Name the San Francisco Bridge after Emperor Norton I

  • by: John Ginn
  • recipient: California Legislature

In 1872, Emperor Norton I, Protector of the United States and Mexico, asked for funds from both citizens of San Francisco and Oakland to survey the construction of a suspension bridge between the two cities. Following the intent of his decree, the construction began in 1933 and completed in 1936. As the retro-fitting of the bridge is near completion in 2013, it is only fitting to honor the man, who is a legend of San Francisco history, by naming it after him. 

  • Dear Members, California State Assembly and Senate:

    This petition is supports re-naming the SF Bridge after Emperor Joshua Norton, who first envisioned its construction in 1872. The action for honor Emperor Norton is not new to San Francisco.

    The constituency which supports this action is well beyong this petition alone and only demonstrates diverse and wider momentum behind Emperor Norton. In November 2004, after a campaign by San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Phil Frank then-San Francisco District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced a resolution to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors calling for the entire bridge to be named for Emperor Norton.

    On 14 December 2004, the Board approved a modified version of this resolution, calling for only "new additions," the new Eastern Span to be named The Emperor Norton Bridge".

    There have been public efforts seeking to revive the earlier Emperor Norton effort. One effort, in addtion to this petition, was started in August 2013 and calls for the entire bridge to be named "The Emperor Norton Bay Bridge." Currently that petition has exceed over 2,000 signatures. This petition has received coverage from local media.

    I am asking our legislators to give serious consideration to name the bridge after someone, early in the City's history, who was beloved for his passion of service, humanity, diversity, and originality that could only be San Francisco that still rings true today and in the future.


    John Ginn

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