A Different View of San Francisco
'The Wickedest Man in San Francisco' was the nickname earned by the author and curmudgeon, Ambrose Bierce. Bierce, arrived in San Francisco in 1866 after a tour in the Union Army soured him to military life. The witty Bierce became friends with local Mark Twain and soon began writing social critique for a number of local papers including The Californian, The Argonaut, and The Overland Monthly Reader. Bierce heaped his scorn on San Francisco but also voiced displeasure with Oakland, forty-niners, business, religion, love, marriage, other journalists, contemporary writers, and most specifically, dogs.

While writing for William Randolph Hearst's Prattle he lashed out at local artists, art critics, newspaper editors, and local author, Jack London. Bierce also wrote war tales, ghost stories, poems, and novels. His most famous works include The Devil's Dictionary and The Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. At age 71 Bierce decided to leave San Francisco for good and headed to Mexico to join Pancho Villa's army and was never heard from again. In one of his last letters he said, "If you hear of my being stood up against a Mexican stone wall and shot to rags, please know that I think it a pretty good way to depart this life." Not a city to hold a grudge, San Francisco named a street after him in 1988.
[ MAP C-18 ]


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