While in San Francisco I had the wonderful opportunity to tour their old federal courthouse. And it was not your general public tour - it was a private tour given by a very passionate court employee, an attorney who had a personal interest in the building and its glorious history. And, the building was indeed a marvel. It had withstood a fire and two earthquakes, condemation, restoration and revitalization and at least one act of Congress in the mean time. She was a beauty.
Her interior was graced with 18 types of marble, several different types of rare wood, including one room, ornately carved from a type of redwood that no longer existed. In her 105 year history she had stood the test of time and lived to tell about it.
As I toured the halls, chambers, and courtrooms I was in awe of the electric lights that were original to the 1905 construction. Some of the decoration was a little "over the top" but the builders wanted to show the glory of the west to the public. It was built by Italian craftsman who had immigrated to America. And their unparalleled talent was evident in the ornate carvings, the exquisite tile ceilings and floors, inlaid marble, and the bronze work. It was everything the old world craftsman had to offer in the new world of modern marvels.
But as I walked away, I thought: they are so proud of their 105 year history. And hey, during that time, they have discovered gold, learned how the make fantastic bread, developed blue jeans, beat the French at their own game - making fabulous wine, and most famously cooked up, that "San Francisco Treat" - Rice-a-Roni (although I have yet to see it on a menu out there.)
In our 340 years we have beat the British, befriended the French, had 3 signers of the Declaration of Independence, were the first state to secede from the Union (and spent the next 75 years recovering from that decision), are known for our Bar-b-Que pork, produce more peaches than any other state (including Georgia - the so called "Peach State"), and we developed our own dance - the "Shag" (based on the jitterbug but slower due to amount of adult beverages the dancers have enjoyed).
They've done OK for someone late coming to the party. However, there's one thing we got 'em on - game - set - match, they can't make grits!