U.S.S. CALIFORNIA LAUNCHING
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Medal issued by Native Sons of the Golden West to commemorate event in San Francisco Harbor, April 28, 1904.
Native Sons of the Golden West is fraternal order, organized July 11, 1875 by General Albert N. Winn, native of Virginia, as "lasting...monument...to...discovery of gold"; membership limited to white males born in California after July 7, 1846. Founders visualized expansion to embrace "country of gold and silver" or entire Far West. While rules relaxed later as to date of birth, organization consistently has refused to expand beyond state. Early intra-state spread was rapid; local "parlors" established "...in most parts within a decade." While of some possible political importance at one time, membership today barely 8,500; basically, N.S.G.W. stands for "preservation of...historic past..."
Armored cruiser California launched at Union Iron Works "under...auspices" of N.S.G.W.; vessel "longest cruiser of her class in world," large as average battleship; length 502 ft., breadth 70 ft.; 13,440 tons; staffed by 42 officers, 782 enlisted men; cost $5,000,000.
Commemorative celebration, mostly oratory, held 8:00 P. M., April 28, 1904, at Woodward's Pavilion, San Francisco. Apparently, medals not sold but presented to members and guests at both launching and commemorative ceremonies.
Photos courtesy of John Raymond
Obv. At top, N.S.G.W. over setting sun and Golden Gate; below are crossed flags, partially furled; below flags is battleship within horseshoe-shaped ribbon; on ribbon, around Armored Cruiser California; below ribbon Launched / April 28--1904.
Rev. Similar to obverse of No. 245 [Modification of California State Seal].
HK-324 Brass. 36mm.