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The Secret (a treasure hunt) / Verse 07
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Verse 07

This version was saved 7 years, 8 months ago View current version     Page history
Saved by Odeyin
on October 24, 2016 at 12:52:16 pm
 

Added Coit Tower interpretation for Giant pole, and Giant Step.

General notes on Verse 7

  • This verse is thought to be linked to Image 1 and a casque in San Francisco, California.
  • There are two main search locations in San Francisco: Golden Gate Park and the Russian Hill / Telegraph Hill area.  The interpretation of this verse has been split into two separate tables to match those two areas.

 

 

Interpretation #1: Golden Gate Park

Lines Interpretation(s)

At stone wall's door

The air smells sweet

- The "stone wall's door" could refer to the wall at the Garden of Shakespeare's Flowers.  The alcove in the middle of the wall contains a rare bust of William Shakespeare, and so there are sturdy doors that can be closed to protect it.  The alcove is a reasonable match for the barred window at the top of Image 1.

Garden of Shakespeares Flowers, on Flickr 

 

- The "stone wall door" could also refer to Sweeney Observatory which was built on top of Golden Gate Park Strawberry Hill (was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and never rebuilt). It featured a gigantic door. Its windows and smaller doors are similar to the one shown in Image 01 :

- Flanking the bust on both sides are 6 bronze plaques that list all of the plant-related quotations from Shakespeare's works.  The "sweet smell" could simply refer to the famous line from Romeo and Juliet: "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

- Alternatively, the "sweet smell" could be a reference to the Spreckels Temple of Music which is just across the street from the Shakespeare garden and is named after sugar mogul Claus Spreckels.

- "Sweet smell" could also refer to either the Golden Gate Park Rose Garden or to the San Francisco Botanical Garden's Garden of Fragrance.  Both are east of Highway 1 near Stow Lake.

- Another interpretation of the "Sweet smell" could be associated to Golden Gate Park Strawberry Hill. The Hill got its named from the fact that a lot of Strawberries were growing on its side, which gave a sweet scent. (source: Official Golden Gate website): 

Not far away

High posts are three

- This would likely be a reference to the Sutro Tower.  According to Wikipedia, it's "a three-pronged antenna tower near Clarendon Heights in San Francisco" that is "a prominent part of the city skyline and a landmark for city residents and visitors."  The tower is located only a few blocks away from the southeast corner of the park and is visible from the rose garden, the botanical garden, and Stow Lake.

A picture of the Sutro tower as seen from Golden Gate Park's Strawberry Hill:

Education and Justice

For all to see

- It's possible that "Education" and "Justice" are Chinese characters that appear on the Chinese pavilion on Stow Lake.  (To see the inscriptions, visit Yagi_94118's Flickr photostream.)

- Alternatively, "Education" could refer to the University of San Francisco at the northeast corner of Golden Gate Park.

- "Justice" could refer to Alcatraz.

- The two roads that pass under Highway 1 in the park are "John F. Kennedy Drive" (formerly "North Drive") and "Martin Luther King Jr. Drive" (formerly "South Drive").  Of the two modern names, only "Kennedy Drive" could be related to The Secret.  North Drive got its new name in 1967, but South Drive wasn't renamed until 1983.

Sounds from the sky

Near ace is high

Running north, but first across

- "Ace is high" could refer to Highway 1.  "Ace" would mean "one" and "high" would mean both "highway" and literally "high" (because Highway 1 is elevated where it goes through Golden Gate Park).  "Sounds from the sky" would match this interpretation because Hwy. 1 is a six-lane highway and a person standing nearby in Golden Gate Park will hear the roar of traffic from above.

- Highway 1 runs north through most of San Francisco, but at Golden Gate Park it turns and runs due east (across) for a few blocks before turning north again to go to the Golden Gate Bridge.  At the point where the highway turns there is a large stone cross called the "prayer-book cross." The line could be a play on words meaning a) the highway running across the park, b) the highway turning to run across San Francisco, and c) the presence there of the stone cross ("but first, a cross").

In jewel's direction

Is an object

Of Twain's attention

- "Twain" is probably a reference to Mark Twain, who worked as a newspaper reporter in San Francisco from 1864 to 1865.  No direct connection has yet been found between Twain and Golden Gate Park, but Twain did make at least one trip to Cliff House, which is just a few blocks away. Twain wrote about his visit in "Early Rising, As Regards Excursions to the Cliff House," which was published in The Golden Era magazine in 1864.

- Mark Twain also wrote a little-remembered book about William Shakespeare.  The "object of Twain's attention" could therefore be the same Garden of Shakespeare's Flowers that is mentioned above. 

- The "object of Twain's attention" could also be the side-wheel paddle steamboat Eureka, which is part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park at Hyde Pier.

-  The "object of Twain's attention" could also refer to Fulton Street, alongside the Golden Gate Park on its north side. Fulton was an engineer credited for the first commercially successful steamboat. Twain was vice-president of the Fulton Monument Association, whose purpose was to build a Robert Fulton monument in NYC.

- Another possible object - Golden Gate Park has an additional piece going east called the Panhandle. At the easternmost point of the Panhandle is a statute to William McKinley.  Twain was a vociferous opponent of McKinley over the issue of Imperialism especially in the Philippines, which was started by the McKinley administration and famously opposed by Twain.

Giant pole

Giant step

To the place

The casque is kept.

- The "giant pole" could be the “Goddess of the Forest,” a giant wooden sculpture carved out of the single trunk of a redwood tree during the 1939/40 World's Fair in San Francisco.  The sculpture was erected in Linley Meadow in Golden Gate Park and stood there until the summer of 1986, when it had to be removed because of weather-related decomposition.  The cement base that supported the sculpture is still there in the park, where the 30th Avenue entrance meets JFK Drive.

- Alternatively, the "giant pole" could be the 60-foot-tall totem pole at Cliff House.  

- A third possibility is that the "giant pole" is one of the long metal handrails that run up the staircases in the park.

- The repetition of "Giant" could be a playful reference to the city's baseball team, the San Francisco Giants.

 

 

Interpretation #2: Russian Hill & Telegraph Hill

 

Lines Interpretation(s)

At stone wall's door

The air smells sweet

- "The air smells sweet" could refer to the Ghirardelli chocolate factory in Ghirardelli Square.  The "stone wall" would likely be Alcatraz, often called "the rock."  Alcatraz Island is directly opposite Ghirardelli Square and local rumor has it that, if the wind is right, you can even smell the chocolate from the island.

Not far away

High posts are three

- For the NE San Francisco interpretation, this could refer to the three masts of the Balclutha.  The ship is currently moored very near Ghirardelli Square at the Hyde Street Pier.  Unfortunately, up until 1988 it was moored six blocks further away at Pier 41.

Education and Justice

For all to see

- "Education" could refer to the University of San Francisco.

- "Justice" could refer to Alcatraz or it could refer to the San Francisco Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant Street.  The Hall of Justice has been featured in many movies and novels about San Francisco.  The Hall of Justice is directly south of the Coit Tower and directly east of the University of San Francisco.

Sounds from the sky

Near ace is high

Running north, but first across

- "Sounds from the sky" could be a reference to the Marconi Memorial at the base of Telegraph Hill.  The Latin inscription can be translated as "Outstripping the lighting, the voice races through the empty sky.”  The memorial is located inside the tight bend where Lombard turns and begins the climb up to the Coit Tower at the top of Telegraph Hill.  The bench at the Marconi Memorial provides a view out over Treasure Island. 

- The meaning of "ace is high" under this interpretation is unclear.

- "Running north, but first across" might refer to the city's iconic cable cars, which have some lines that run east-west and others that run north-south.

In jewel's direction

Is an object

Of Twain's attention

- "Twain" is probably a reference to Mark Twain, who worked as a newspaper reporter in San Francisco from 1864 to 1865.  He wrote about many sights in the city but probably formed his strongest connection to a firefighter hero named "Tom Sawyer."  Sawyer later set up a bar at 935 Mission Street, a few blocks north and one block west of the Hall of Justice. 

- The "object of Twain's attention" could also be the side-wheel paddle steamboat Eureka, which is part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park at Hyde Pier.  The park is now the home of the Balclutha (mentioned above).  Intriguingly, the park also includes the lumber schooner C.A. Thayer, which might in some way be connected to the book's use of "Cathay" as a name for China.

- "Twain's attention" could not have been focused on the San Francisco cable cars because the first line wasn't built until 1873.

Giant pole

Giant step

To the place

The casque is kept.

- The "giant pole" could be the Coit Tower.

- The repetition of "Giant" could refer to Candlestick Park where the San Francisco Giants were playing at that time.  Candlestick Park is 6 miles south of the Coit Tower.

 

Or

 

Giant Pole could refer to the giant semaphore pole that was on top of telegraph hill. Reference:  "Atop the newly built house, the marine telegraph consisted of a pole with two raisable arms that could form various configurations" 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telegraph_Hill,_San_Francisco

 

The Giant Step could be referring to the Filbert staircase that leads to the top of Telegraph Hill.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filbert_Street_(San_Francisco)

 

 

 

,

 

Other Notes:

  • This verse appears to be taking us on a tour of landmarks either in Golden Gate Park or in the northeast corner of San Francisco.  "Giant step," however, is very vague for a final approach to the destination. The specifics of where to dig for the casque are probably hidden in Image 1.
  • From Golden Gate Park Strawberry Hill, here's the positions of Alcatraz, San Francisco University and Eureka steamboat:
  • "The air smells sweet" would be almost meaningless as a general reference to flowers.  However, the Garden of Fragrance was designed in 1965 specifically as a garden for the visually impaired.  The plants were chosen specifically for their smells and textures.
  • The choice of the word "sweet" (rather than "fragrant") might suggest that the smell is coming from a candy factory or sweet shop.  The only candidate match that has been identified so far is Ghirardelli Chocolate in San Francisco.
  • The repetition of "Giant" at the end of the verse is likely a reference to the San Francisco Giants, the city's baseball team.  At the time The Secret was published, the Giants were playing at Candlestick Park in the far southeast corner of San Francisco County.  (They moved to AT&T Park in 2000.)
  • Apart from the first word in every line, only two words are capitalized in this verse: Twain and Justice.  "Twain" is almost certainly used here as the name of a person, but why is "Justice" capitalized? 

 

 

 

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