03/5/13

Of Starfleet and Grand Hotels

As Steve Dundas points out today in his generous review of Capital of the World, even though San Francisco lost its bid to become the permanent headquarters city for the United Nations, it achieved fame in another realm.  As any Star Trek fan will remember, San Francisco of the future served as headquarters of the United Federation of Planets.  Approached by starships, the city still could be identified by the distinctive Golden Gate Bridge.

PadreSteve.com

PadreSteve.com

If anyone knows of documentation for Gene Roddenberry’s inspired choice of San Francisco for Starfleet, I would love to know about it!  I know a bit more about why San Francisco was chosen as the city where diplomats gathered in 1945 to draft the United Nations Charter.  Among other factors, the presence of San Francisco’s famed hotels helped the city gain the first opportunity to prove that it could be a Capital of the World.

San Francisco had an abundance of enormous fashionable hotels, a legacy from the great wealth generated in the late nineteenth century by the barons of mining and banking.  The barons filled their bank accounts, built their mansions, and outfitted their families with the finest fashions and furnishings. And then, they and their descendants built grand hotels intended to rival anything in New York City or in Europe. Many are still in business today.

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02/27/13

Will Rogers, Citizen of the World

Tribute to a citizen of the world. (Library of Congress)

Tribute to a citizen of the world. (Library of Congress)

If you have seen the stage or film version of Oklahoma!, then you have brushed up against Claremore, Oklahoma.  The 1943 musical was based on the play “Green Grow the Lilacs” by Claremore writer Lynn Riggs, and it retained passing references to Claremore as a town where rural folk might catch the train to up-to-date Kansas City, where ranch hands might get drunk, or where a traveling salesman might lure an unsuspecting maiden upstairs in a hotel. At the time when the United Nations was searching for a headquarters location, the town also had a place on the map, literally, as the first Oklahoma town reached by westbound Route 66, the popular highway that swept diagonally across the nation from Chicago to southern California.

These were not, however, the motivations for local residents to declare that Claremore would be the perfect location for the Capital of the World.  Their inspiration was native son Will Rogers.

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02/12/13

In search of the Capital of the World

Follow the journey from the beginning …

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