Of all the eccentric characters that have graced San Francisco’s history, Oofty Goofty must rank amongst the most bizarre. His real name (Leonard Borchardt appears to be the most likely contender), background (he may have been a deserter from the US Cavalry), and place and date of both his birth and death are all bones of contention, yet his strange antics intrigued and entertained residents of the City during the latter part of the nineteenth century.
Herbert Asbury‘s 1933 book The Barbary Coast, An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld, upon which most of the limited knowledge we have of of Oofty is based, explained that he acquired his name during his first sideshow appearance before the San Francisco public as a wild man on Market Street:
“From crown to heel he was covered with road tar, into which were stuck great quantities of horsehair, lending him a savage and ferocious appearance. He was then installed in…
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