Mounted in the finial is a brown
handmade obsidian arrowhead.
I do not know if this is an
ancient piece or if it were made
contemporaneously with the
spoon. The bowl is a hand
engraved picture of the tower
at the Hotel Rafael.
I wondered why a spoon about a hotel had an arrowhead mounted in it.
All kinds of
interesting scenarios came to mind, but the truth is stranger than the
The hotel was built by W.T. Coleman, a Swiss immigrant, who made a
fortune in the San Francisco area
during the 1870-1890's. His career began as a vigilante in the 1856
"wild west" lawless San Francisco
area. He was so successful in creating an atmosphere of peace, that he
in-effect became the first police
His business empire was built upon the transportation and processing of
raw sugar, and he maintained a
fleet of ships and offices around the globe.
Over the course of the 1870's - 1890's, he built the area of San Rafael
(Marin County -- just across the
bay from San Francisco and today one of the wealthiest counties in the
world) literally with his own
money. He established a water utility to bring water to the area. He
arranged to have a railroad link to
San Francisco built (a very difficult and expensive undertaking). He
built a nursery in the valley. Then
with his own money he underwrote the establishment of the court house
and the Hotel Tamalpais.
In 1888 he completed the 101 room luxury Hotel Rafael, which became the
haven for wealthy San
Francisco residents who wanted to get away from the city.
In his later life, many people wanted him to become a presidential
candidate against Grover Cleveland,
although he never did run against Cleveland. Cleveland did, however,
put borax on the free import list
which would eventually cause Mr. Coleman to file for bankruptcy as his
ownership in the famous borax
mines of California had become his major source of wealth. He did
manage to repay all of his debtors
before his death, however.
But I still haven't told you why the arrowhead is on
the spoon, although I did give you a clue.
I told you he was a Swiss immigrant. I also told you his initials were
W.T. (which stands for William Tell). Yes he was named after
the famous hero of the Swiss people who was forced to shoot an
apple from his son's head. Thus the arrowhead is a reference to this
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