Belmont Theme Park – A First

I conclude Carl Janke is the founder of the city of Belmont, and perhaps the first Theme Park in California. Pre-fab homes were built back east and brought to Benicia in order to make it the first Capital of California. I suspect Belmont was a rival city.

William August Janke, the son of Carl August Janke of Belmont, lived in a Victorian house at 320 Haight St. a a block and a half from Fillmore St. Carl founded what may be the oldest theme park in America that catered to members of the Odd Fellows who lived in San Francisco. Carl Janke hired a special train to bring people to his theme park modeled after a German folk town and beergarten. Carl owned the Belmont soda works and sold a drink that may have contained cocaine. Carl made a jail for his town because folks got out of hand. Consider the Haight-Ashbury that was the haven for the Hippie Movement, that got out of hand. It became a theme-park that attracted folks from all over the world, and was the focal point of the war on drugs.

John Presco

https://books.google.com/books?id=wAjmAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA21&lpg=PA21&dq=sarsaparilla+belmont&source=bl&ots=up62LblEcs&sig=qN-YggWowyyHbXyoOijEMvxMZ6Y&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MOCVU-ZEzpnIBIPKgfAH#v=onepage&q=sarsaparilla%20belmont&f=false

1864-1910, page 133).
Records from Tombstones in Laurel Hill Cemetery, 1853-1927 – Janke
Stuttmeister
Mina Maria Janke, daughter of William A, & Cornelia Janke, born
February 2, 1869, died March 1902.
William August Janke, native of Hamburg, Germany, born Dec. 25,
1842, died Nov. 22, 1902, son of Carl August & Dorette Catherine Janke. Frederick William R. Stuttmeister, native of Berlin, Germany, born
1812, died January 29, 1877.
Mrs. Matilda Stuttmeister, wife of Frederick W.R. Stuttmeister, born
1829, died March 17, 1875, native of New York.
Victor Rudolph Stuttmeister, son of Frederick W.R. & Matilda
Stuttmeister, born May 29, 1846, died Jan. 19, 1893, native of New
York.

https://rosamondpress.com/2012/06/08/tanforan-cottages/

Most new inhabitants, circa 1847, were from the New England states. These early settlers of Benicia were obliged to live in tents and wagons before several adobe and small frame houses were erected. But with lumber $300 to $600 per thousand board-feet, the fact that there were no lumber yards and that carpenter’s wages were high, the people of Benicia soon turned to prefab housing. They ordered their homes from back east. The houses were dismantled there and shipped in sections around the Horn. Time was also a factor. A house ordered in this manner would be in place within two years. A house constructed on site with hand tools would take around three years before it could be inhabited.

https://rosamondpress.com/2012/06/10/first-love-generation/

https://rosamondpress.com/2012/06/09/william-janke-on-haight-st/

Belmont park has history of sun, libations, mystery and disasters

October 22, 2001, 12:00 AM By Paul D. Buchanan Daily Journal Feature Writer

The most popular daytime excursion destination on the Peninsula during the late 19th century once occupied the area in Belmont now known as Twin Pines Park. The Belmont Picnic Grounds proved so popular, in fact, that scores of picnickers would travel regularly from San Jose and San Francisco for sun, fresh air and libations.
The size of the crowds and the fondness for libation, however, eventually led to the attraction’s demise.
According to Belmont Historical Society records, Dorothea and Carl August Janke sailed around Cape Horn from Hamburg, Germany, in 1848. After landing in San Francisco, they settled in Belmont in 1860. Industrious and entrepreneurial, Carl Janke purchased land in the vicinity of 6th and Ralston. Janke set out to create a site for leisure activities, modeled after the biergarten in his native Hamburg. His creation became Belmont Park.
Janke’s park offered all the necessary provisions for an outdoor holiday, which included a dance pavilion to accommodate 300 large glassless windows, a conical roof and a dance floor situated around a large spreading tree. The pavilion was also equipped with a bar, an ice cream parlor and a restaurant.
Outside the pavilion, the park provided a carousel for children, footpath bridges crossing the meandering of creeks, and a shooting gallery, with picnic benches and lathe houses situated about the shady grounds. Brass bands performing from bandstands could be heard all around the woodland.
In 1876, Janke opened Belmont Soda Works, located north of Ralston along Old County Road. Janke’s sons, Gus and Charlie, operated the soda works, which offered a variety of sarsaparillas. Within two years, the Soda Works produced more than 1,000 bottles a month — a large percentage of which would be sold at Belmont Park. Between the Soda Works and the several bars situated in and around the park, the liquid refreshment flowed abundantly.
Belmont Park became so popular that Southern Pacific Railroad began reserving exclusive trains for the sojourn to Belmont. Several local organizations and fraternities used the grounds for the celebrations, such as the Germania Rifles, the Apollo Verein, the Blue Bells, the Bunker Hill Association, the Ignatian Literary Society, the Hibernians and the Purple Violets. Races – foot, three-legged, and pony cart – as well as other amusements became commonplace at the gatherings.
The same year the Belmont Soda Works opened, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) hired 75 Southern Pacific railroad cars to transport 7,000 of its members from San Francisco to Belmont Park. There, 1,000 other members met them there, making the largest picnic ever held at Belmont Park.
With all the alcohol, dancing and overheated bodies gathered in a relatively small place, trouble seemed destined to follow.
In 1880, rival gangs started a small riot at Belmont Park, leaving one person dead and several injured. On another occasion, a young girl named Anne Mooney mysteriously disappeared. Authorities assumed she had been kidnaped, but a suspect was never identified. The fate of Anne Mooney remains a mystery.
By the turn of the century, the weekly treks to Belmont had become something of a nuisance. The drunken tussling would often begin at the on-board bars, continuing and intensifying by the time the passengers reached Belmont. The small communities through which the trains rumbled complained about the outsiders cavorting and otherwise disturbing their peaceful Peninsula neighborhoods. Southern Pacific, tired of the rowdies and the damage inflicted to the railroad cars, finally stopped operating the excursions in 1900.
In her book “Heritage of the Wooded Hills,” Ria Elena MacCrisken writes, “… if the railroad looked down its nose at the San Francisco picnickers, the little town of Belmont welcomed them with open arms. These early-day tourists brought lively times to Belmont and revenue to its stores…” Unfortunately for the Jankes , when the train stopped bringing carloads of revelers, much of Belmont Park’s clientele disappeared.
By 1910, the property had sold to George Center, the director of the Bank of California, who built a home on the property. Later Dr. Norbert Gottbrath opened a sanitarium called “Twin Pines,” which operated until March of 1972. The City of Belmont took over the property, dedicating Twin Pines Park in June of 1973.

theme park is the modern amusement park, either based on a central theme or, divided into several distinctly themed areas, or “spaces” as is often used. Large resorts, such as Walt Disney World in Florida (United States), actually house several different theme parks within their confines. The first such built park still in operation is ‘Bakken’ at Klampenborg, north of Copenhagen. It was founded in 1583. Walt Disney is credited with having originated the concept of the themed amusement park. Disneyland was based loosely on Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Children’s Fairyland in Oakland, California

History of American amusement parks
The first American amusement park, in the modern sense, was at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago, Illinois. The 1893 World’s fair was the first to have a Ferris wheel and an arcade midway, as well as various concessions. This conglomeration of attractions was the template used for amusement parks for the next half-century, including those known as trolley parks.

Children’s Fairyland, U.S.A. was the first theme park in the United States created to cater to families with young children. Located in Oakland, California on the shore of Lake Merritt, Fairyland includes 10 acres (40,000 m2) of play sets, small rides, and animals. The park is also home to the Open Storybook Puppet Theater, the oldest continuously operating puppet theater in the United States.
Fairyland was built in 1950 by the Oakland Lake Merritt Breakfast Club. The sets were designed by artist and architect William Russell Everritt. The park was nationally recognized for its unique value, and during the City Beautiful movement of the 1950s it inspired numerous towns to create their own parks. Walt Disney even came to Fairyland often to get ideas for Disneyland.
Numerous artists have contributed exhibits, murals, puppetry, and sculptures to the park. Some of the better-known artists are Ruth Asawa and Frank Oz.

Landmark 67
Tanforan Cottage 1
214 Dolores Street Between 15th and 16th Streets
Mission Dolores
Built 1853
This is one of a pair of redwood cottages built by the Tanforan ranching family on land that lay within the 1836 Mexican Grant to Francisco Guerrero. Located only half a block from Mission Dolores, the oldest building in San Francisco, these two cottages are probably the oldest residential buildings in the Mission District.

Landmark 68
Tanforan Cottage 2
220 Dolores Street Between 15th and 16th Streets
Mission Dolores
Built 1854
The following is quoted from Here Today, San Francisco’s Architectural Heritage by Roger Olmsted and T. H. Watkins, published by Chronicle Books in 1969:
Two very old houses that have maintained their original appearance can be seen side-by-side at 220 and 214 Dolores Street. The “Tanforan Cottages,” so called because members of the family of Toribio Tanforan occupied them from 1896 to 1945, are simple frame structures with modified late Classical Revival facades. Though very nearly identical in appearance, they were not constructed at the same time; 214 Dolores is said to have been built a little before 1853, 220 not long after that date. This dating is questionable, though, as the first substantiated date is 1866, when Revilo Wells, owner of 214, had water piped in. There is still a small carriage house behind 220 Dolores – occupied as late as 1940 by one of the Tanforan carriages. The large gardens of these houses have been well-maintained and contain many specimens of turn-of-the-century San Francisco taste in flora.

Since 1995, Tanforan Cottage 2 has been the Richard M. Cohen Residence, a residential care facility for homeless men and women living with disabling HIV or AIDS. For more information, see Dolores Street Community Services.

“The principal tenants held dear by Odd Fellows are friendship, love, and truth (FLT). The principal Odd Fellows emblem is the three links, standing for the virtues of Friendship, Love, and Truth. The duties enjoined upon Odd Fellows are to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan.”

To hire trains to move 7,000 people from San Francisco to the city of Belmont, may constitute the first Human Be-In in the Bay Area, if not America. What was Carl Janke’s motive? His German Theme village was already a success. It had become a refuge for hard working people in what would become one of the greatest cities in the world, where one day tens of thousands of young people would flock, with flowers in their hair.

“The same year the Belmont Soda Works opened, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) hired 75 Southern Pacific railroad cars to transport 7,000 of its members from San Francisco to Belmont Park. There, 1,000 other members met them there, making the largest picnic ever held at Belmont Park. With all the alcohol, dancing and overheated bodies gathered in a relatively small place, trouble seemed destined to follow. In 1880, rival gangs started a small riot at Belmont Park, leaving one person dead and several injured.”

I was at the first Human Be-In with my childhood friend, Nancy Hamren, who would be adopted into Ken Kesey’s family. We went to Oakland High School and met at McCheznie Junior High. She was the first girl I ever kiss. Her ancestors came to Texas in search of a new Utopia.

When I moved to Berkeley after living in Boston, I warned my friends not to attend the Altamont free concert. I knew it was going to be a disaster. The hippie Movement was attracting extremely aggressive and psychotic people from all over America. I used to describe myself as Balder guarding the Rainbow Bridge. I had seen the Hell’s Angels guarding the stage at the Be-In, and was dismayed by their energy. So was Nancy, who grew up around these violent gang members. We had gone to school with some of them. We did not invite, nor did we want them there. They were foisted on us by folks who were now claiming they were our leaders. We asked for no leaders. This was bullshit! It was the beginning of the end of a very closed party by locals. We had no intentions of changing the world – via mass numbers of believers. We were going to alter the world’s conciencness by altering our own. We would radiate the power of change, because things had to be changed. There was a dark force in the world that wanted our generation to die in war so they can bessen as war heroes and crusaders of the Christian religion.

I suspect the six portable houses Carl Janke brought around the Cape were purchased by the Odd Fellow who wanted to build a Utopian city out west, in the land of the free, free of the eastern puritanical government – and the Feds! William Ralston ‘The Man Who Built San Francisco’ moved into the home of Count Cirpiani that was put together with thousands of screws. The count had put several additions on the orignal structure, and it became ‘The White House of the West’ . Several Presidents stayed here, and famous artists and writers. Here was held the first Salon on the Pacific rim. Wealthy people want to get married here, because Ralston Hall represents old money and traidtions – the them!

Ralston founded the Bank of California, and as a member of the Odd Fellows, bankrolled their expansion – even into Europe. An orginaizwd group of men and women were spreading Love all over the world while holding titles that linked them in some manner with the Knight Templars. Consider the DaVinci Code and the idea Jesus and Mary Magdalene weee married and gave birth to a new generation of Love that has been severely oppressed. Why wouldn’t their Love Line come to San Francisco for the Summer of Love and impart their hidden teaching, that is not an alternative teaching, but, the real thing!

Those who claim they found the real thing, are of the tired old world. Last year, I was invited to attend the Scottish Games near Portland by a member of the Sinclair Clan. I was going to camp nearby, then, drop some acid and chill-out to some bagpipe music. Oh look, there’s a guy trying to throw a big wooden poll over a line. Didn’t Jesus, the carpenter, invent this love game? I heard he did some shrooms in the wilderness.

“Wooden ships on the water, very free!”

Jon Presco

Copyright 2012

“Delegates traveled free, thanks to the generosity of Templar Lodge No. 17, San Francisco: A Templar Lodge member, William Chapman Ralston (president of the California Bank) underwrote the $10,000 pledged by Templar Lodge. Subsequent to the 1869 session, California was host to Supreme Lodge sessions in 1888, 1904, 1915, 1949, 1960 and 1994. In 1871, Past Grand Master of California Odd Fellows, John F. Morse succeeded in establishing the Order in Germany and Switzerland. For the pleasure of members and their families, the Odd Fellows maintained several outdoor resort areas in California, including the Odd Fellows Beach and Park on the Russian River near Healdsburg, CA.

Odd Fellowship was established in California in 1849 with the formation of San Francisco Lodge No. 1 in San Francisco. Odd Fellowship spread throughout the state, particularly to the gold rush towns such as Marysville, Rough and Ready, Grass Valley, Whiskey Flat, Hangtown (a.k.a. Placerville), Comptonville, San Juan, Downieville, etc. The Grand Lodge of California was established in 1853, making it the first Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows established on the Pacific. By 1856, the jurisdiction of California consisted of sixty lodges with a membership of more than two thousand four hundred.

Early in the history of California, the two largest fraternal orders, the Odd Fellows and the Freemasons embarked on a unique cooperative project to benefit the State. The two fraternal orders created the first hospital in the new State of California in 1850 following the great flood of the winter of 1849-1850. It was called the Odd Fellows and Masons Hospital, and admitted and cared for any patient regardless of affiliation, making no distinction between members and non-members. All funds for operating the hospital were to be contributed only by the members of the two fraternal organizations.

In 1869, California hosted the Supreme Lodge session in San Francisco (opening September 20, 1869), an event memorable for two reasons: the Supreme Lodge officers became the first organized body to cross the continent to the Pacific by the newly completed transcontinental Rail Road; and the financial panic known as “Black Friday” occurred during the sessions. Delegates traveled free, thanks to the generosity of Templar Lodge No. 17, San Francisco: A Templar Lodge member, William Chapman Ralston (president of the California Bank) underwrote the $10,000 pledged by Templar Lodge. Subsequent to the 1869 session, California was host to Supreme Lodge sessions in 1888, 1904, 1915, 1949, 1960 and 1994. In 1871, Past Grand Master of California Odd Fellows, John F. Morse succeeded in establishing the Order in Germany and Switzerland. For the pleasure of members and their families, the Odd Fellows maintained several outdoor resort areas in California, including the Odd Fellows Beach and Park on the Russian River near Healdsburg, CA.

The principal tenants held dear by Odd Fellows are friendship, love, and truth (FLT). The principal Odd Fellows emblem is the three links, standing for the virtues of Friendship, Love, and Truth. The duties enjoined upon Odd Fellows are to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan.
The Odd Fellows ritual has gone through three major revisions. When the society was first introduced into the United States, its ritual was a simple catechism – the society met in taverns and its membership was often criticized for drinking in excess. One author speculated that the simple “Making” ceremony first employed may have derived from the “Ancient Order of Bucks,” an older English society. (Red Blood of Odd Fellowship, Curry, pp. 212-216.) Slightly more complex rituals were adopted during the 1820’s, including an early version of the White Degree, the Blue Degree and the Scarlet Degree, to which the Covenant and Remembrance Degrees were added in 1826. One IOOF member, Augustus Mathiot, applied for membership in a Masonic Lodge and was denied membership there because he belonged to that “Bacchanalian Club of Odd Fellows.” Mathiot thereafter successfully campaigned to have his brethren adopt middle class reforms, particularly temperance. (Saloon-keepers and Bartenders became ineligible for membership in the IOOF.) This shift led to a new emphasis on ritual and adoption of a new ritual in 1845. Two prominent members of the committee to rewrite the Odd Fellows ritual were Edwin Hubbell Chapin, Universalist Minister and John McCabe, who was ordained an Episcopalian Minister three years later. The ritual became a dramatic exploration of the ties between father and son in which the initiate dramatically gains the approval of the patriarchs and with it acquires manhood and acceptance into the masculine family of the Lodge.

 

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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