This is what they looked like back in the day, before getting gussied up:
Click to expand
Balboa Park, Balboa 31X, Balboa Street – there are lots of examples.
Now let’s check and see what Vasco Núñez de Balboa did to be so honored.
Oh, here it is:
Balboa setting his dogs upon Indian practitioners of male love (1594) The Spanish invader Vasco Núñez de Balboa (1475-1519) shown in Central America with his troops, presiding over the execution of Indians, whom he ordered eaten alive by the war dogs for having practiced male love. New York Public Library, Rare Book Room, De Bry Collection, New York.
Oh and we honor Funston too?
Isn’t superstition such a second-millenium, High Middle Ages kind of thing, don’t you think? Isn’t superstition the reason our foreparents named l’avenue betwixt 12th and 14th after Frederick Funston? I mean, why else would they have done that?
Let’s meet Freddie Funston, 13th Avenue’s temporary namesake:
“I personally strung up thirty-five Filipinos without trial… Impromptu domestic hanging might also hasten the end of the war. For starters, all Americans who had recently petitioned Congress to sue for peace in the Philippines should be dragged out of their homes and lynched.”
O.K. then. (Make that Filipino-killing super-cracker.) Famous Mark Twain even penned a mock-defense of Freddie-boy in a sarcastic essay.
Cheek by jowl – one frees you, the other kills you:
Now, what about this? Did Freddie-boy represent the feds after the 1906 Earthquake the same way Michael “heckofajobBrownie” Brown represented the feds after Hurricane Katrina? Well, this bit in the San Francisco Chronicle from four years ago certainly makes the case.
But, You Make The Call. Here’s Funston taking charge of San Francisco during the Great Fire of 1906, as if martial law had been declared (it wasn’t, IRL):
“Gen. Funston sends in the first military demolition squad. The incompetence by which they dynamite buildings causes the outbreak of four new fires.
“General Funston now attempts to encircle the fire in the heart of the city with systematic destruction of buildings. A drugstore at Clay and Kearny is blown up with black powder. A flaming mattress from the flat above is launched across the street setting fire to Chinatown.
“At 5 pm the next morning, the order came down from Mayor Schmitz that the dynamiting should stop. But the order comes too late to stop the exploding of a building on Green Street. The explosion ignites a previously untouched area and this new fire spreads along Green Street aided by a gale-force wind. 5 pm that afternoonFunston gives the order to resume the shelling of Van Ness Avenue against the direct orders of Mayor Schmitz in what seems to many to be senseless destruction. There are mounting reports of the excesses of the troops, including rape, indecent assault and grievous bodily harm.”
Heck of a job, Freddie! Actually, he screwed up so bad he had to try to defend hisself in the pages of Comso (I’m seriously, freaking Cosmopoliton “77 Positions in 77 Days” Magazine.)
So, now you’re armed with two good arguments for changing the name of 13th Avenue back to 13th Avenue.* We’ll get the City take down the Funston signs post-haste and then we ought to let the residents continue to use the name Funston as long as they want. Somebody’ll even write a memo to the USPS to keep things straight with mail delivery.
*In the alternative, other substitute names like Genocide Avenue or Triskaidekaphobia Avenue could also be acceptable.
If you feel like getting up bright and early tomorrow, head on over to Lotta’s Fountain to commemorate the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Get there by 5:11 A.M. to see the action, or consider the effect of Daylight Savings Time and the then wait to mark the moment at 6:12 A.M. Either way.
Check the schedule below:
This is what it looked like back in ought-six, the 100th anniversary, with people dressed up in old-timey clothing. Click to expand:
“The 103rd Annual Commemoration of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire that almost destroyed one of America’s greatest cities will take place April 18 at Lotta’s Fountain on Market Street, at 5:11 AM. 1906 Quake Survivor 105-year-old Rose Cliver, Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, and dozens of dignitaries and celebrities will travel by vintage cars and fire trucks to Lotta’s Fountain and then on to Church & 20th Streets to paint the Fire Hydrant that saved the Mission Churches in 1906 gold.”
5:11 AM, APRIL 18th AT LOTTA’S FOUNTAIN free
6:00 AM AT THE FIRE HYDRANT THAT SAVED THE MISSION CHURCHES free
7:00 AM LEFTY O’DOUL’S SURVIVOR BREAKFAST open to the public
9:00 AM SCREENING OF “1906 ” FILM & BREAKFAST-WESTON ST. FRANCIS free
11:00 AM JOHN’s GRILL ANNUAL SURVIVOR LUNCH open to the public
WHAT: The 103rd Annual 1906 San Francisco Earthquake & Fire Wreath Laying and Commemoration
WHERE: Lotta’s Fountain-Market Street at the junction of Kearny, Third and Geary, San Francisco, California
WHEN: 5:00-6:00 AM-Saturday, April 18, 2009
The Gilding of the Fire Hydrant That Save the Mission Churches
WHAT: The 103rd Annual 1906 Painting of the Fire Hydrant that saved the Mission District Churches.
WHERE: 20th & Church Streets at Dolores Park
WHEN: 6:00-7:00 AM-Saturday, April 18, 2009
Lefty O’Doul’s Bloody Mary Breakfast
WHAT: The Lefty O’Doul’s annual Survivor Breakfast-Open to the public-
WHERE: 333 Geary Street (at Powell)
WHEN: 7:00 AM-Saturday, April 18, 2009
1906 a Film Tribute to Herbert Hamrol
by Alon Aranya
WHAT: A free to the public screening of 1906 A Tribute to Quake Survivor Herbert Hamrol by Alon Aranya-Limited seating-reservations required (313) 377-4453 or e-mail email@example.com.
WHERE: The Weston St. Francis Hotel-St. Francis Suite-335 Powell Street (at Powell)
WHEN: 9:00 AM-Saturday, April 18th, 2009
John’s Grill’s Annual Survivor Luncheon
WHAT: Historic John’s Grill’s annual Survivor Luncheon-Open to the public-Free to Survivors (415) 777-4700 will be attended by 105 Year Old Rose Cliver.
WHERE: 63 Ellis Street (at Powell)
WHEN: 11:00 AM-Saturday, April 18, 2009 Reservations suggested (415) 986-0069