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The Fleet arrived in California. For the next 38-days sailors would be celebrated and treated like kings in their own castle. People would go out of their way to greet them, buy them a meal, and take them home. They were the nation's heroes! The Fleet traveled north from San Diego visiting cities all along the coast. Sometimes 8 ships, sometimes 2 ships, sometimes the whole fleet. Leaving San Diego, they visit Los Angeles by coming ashore at 4 different locations by dividing into its four divisions to visit San Pedro, Redondo, Long Beach, and Santa Monica. They then move north to Monterey and Santa Crus before arriving in San Francisco where they were met by the Chief of Naval Operations, other ships, and a grand celebration.
California was excited to receive the fleet. The arrival provided a clear message to Japan that the U.S. Government was willing to act to control immigration from Japan to the West Coast, and that any plans to attack would be met by a large naval force. From San Diego to San Francisco, the fleet was received with welcoming crowds and paraded through the heart of each city. With Admiral Evans having left the fleet in Magdalena for Paso Robles spa, Admiral Thomas was in command and recognized that Californians might treat the sailors "too good." It seemed that there would be no shortage of girls and alcohol in California. Thomas requested that local authorities limit the offer of "free drinks" to sailors dduring liberty, but the fleet was met by a boat filled with the town's most beautiful girls when it arrived in San Diego.
The Card above is a fold-out mailed May 4th from San Francisco with a depiction of the fleet steaming through the Golden Gate.
serving up the admirals of the pacific fleet
Below is a glass serving plater depicting the Battleship Fleet with both Admiral Sperry and Evans in Gold. This plate is dated at the bottom 1908 so it must have be manufactured after the relief of Admiral Evans and probably before the Fleet depart from San Francisco on the world trip. At the top is says "The Pacific Fleet" which is odd, because the ships were all the Atlantic Fleet.
souvenir of the visit of the atlantic fleet to california
This little booklet is a product of H. H. Stratton of Tennessee who came out to California and opened an office in Los Angeles to sell cards and souvenirs.
This piece is comprised largely of cards he had completed before the Atlantic Fleet's departure from Hampton Roads. He took his postcard images and re-purposed them as a little booklet.
This card was issued for the arrival of the Atlantic Fleet picturing the USS California and a bear with the statement, "There is only one thing our State can't beat, I bare a head to Teddy's Fleet."
The fleet off san pedro
This photograph was taken somewhere along the California Coast. The photographer "Brooks" wrote Pedro below possibly as San Pedro.
The postcard at left was issued months after the fleet visit but shows the battleships approaching San Pedro Harbor near the pier. On the beach can be seen people gathered for the arrival of the fleet.
The above card shows the crew of the USS Rhode Island on deck for a photograph. Mailed April 20, 1908, it reads, "Dear Brother, I will send you this picture of the sailor boys, they call them "jackies" here. I saw the 16 battleships Saturday. This ship was one of them. With Love, Sister L."
At left is a real photo postcard of sailors arriving at the landing in San Pedro, "Landing Men From Evans Fleet". At left in the photo you can see the stack of the steamer that towed the line of liberty boats filled with sailors. On the pier, crowds of people to greet the fleet on its arrival.
The fleet at santa cruz
The Festival at Santa Barbara
For the Fleet's arrival, Santa Barbara held a Fleet Flower Festival. On April 28th a parade was held along the waterfront with the battleships as a backdrop to the celebration. Sailors marched in their dress white uniforms with their guns adorned with flowers. Flowers were everywhere and sailors were treated as heroes during their 4 day stay.
celebrating the fleet
The fleet arrive on April 25th and stayed until the 30th with the City of Santa Barbara having events planned everyday. The highlight of their visit was the Floral Parade which took place on Monday, the 27th at 3 pm. The other days were filled with baseball games, band concerts, dancing in the streets, sports competition, and lots of lunches and dinners.
At right is the official program of events published by the Civic League of Santa Barbara. The program includes a complete schedule of events including the individual races and who would be competing, the horsemen in the parade, tennis tournament for fleet officers, and the names of people who would be driving automobiles.. It also includes the "Flower Dancers," which were part of the Dance of the Flowers presentation on Wednesday evening at 9 pm.
Below are scenes from the parade taken by photographers Brown & Shaffer.
The group of cards below were mailed home by Charles Stotz, Chief Electrician on the USS Illinois.
sailors were on a rampage
On April 29, 1908 the San Pedro Daily News reported that "Sailors were on a Rampage," and wrecked a restaurant and beer joint of John Senich on State Street near the Southern Pacific Station. When sailors were charged $6.15 for beef steak and eggs, price gouging, thy decided to wreck the place by smashing the windows and all the beer bottles in sight. Two sailors were arrested in, what was the first incident by sailors during the cruise. Witness at the scene stated that sailors had been charged all kinds of prices for the most inferior goods.
The real photo postcard at right shows the front of the restaurant after the incident with sailors standing about. The card is canceled on May 4, 1908 in Santa Cruz with the statement on the back of the card reading, "This a bum restaurant."