A Backward Glance at Eighty eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 234 pages of information about A Backward Glance at Eighty.

A pleasant episode of official duty early in Rolph’s term was an assignment to represent the city at a national municipal congress at Los Angeles.  We were called upon, in connection with a study of municipal art, to make an exhibit of objects of beauty or ornament presented to the city by its citizens.  We felt that San Francisco had been kindly dealt with, but were surprised at the extent and variety of the gifts.  Enlarged sepia photographs of structures, monuments, bronzes, statuary, and memorials of all kinds were gathered and framed uniformly.  There were very many, and they reflected great credit and taste.  Properly inscribed, they filled a large room in Los Angeles and attracted much attention.  Interest was enhanced by the cleverness of the young woman in charge.  The general title of the collection was “Objects of Art Presented by its Citizens to the City of San Francisco.”  She left a space and over a conspicuous panel printed the inscription “Objects of Art Presented by its Citizens to the City of Los Angeles.”  The panel was empty.  The ordinarily proud city had nothing to show.

Moses at Pisgah gazed upon the land he was not to enter.  My Pisgah was reached at the end of 1916.  My halls of service were temporary.  The new City Hall was not occupied until just after I had found my political Moab; the pleasure of sitting in a hall which is pronounced the most beautiful in America was not for me.

As I look back upon varied public service, I am not clear as to its value; but I do not regret having tried to do my part.  My practical creed was never to seek and never to decline opportunity to serve.  I feel that the effort to do what I was able to do hardly justified itself; but it always seemed worth trying, and I do not hold myself responsible for results.  I am told that in parts of California infinitesimal diatoms form deposits five thousand feet in thickness.  If we have but little to give we cannot afford not to give it.



On the morning of October 18, 1850, there appeared in San Francisco’s morning paper the following notice: 

RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE There will be Religious Services (Unitarian) on Sunday Morning next, October 20th, at Simmons’ Athenaeum Hall.  Entrance on Commercial and Sacramento Streets.  A Discourse will be preached by Rev. Charles A. Farley.

San Francisco at this time was a community very unlike any known to history.  Two years before it is said to have numbered eight hundred souls, and two years before that about two hundred.  During the year 1849, perhaps thirty thousand men had come from all over the world, of whom many went to the mines.  The directory of that year contained twenty-five hundred names.  By October, 1850, the population may have been twenty thousand.  They were scattered thinly over a hilly and rough peninsula, chaparral-covered

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A Backward Glance at Eighty from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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