot about San Francisco history and hidden-in-plain-sight SF landmarks.

I would strongly recommend this walking tour--I did it with people visiting from out of town, but it'd be fun even with only locals.

[1] http://www.emperornortontour.com/

Two modern day groups who honor Emperor Norton:

E Clampus Vitus -- http://abc7news.com/archive/7288186/

And Heirs of Norton -- http://www.heirsofnorton.com

There was a movement to have the Bay Bridge renamed the Emperor Norton Bridge -- http://www.emperorsbridge.org

He's also a patron saint of Discordianism.

New one to me. The annual clamper pilgrimage to his gravesite in Colma is a treat.

He inspired a Lucky Luke comic album : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Empereur_Smith

The Emperor has been here before:


What a gem! I guess this shows how much facets the human condition has. To think that a man calling himself emperor would be tolerated, much less celebrated, in the US is almost as insane as the fact that someone would proclaim himself emperor of the US in the first place.

Just amazing.

This is where the rest of the country rolls its eyes and casts aspersions at San Francisco.

Too bad we can't hear them.

You must be new to SF like everyone else.

Today he'd have a popular blog.

Also the namesake of an amazing brand of sourdough chips that got discontinued well before their time.

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