Monarch the Bear - San Francisco, California
According to legend-made-fact, in 1889 newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst approached his reporter, Allen Kelley with a challenge: “Do you think you could get me a California grizzly bear?”
"I think I could get a bear if I tried. Do you want him dead or alive?"
Kelley set of on his mission to find the elusive beast that has so threatened early settlers, but had by this time all but disappeared. He finally found his quarry near Los Angeles. The huge bear that became known as “Monarch” was transported to San Francisco in November 1889 where he was installed in the menagerie at Woodward’s Gardens, a (long since vanished) combination zoo, museum and amusement park on Sacramento Street near Leidesdorff.
He eventually came to live at Golden Gate Park - once home an impressive assortment of animals of various kinds, now represented solely by the park’s resident Bison.
Monarch was exhibited at the 1894 Midwinter Exposition where he was known as the “last wild grizzly bear in California” and eventually went on to become the symbol for California, depicted on the state flag, and adored by local citizens.
But that’s not all!
For the full story of Monarch the Bear and his final resting place, keep reading on Atlas Obscura…