Produced by David A. Schwan
Fascinating San Francisco
“O Warder of Two Continents!”–Bret Harte
Enthroned on hills, San Francisco captivates the stranger who sees it from the Bay by the vivacity of its landscape long before revealing any of its intimate lures. Whether you approach in the early morning, when gulls arc wheeling above the palette of tones of the Bay, or at night, when illuminated ferryboats glide by like the yellow-bannered halls of fable, the buoyancy of San Francisco is manifest.
It increases as you pass through the Ferry Building, the turnstile behind the Golden Gate, whose blithe tower of the four clock dials is reminiscent of the Giralda in Seville.
In another moment you are in the surge of Market street, the long bazaar and highroad of this port of all flags. An invisible presence dances before your footsteps as you sense the animation of the street. It is the spirit of San Francisco, weaving its debonair spell.
Here Tetrazzini turns street singer and Jan Kubelik is a wandering minstrel enchanting crowds at Lotta’s Fountain under Christmas eve stars.
From Dana to Stevenson, from Harte to Mencken, San Francisco has captured the hearts of a train of illustrious admirers. Rudyard Kipling, master of the terse, has tooled a brisk drypoint of the city in a few strokes. “San Francisco has only one drawback,” he writes. “‘Tis hard to leave.”
Cradled as a drowsy Spanish pueblo, reared as a child of the mines, and fed on all the exhilarants of the gold-spangled days of the Argonauts, San Francisco is like a dashing Western beauty with the eyes of an exotic ancestry.
Bristling with contradictions, the city presents the paradox of being the most intensely American and yet the most cosmopolitan community on the continent, with aspects as variable as the medley of alien tongues heard on its streets.
A festival of life is staged at this meeting place of the nations, farthest outpost of Aryan civilization in its westward march.
Inez Haynes Irwin in her Californiacs sounds a warning for the stranger in San Francisco.
“If you ever start for California with the intention of seeing anything of the state,” she admonishes, “do that before you enter San Francisco. If you must land in San Francisco first, jump into a taxi, pull down the curtain, drive through the city, breaking every speed law, to Third and Townsend, sit in the station until a train–some train, any train– pulls out, and go with it. If in crossing Market street you raise that curtain as much as an inch, believe me, stranger, it’s all off; you’re lost. You’ll never leave San Francisco.”
This booklet aims to keep the curtain up.
Inside the Gate
If you turn a map showing the basin of San Francisco Bay so that the Pacific Ocean is nearest your eye, you see a peninsula thrust out from the California coast like a great boot.
San Francisco stretches for six or seven miles across the toe of the boot. Dominated by hills, the city is flanked by the Pacific on the west and by the Bay on the north and east. To the northwest, joining ocean and bay, is the Golden Gate, the only gap in the coastal mountains.
Constantinople and Rio de Janeiro have been called the only maritime cities that approach the natural beauty of situation of San Francisco. The basin of the Bay, into which the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers pour after watering the central garden valley of the state, is an amphitheatre rimmed with peaks and ridges.
The Bay spreads out below San Francisco like an animated poster keyed in blue and silver, with Yerba Buena, Alcatraz and Angel islands tinted details in the foreground. Across the gleaming water the roofs of Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda are shingled with sun crystals, and in the distance Tamalpais and Mt. Diablo bulk against a curtain of azure.
Suavities of outline accent the horizons of San Francisco, where the skyscrapers take on fantasy as they pile up on hills and recede into vales. Most visitors cross the Bay and arrive at the city by way of the Ferry Building, the gala tower of which has a clock at each point of the compass. Travelers also arrive at the Third and Townsend street railroad station, or, if they come by sea through the Golden Gate, at the piers along the waterfront.
Market street stretches diagonally across the peninsula from the Ferry Building to the base of Twin Peaks, the urban mountain which has been tunneled to get rapid transit to residence parks.
Twin Peaks is practically the geographical center of San Francisco. By keeping this in mind visitors will avoid the mistake of thinking that the end of Market street is the western boundary of the city.
From the sweep of Market street radiate practically all of the city’s important arteries. A resplendent thoroughfare by day, 100 feet wide, Market street takes on a sorcery all its own at night, when the electroliers designed by D’Arcy Ryan, light wizard of the Panama-Pacific Exposition, flood it with radiance. Market street is then the most dazzling of boulevards, every aspect of it in motion–crowds, taxis, cars and the colors of advertising displays.
The junction formed by Market, Kearny, Geary and Third streets is the heart of downtown San Francisco. It is the newspaper center, and close by are big and little hotels, shops, restaurants and sidewalk flower stalls. Here traffic eddies around Lotta’s Fountain, presented to the city by Lotta Crabtree, stage idol of the yesteryears. Beside it is one of the bronze bells and iron standards that mark El Camino Real–the King’s Highway–which the padres trod in making their rounds of the early California missions. Lotta’s Fountain has two tablets. One has its donor’s name, and the other is inscribed to Luisa Tetrazzini, whose soprano was first acclaimed to the world from San Francisco, and who crossed the continent to sing Christmas carols to the people on this street corner in 1910. One block east, Montgomery street leads into the financial center of the Pacific. To the west are Union Square and its shaft, commemorating Dewey’s victory at Manila Bay, and Powell street, with its cafe and theatre crowds.
A short walk out Market street takes you to the Civic Center, with the City Hall, Library, Auditorium and State Building grouped about a formal garden. The War Memorial, with its Opera House and American Legion Museum, will face the City Hall on Van Ness avenue.
Fronting the Pacific, San Francisco, which covers a trifle over 42 square miles of territory, has an ocean beach extending for three miles on its western boundary and overlooked by automobile highways. Street cars, starting at the Ferry Building, arrive at the beach after traversing residence districts and scenic routes, unfolding views of hills, forests, parks, forts, lighthouses and seals on rocks lashed by surf.
Between the Ferry Building and the ocean front–what a sweeping canvas it would take to suggest all this even in broad outline!
The “ships, towers, domes, theatres” which Wordsworth saw from Westminster Bridge in London are here, and so are the added motifs of San Francisco’s own song of seduction.
Ever has the glamour of the sea enveloped San Francisco. From the sea came Don Juan Manuel Ayala in the San Carlos in 1775, charting a course through the fog and opening the Golden Gate. From the, sea also came the Argonauts, transforming the somnolent Yerba Buena into the city, of San Francisco. And from the sea, up to the time of the railroad, came practically all of the goods with which the merchants of the city did business. Today with the sea ebbs and flows the tide of wealth that makes San Francisco the key port of the Pacific. The banks and exchanges of California and Montgomery streets, the foreign trade and insurance offices of Pine street, the downtown skyscrapers–all reflect in some way San Francisco’s debt to the sea.
From the sea also comes health. The breezes that blow from it and the fogs that drift down over the ridges combine to give San Francisco a paradoxical climate–winters as warm as those in the south and summers that are matchless for their exhilarating coolness.
San Francisco shows a higher per capita industrial output than any other American city of its class because of its ideal working conditions.
A city conscious of its obligation to the sea, San Francisco has always been interested in its waterfront, which perpetuates Spanish origins in its expressive name of Embarcadero–the embarking place.
The skyline of the city is no longer stenciled by the towering masts of sailing ships discharging or loading cargo, or lying in the stream or in Richardson’s Bay awaiting charters, as in the days when wheat was king of California’s great central valley. The virility of the waterfront of San Francisco, however, is as persistent as in the age that provided Frank Norris with his epic themes.
The masts and yards of older outline have given place to stubby cargo booms of liners, freighters and tramps of multiple flags and nationalities. Along the Embarcadero they disgorge upon massive concrete piers silk, rice and tea from the Orient, coffee from Central America, hemp and tobacco from the Philippines, and all manner of odds and ends from everywhere. On the piers commodities are piled in apparent confusion, yet each lot moves with precision in or out of yawning holds at the shrill blast of the foreman’s hoist whistle.
Along the Embarcadero you may see craft of every rig under the sun from a Chinese junk to a Transpacific passenger liner. Human types are even more contrasting, knots of Chinese and Singalese strolling behind South Sea Islanders, Portuguese or Cornishmen, whose speech recalls snatches you may have heard on the East India Dock Road in London.
Jack London heard and answered the call of the sea from the Embarcadero of San Francisco, and Stevenson found the atmosphere of his Wreckers there.
Sailors–trade winds–ships–what lurking thoughts of adventure, realized or denied, do they not summon in all of us?
In 1579, before Jamestown, the Massachusetts Bay Colony, or New Amsterdam were settled, Sir Francis Drake, British explorer, careened and repaired his ship, the Golden Hind, on the shore of what is now Drake’s Bay, an indentation on the California coast just north of the Golden Gate. This was nearly two hundred years before Padre Junipero Serra led his band of zealots and soldiers up out of New Spain into Alta California.
At Drake’s Bay the chaplain of the Golden Hind held the first religious service in the English language on the American continent–a service that is commemorated by a Celtic cross set up on a hill in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Though close by, Drake did not find the Bay and site of San Francisco.
It was not until October 31, 1769, that the peninsula and Bay of San Francisco were discovered by an expedition headed by Don Gaspar de Portola, Governor of Baja or Lower California. This expedition had set out overland from San Diego for the purpose of locating Monterey Bay, discovered in 1603 by Sebastian Vizcaino, Portuguese navigator in the service of Spain.
Six years after the Portola discovery, Don Juan Manuel Ayala sailed the first vessel, the San Carlos, through the Golden Gate. The following year the first permanent settlement by white men on the site of San Francisco was made when Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza established a military post at the Presidio beside the Golden Gate. In this same month, July, 1776, the Liberty Bell was ringing in Philadelphia. But there was no thought then that the embattled farmers of the Atlantic coast should inherit before many years this potential Spanish settlement on the Pacific.
In October, 1776, Padre Junipero Serra founded the Mission Dolores, the third of the chain of missions extending from San Diego. Subsequently a settlement was made at Yerba Buena Cove, and there was established the pueblo of Yerba Buena which has grown into the city of San Francisco.
Things moved slowly in those days–so slowly that in 1784 the pueblo had but fourteen houses and sixty inhabitants.
Let us turn back the hands of the clock to the time when the pueblo straggled over the sand hills which faced the water of the bay of Saint Francis, under the shadow of Loma Alta. What do we see? Where today the Merchants Exchange Building, central office of San Francisco’s commercial life, heaves its bulk into the air was the cabin of Jacob Leese, trader. Houses were few and far between, and business was something to be done when there was nothing else to do.
From the Plaza, then but a block or so from the waterside, two main roads trailed off through the sand dunes. One went to the southwest, winding among the hills toward the Mission Dolores, and the other in a generally northwesterly direction out past the lagoon of the washerwomen to the Presidio of San Francisco, the seat of the military government. Sleepy, content to bask in the sunshine that flooded its sand hills and kept back the banks of fog that loomed above the higher eminence’s separating the cove from the ocean, Yerba Buena dreamed, not of the future in store for it, but of the next fiesta, of the coming barbecue at Miguel Noe’s rancho, or of the projected cock fight on Sunday at the Mission Dolores.
To this port came occasionally a Yankee whale ship for fresh water, or some enterprising trader with shawls and combs and trinkets for the women, to barter for hides and tallow with the dons from the south and the great interior ranchos.
Up the coast some Russians had established a settlement, much to the disquiet of the authorities, who looked upon this as an encroachment of barbarians menacing Spanish power. Rezanov, plenipotentiary of the Czar, was a man of charming personality, however, and was able to lull the suspicions of the indolent Spanish officials and lay his plans for a coup that never took place. From afar Britain looked with interest upon this strip of coast with its matchless harbor, and regretted that Drake had not discovered it when he wintered his ship close by in 1579. Thus Yerba Buena sprawled and dreamed in the sunshine, unmindful of the web of destiny being woven about it.
Followed then the war with Mexico and the occupation by the officers and men of the United States sloop-of-war Portsmouth under Commodore John Montgomery, who broke the American flag to the breeze in the Plaza.
In 1848 gold was discovered by James W. Marshall in the tail-race of General Sutter’s mill, El Dorado county, and almost overnight San Francisco was transformed from a hamlet into a pulsing city, overcome with the rush of newcomers, the population in two years growing almost to twenty thousand.
California became a state in 1850 without ever having gone through a probationary period as a territory. In the late sixties the great Comstock Lode, in Nevada, poured a flood of wealth into San Francisco, and in 1869, one hundred years after the first white man looked upon San Francisco Bay, came the railroad, bringing an increasing influx of people from the East. The opening of the markets of China and Japan led to the establishment of a trade that has made San Francisco the focal port of the West.
These were the beginnings of San Francisco. Burned to the ground three times in the early years of its existence, the city displayed an invincible fortitude and each time capitalized disaster to build anew with larger faith in its destiny. When again, in 1906, earthquake and fire devastated the city its phoenix spirit came to life. The Argonauts lived once more, magnificent in their resolution. The renaissance was a prodigy that made onlookers exclamatory. Jules Jusserand, Ambassador of France to the United States, phrased the wonder of it in majestic prose:
“The page written by the inhabitants of San Francisco on the moving ashes of their city is not one that any wind will ever blow away.”
Survivals of the Past
Stand at the Ferry Building, looking up Market street, and imagine the beginning of the city that spreads before you. First of all you must realize that this point of observation would, in those days, have been offshore, on the shallow water of Yerba Buena Cove. To the right is the scarp of Telegraph Hill, from which ships coming through the Golden Gate were sighted, and to the left is the lesser Rincon Hill, which is being cut away to provide a light manufacturing district. These marked the headlands of the cove, and the waterfront curved inland as far as what is now the site of the Donahue monument to mechanics at Market and Battery streets.
Seeking survivals of the past, you must realize that San Francisco is one of the most modern of the comparatively old American cities. Most of the area that saw its beginning and early history has been wiped clean by fire. The San Francisco of today may be said to date from its rebuilding following 1906, since which time something like a half billion dollars’ worth of new construction has been done. Yet something of early San Francisco remains, either beyond the reach of the devastation of eighteen years ago or in miraculous islands of safety in that sea of fire.
The Presidio, beside the Golden Gate, is several miles from the area that burned. It is one of the largest military posts in the United States, 1,500 acres of forested hills between the inner and the outer harbor. The adobe building in which Rezanov, envoy of the Czar, wooed Senorita Arguello, daughter of the commandante of the Presidio, is preserved in the center of the reservation. You can read about this sad romance in Bret Harte or in Gertrude Atherton.
Over the hills southward from the Presidio, in a sheltered valley, where it was spared from the fire, stands Mission Dolores, with its ancient churchyard and headstones. The old mission, whose adobe walls are four feet thick, stands beside a new church of Spanish architecture. Near the entrance to Mission Dolores, set in red tiles on the floor, is a marble slab marking the tomb of the Noe family, Spanish grandees. Interesting relics are in evidence. Early mission bells hang in the facade of the old building. The tomb of Don Luis Arguello, first governor of California under the Mexican regime, is in the churchyard. Inscriptions on many of the stones in this burial place are footnotes to San Francisco’s early history.
Within the burned area of 1906, above the original waterfront of the days when the water came up to Montgomery street, there are several blocks of buildings which were spared by freaks of fate. These buildings stand near the original Plaza now called Portsmouth Square. It was here Commodore John Montgomery landed from the “Portsmouth” and raised the Stars and Stripes on July 4, 1846, almost the seventieth anniversary of the establishment of the Spanish Presidio. The site of his landing, at what is now Clay and Montgomery streets, has been marked by one of the bronze tablets on which the order of the Native Sons of the Golden West has graven many of the historic episodes of California. Not far away, on the south side of Sacramento street, between Davis and Front, there is a brick building marked by a tablet as the site of Fort Gunnybags, headquarters of the Vigilance Committee, which in 1856 hanged Casey and Cora, two enemies of law and order, from its windows. In Portsmouth Square itself, token of a gentler spirit, there stands a drinking fountain in memory of Robert Louis Stevenson. That prince of idlers and of prose spent many an hour on the sunny benches of this square. The streets nearby, where stand the few buildings that escaped the fire, echo the footsteps of Stevenson, of Mark Twain and Bret Harte. The Hall of justice faces the square.
The Parrott building, erected in 1853 by Chinese labor with stone brought from China, remains standing at California and Montgomery streets.
Around the Plaza centered the life of the pueblo and of the early city of San Francisco, but now on three sides of it is Chinatown, the fashionable homes having long been gone from this section.
In Golden Gate Park, beside a lake reflecting their outline, stand marble columns that once flanked a doorway on Nob Hill, which rises above the Oriental quarter. This relic has been named “Portal of the Past.” It symbolizes the old San Francisco that is gone save for a few traces, for this is, after all, a new city.
It is in the San Francisco of today, with a historic background that survives in spirit instead of in material reminders, that interest is dominant.
Cafes and Bright Lights
“There’s a diabolical mystery to your San Francisco!” Enrico Caruso once exclaimed. “Why isn’t everyone fat in this city of such excellent cafes?”
The Argonauts who came to California in quest of the Golden Fleece were hearty, eaters, and they laid the foundation for a tradition of abundant table fare that has been handed down since the days of the bonanza kings.
Good things to eat have been provided by successive generations of chefs who have achieved virtuosity. By and large, the moderation of prices has been a matter of bewilderment to visitors. The cheapness of savory food was one of the outstanding traits of San Francisco, in the opinion of the army of newspaper correspondents attracted to the Democratic national convention in 1920. Maurice Baring, the British author and globetrotter, goes into raptures over the cooking he discovered in a Pine street restaurant. Read his Round the World in Any Number of Days and satisfy yourself that a sophisticated observer from London town can become as ecstatic as a Gaul in the presence of soup a l’oignon. There’s a diversity to the restaurants of San Francisco that makes it difficult to single out any one type. French and Italian restaurants appear to predominate, but the number of other places, including Spanish, Greek, Mexican, Hungarian and Slavonic–not to mention Chinese–makes the array a long and polyglot one. In the vicinity of Broadway, Kearny and Columbus avenue, streets that penetrate the heart of the Latin Quarter, and along upper Montgomery street, there are sufficient individual cafes to keep any explorer after atmospheric epicurism busy for many days. Neither Soho nor Montmartre is plagiarized in these places. They are foreign in tone, but they belong very much to San Francisco. What affectation and posturing there may be in Greenwich Village are not in evidence here. Joy was at times given boisterous expression in the days before the great drought came upon the land. But the eighteenth amendment and its restrictions have not deprived any of these places of their inherent buoyancy, even though they may not be as noisy as Coffee Dan’s.
Table d’hote courses are customary not only in the French restaurants but in most of the Italian as well. Some of these places combine or interchange the menus of French, Italian and Swiss chefs, a piquant entree, or shellfish served bordelaise, being followed by a paste like lasagne, spaghetti or tagliarini, or by those geometric ravioli whose delights are in inverse ratio to their square. If you want fare of the realm the dining rooms and grills of the hotels are at your service, as are the restaurants along Market, Powell and other streets. The cafeteria has come northward and the tea-room and the Southern inn westward by way of New York. The typical San Francisco restaurant, however, is an institution as firmly imbedded in the life of the people as is Mile Rock in the current of the Golden Gate.
The sea glamour is upon the dining places of San Francisco. Any impression of them would be lacking without some reference to sea food. Every variety of fish is sold fresh in the markets daily. A number of so-called fish grottos specialize in fish caught the same morning, keeping them swimming in illuminated window-tanks. Crabs, shrimps, oysters, clams and other varieties of shell fish, including the abalone with its rainbow-tinted shell, together with sanddabs, pompano and rex sole, serve to remind one that San Francisco is washed on three sides by tides of the Pacific.
Perhaps when Bret Harte referred to San Francisco as “serene, indifferent of Fate,” he was thinking of Sidney Smith’s declaration:
“Fate cannot harm me–I have dined today!”
When you think of eating in San Francisco you think of bright lights and dancing. In addition to the hotels, you may dance at innumerable cafes. Influences of Old Spain dowered San Francisco with an infatuation for the fiesta. The city has always been dance-minded. Art Hickman, virtuoso of jazz orchestration, was called to New York to have the Follies on The Roof dance to the exuberant strains he had evolved in San Francisco. Patterns of new dance forms were derived by Pavlowa from the wild rhythms she found on the old Barbary Coast.
The Palais Royal, Marquard’s, Tait’s-at-the-Beach, the Cliff House–but where is one to stop when he starts to name the San Francisco cafes that attract dance crowds? Let’s leave it to the classified lists in the telephone directories.
Wives and daughters of the men who awoke to find themselves millionaires in the days of the Argonauts came to San Francisco to explore the social thrills of the newly rich. It is easy to understand why the hotels became the scenes of elaborate gaiety unmatched even in New York, Boston or the older communities. Haunts of the battling giants of the Comstock mines and the railroad magnates, the old Palace, Occidental, Lick and Baldwin hotels reflected their effulgent period.
The Palace, built by William C. Ralston, has survived as a landmark of San Francisco. Like Shepheard’s in Cairo, the Palace is one of the gathering places of the traveling world. The present hotel, at Market and New Montgomery streets, occupies the site of the old Palace, whose outer walls remained standing after the fire of 1906 and had to be blasted with dynamite to make room for the new structure–a tribute to the original builders. The Palace retains the outstanding aspects of the old hotel, with added modern appointments. The Palm Court, which has decorative columns and a glass-domed roof, is the social center of the hotel. It is also the rendezvous of the political and business stalwarts of the city, the Palace being a clearing-house for diversified activities. The Rose Bowl, which has Maxfield Parrish’s Pied Piper of Hamelin, attracts the set that dances when it dines.
Perched like a Parthenon on Nob Hill, the acropolis of San Francisco, is the Fairmont Hotel commanding a view of the Bay and the Contra Costa hills. Its Venetian Room, its Terrace and its Ball Room are among the features of the Fairmont in keeping with its individual environment. Expansive lawns frame the Renaissance architecture of the building, which seen from the Bay looks like a citadel inside the Golden Gate.
The Hotel St. Francis, fronting Union Square on Powell street, has a thousand rooms and is one of the distinctive institutions of San Francisco. The fire of 1906 damaged the building but left its steel frame and granite sheath intact, and a banquet of business men was held there to celebrate the beginning of reconstruction. When you think of the St. Francis you think of beautiful wall arrangements. Its Garden Court and Fable Room, where La Fontaine’s diverting inventions serve as the motifs for murals, attract the younger set for dancing and tea. The Tapestry Room is a distinguished example of decorative treatment.
San Francisco is the greatest hotel city in the world in proportion to population. These pages necessarily skim only the surface of this aspect of the city’s life. There are some 2,000 hotels, records of the Hospitality Bureau of the Chamber of Commerce show, each having rates scaled to meet the guests to whom it caters. Representatives of the Hospitality Bureau copy the names of arrivals at the hotels from the registers. These names are classified according to interests and given to a Hospitality Committee made up of business men who personally greet arrivals, bring them to the clubs, and dispense other courtesies.
It was O. Henry, caliph of phrases, who called San Francisco the Bagdad of the West. In doing so he must have had in mind its profusion of shops which stretch through the city like an endless bazaar.
Midweek shopping crowds in San Francisco are comparable to Saturday afternoon crowds in other American cities. This fact has been commented upon frequently by merchandising specialists, and it has significance.
Street population spells buying power, and San Francisco has larger shopping crowds every day of the year than any other city west of New York. Every day but Sunday is a shopping day.
Constant shopping by San Francisco women gives stimulus to the city’s retailers to comb world markets for the newest and most attractive offerings. Buyers are sent by the larger establishments not only to Paris and other style centers, but to all of the larger international trade fairs. Stocks in the shops reflect the enterprise of the retailers, who not only display the latest modes, but frequently create them.
The downtown shopping district spreads from Market to all the streets that radiate from it, from Kearny westward, well above Powell. Market street itself is a continuous stretch of display windows. Grant avenue, Stockton, Powell, O’Farrell, Geary, Post and Sutter streets are lined with department stores and intimate shops.
The Richmond, Mission, Sunset and other out lying districts have their own sub-centers, each crowded six days in the week with shoppers. Otherwise the downtown streets would be congested.
Flower stands splash the street corners with color in the downtown shopping district, and the wares glow in the show windows like exotic blooms under glass.
San Francisco shows a market as complete and original in styles as any city in the country. The excessive seasonal changes demanded in the East are not needed here. San Francisco is essentially an out-of-door city, with three hundred odd days of clement weather, made for the display of light raiment, whether it be organdie dresses, sports togs or afternoon frocks. Women of the city insist on being modish, however, so they wear furs with the airiest of apparel on the warmest days, contradictory but vivacious apparitions. Even the Chinese girls ape their Western sisters and appear in brocaded mandarins with fur neck pieces.
The dash of San Francisco women on the street, as well as in the hotels and cafes, is not a legend. You may read about it in Hergesheimer’s iridescent detail, but seeing is believing.
The art shops and the book shops of San Francisco evoke the admiration of every visitor. The art shops, on Post, Sutter and adjacent streets, close to Union Square, with their own galleries of paintings, bronzes and marbles, have showrooms that are more like museums than commercial establishments. The book shops are in this same neighborhood. They are well worth visiting, several of the dealers being publishers of the works of California authors.
Chinatown and Foreign Colonies
From its beginning as a Spanish trading post to the present time there has always been something essentially foreign about San Francisco. Always there have been foreign elements, with well-marked colonies, districts or haunts.
To visitors Chinatown appears to exercise the greatest appeal among the foreign colonies. The Latin Quarter, the Spanish and Mexican districts out toward the end of Powell street at the Bay, the Japanese streets east of Fillmore, and the Greek settlement centering around Third and Folsom are all, however, highly expressive of their habitants.
With its pagoda-like roofs, its bazaars, its restaurants of amazing orchestration and stranger East-West decoration, it is easy to. understand why Chinatown sways the imagination of wayfarers in San Francisco. Every street and alley in it is obviously exotic. Life appears here like a festival, and both the eye and the ear are beguiled by fantastic nuances.
Silks, ivories, porcelains and bronzes peer from the shop windows at hesitant purchasers like the articles of virtu flung before the bewildered gaze of readers by Balzac in his Wild Ass’s Skin.
You are diverted by the bizarre on all sides, Grant avenue, the main artery of Chinatown, stretching before you in a many-hued arabesque of shop fronts, no two quite alike in tone or in the stuff they have to sell.
The shops of the jewelers, who perform miracles of craftsmanship in gold fliagree and in jade, are especially interesting, the sensitive-fingered artisans working at benches set in the windows in full view of passersby. The meat and fish stalls, the apothecaries, the cobblers who work on the sidewalks, the lily and the bird vendors, the telephone exchange where Chinese girls operate the switchboard, the headquarters of the Six Companies, the Joss House and the Chinese theatre, spilled over into the Latin Quarter, are among the sights much written about by globe-trotting notetakers in the quarter. Organized sightseeing tours may be made through Chinatown with licensed guides, but visitors can wander securely about at will. It is no longer the subterranean Chinatown of opium-scented years, but it is still the most interesting foreign quarter in America. Charles Dana Gibson called it a bit of Hongkong and Canton caught in a Western frame.
By continuing out Grant avenue to Columbus avenue the stroller visiting Chinatown reaches the street that places him in the heart of the Latin Quarter, its Italian and French restaurants, and its manners and customs that make it an epitome of Naples and Rome.
In the Greek settlement in the vicinity of Third and Folsom streets you will see narghile water pipes displayed in the windows alongside Russian brasses and Byzantine ware. If you crave the cooking of Attica and the honey-sweets of the Grecian archipelago you can get them here.
Hills and Vistas
What city built on hills has not been exalted in song and legend? San Francisco, like Athens, Jerusalem, Rome and Naples, has the spell that comes from setting one’s house on a high place. Those who can look out over the world are those who dominate it.
History shows that every three hundred years a great city arises at some very necessary and strategic point on the international highway. Such an inevitable world city is San Francisco. Whether it is the ragged slope of Telegraph Hill, the heights of Twin Peaks, the rolling green-brown softness of the Potrero bluffs, or the contours of any of the other high places that confront the visitor approaching from the Bay, the hills of San Francisco arrest the eye and intrigue the imagination.
To the visitor who would comprehend almost at a glance the cycloramic setting of San Francisco the way is easy of access to half a dozen peaks. There are good automobile roads to all of them.
Let him for a start go to Nob Hill, crossed by California street, where the Fairmont Hotel, the Pacific Union Club, Grace Cathedral and many distinctive residences and apartments will engage his attention when it is not occupied with the shipping in the harbor, Goat and Alcatraz islands, and the animated perspectives inside the Golden Gate.
Russian Hill, of which Nob Hill is a southward shoulder, is the habitat of many of the writer and painter folk of San Francisco. It affords superb panoramas of the city and bay. So does Telegraph Hill, whose sides have been scarred to provide rock for the sea wall along which the modern argosies of commerce discharge their cargoes. Views northwesterly from these hilltops suggest the Bay of Naples.
The most comprehensive close-up of the city is probably obtained from the crest of Buena Vista Park, which is not the highest of the fourteen good-sized hills in San Francisco but the one from which the most unobstructed views are to be obtained. Tourists and other visitors to San Francisco who enjoy walking will find, rambling over this height most interesting.
Street cars, Nos. 6 or 7, will take you to Haight and Broderick streets, from which point many paths lead to the top of the hill. At every turn there is an effective view. Through a tunnel-like alley of shrubbery the towers of St. Ignatius, with crosses pointing to the sky, loom like spires from one of the cathedral towns of France. As you swing ’round you obtain glimpses from different angles of the skyscrapers of San Francisco, with every now and then a stretch of glistening water. From the summit of Buena Vista you see, on three sides, expanses of ocean and bay. To the left is the diamond of Lake Merced in its setting of bluegreen eucalyptus and its surrounding waves of sand, ribboned with roads extending to the ocean beach. Beyond is the emerald stretch of Golden Gate Park, with buildings in demi-outline through the changing tones of foliage. Above and beyond are the rolling hills of the Presidio, and in the distance Tamalpais rears its friendly bulk, a dark blue shadow against a cerulean mantle, crowned at times with filmy gonfalons of cloud like a color print by Hokusai. Lone Mountain and its cross, visible far out at sea, is here in conspicuous range.
To see San Francisco in a series of highly colored pictures suggestive of Maxfield Parrish or Dulac go to the scenic boulevard that winds over Twin Peaks. You may motor there, walk or take a street car to the foot of this city mountain, the ascent either way being easy. You may scale Twin Peaks from the flank within view of Market street, climbing along the side and over the shoulder by way of the boulevard. Or if you prefer, you may climb up from Sloat Boulevard via Portola Drive through one of the city’s restricted residence sections. On the summit of Twin Peaks you feel at the top of the world, and you see San Francisco spread out below you as multicolored as a rug of Kermanshah. No other city in the two Americas, not excepting Quebec or Rio de Janeiro, so overwhelms the beholder with its vistas–with its luminous enchantments. At night the lights of the city zigzag in patterns of distracting loveliness, and Market street reaches from the foot of the mountain to the Embarcadero like the tail of some flaming comet athwart a sea of stars.
Parks and Open Spaces
Surmounted by a freighted galleon, with streaming pennant and wind-filled sails, a granite pedestal “remembers” Robert Louis Stevenson in Portsmouth Square, cradle of San Francisco’s civic history. This square, the Plaza of the early city, was the forerunner of a chain of parks, children’s playgrounds and open spaces that checkers San Francisco with refreshing green.
Farther uptown is Union Square, in the center of the hotel and retail district. Over on the other side toward North Beach, at the foot of Telegraph Hill, is Washington Square, one of the recreation spots of the Latin Quarter, with church spires outlined above its willows. A park that will command the entire harbor is being built on top of Telegraph Hill.
In the Western Addition, Richmond, Sunset and Mission districts are many parks that provide resting places for mothers, their infants in go-carts, and romping children.
Golden Gate Park is the aureole of San Francisco’s recreational haunts. It was saved to the city in the beginning by Frank McCoppin and C. R. Dempster and made an area of living beauty by John McLaren, Scotch landscape engineer, who is Superintendent of Parks.
From the panhandle at Baker street to the Ocean Beach, the park stretches like a massive gold-green buckler enameled with lustrous gems. There are 1013 acres in the park, its Main Drive, including the panhandle, being 4 1/2 miles long.
Whether you loiter along tree-shaded alleys, or stroll through rhododendron dells in the late Spring, when the landscape fairly quivers with color, there is an ineffable loveliness about Golden Gate Park. Its opulence is heightened by its contrasts, as are all well-considered landscape designs. Treading the expanse of daisy-starred emerald lawns, loitering under the elms in the Band Concourse, or wandering through the dwarf trees patterned against humpback bridges in the Japanese Tea Garden, you find new lures in Golden Gate Park with each successive visit.
The de Young Memorial Museum, the Academy of Sciences, the Steinhart Aquarium, Stow Lake, the Dutch windmills, Huntington Falls, the aviary, the buffalo paddock, the bear pit, the children’s playground with its goats and donkeys, the tennis courts, the harness racing in the Stadium, the bowling on the green–almost every rod of the thousand odd acres in the park unfolds unexpected allurements.
On a hill in the park is the granite cross which commemorates the first church service in the English language on the American continent, held in 1579 by Sir Francis Drake’s chaplain on the coast just north of the Golden Gate.
A copy of Rodin’s bronze Thinker is here. The “Portal of the Past,” taken from a Nob Hill residence after the fire of 1906, is seen in idyllic whiteness against a clump of Irish yews across the luminous water of a lake that picks up their outline like a Renaissance picture. Statuary, classic and modern, arrests interest at every turn in the park. Among the figures and busts are those of Junipero Serra, General Grant, Goethe, Schiller, Cervantes, General Pershing and President Garfield.
At the extreme westerly end of the park, fronting the sea whose perils it braved, is the sloop Gjoa in which Captain Roald Amundsen cut one of the Gordian knots of exploration and found and navigated the Northwest Passage.
Lincoln Park, with a municipal golf course on a headland overlooking the Golden Gate, affords a distant but luring view of San Francisco. In Lincoln Park is a replica of the Palace of the Legion of Honor in Paris, gift of Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Spreckels as a memorial to San Francisco’s soldiers in the world war. In addition to its art treasures it was built to house trophies from all the fronts on which the American expeditionary forces fought, Marshal Foch and other commanders having interested themselves in the collection.
The Palace of Fine Arts on the Marina close to the Presidio, with its masterpieces from the Phoebe A. Hearst and other collections, is a short drive from Lincoln Park. The city’s Aquatic Park is close by.
Sutro Heights, with its gardens, classic marbles and outlook upon the sea, is near the Cliff House above the Ocean Beach. The Seal Rocks and the Sutro baths are in sight of these heights.
San Francisco has established a new playground for children at the end of Sloat Boulevard, with a second municipal golf course and the largest outdoor swimming pool in the world among its attractions.
Music and Drama
Hasty reading of annals makes some people gather the mistaken impression that San Francisco’s dramatic and musical history had its genesis when miners threw gold nuggets at the feet of Lotta Crabtree. But it has been pointed out by one musical critic that the Franciscan padres were chanting Gregorian measures in the Mission Dolores when the battles of Lexington and Concord were being fought, and that the Indians were intoning hymns and staging miracle-plays for their sun-god in California before the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock.
San Francisco not only discovered the gold in the soprano of Luisa Tetrazzini at the old Tivoli Opera House, but it has figured in the triumphs of many luminaries of the musical and dramatic stage–from Adelina Patti and Tamagno to Mary Garden and Galli-Curci–from Edwin Booth and Charles Kean to John Drew and Henry Miller. Celebrities braved the discomforts of trips across the continent from the earliest days because of the city’s repute as a place where the people were not only responsive but arrived at their own independent judgments.
Ysaye, Kreisler and Mischa Elman have esteemed the acclaim of audiences here as much as Ole Bull and Wieniawski did in earlier days.
Since the conversion of the Tivoli into a motion picture theatre, and pending the construction of the Memorial Opera House opposite the City Hall, the city hears most of its opera in the Civic Auditorium. Performances of the San Francisco Opera Company, with its local orchestra and chorus supporting international stars, and of visiting troupes from New York and Chicago in this auditorium provide two spectacles one on the stage and the other in the assemblage itself. The auditorium seats 10,000 persons. To be present when a prima donna awes this audience into silence by her tones, and then to hear a triumphant roar of approval rend the silence, is an unforgettable adventure of the spirit.
The Symphony Orchestra of San Francisco is one of the ranking musical bodies of the United States. No better symphonic music is played anywhere. The concerts of this orchestra fill the Civic Auditorium to overflowing. Close to fifty per cent of the audiences are people attracted from surrounding cities.
The Chamber Music Society has toured the United States and added to the musical prestige of the city.
The Concerts of the Bohemian Club, the Pacific Musical Society, the San Francisco Musical Society and the Loring Club have definite places in the musical life of the community.
Organ literature attracts many people to the recitals at the Civic Auditorium. The pipe organ here was built for the Panama-Pacific Exposition. It was subsequently rebuilt and presented to the city.
The theatres of San Francisco that were famous in an earlier era are now names packed away in the lavender of remembrance. Today the city has new theatres of imposing appearance and large seating capacity. The old stage personalities, however, troop through the writings of contemporary theatrical critics like deified shades.
The first managers of the old California theatre were Lawrence Barrett and John McCullough. The foremost actors were drawn to the city, including Charles Kean and Edwin Forrest. The Bush street theatre was conducted for fifteen years by M. B. Leavitt. It is difficult to be brief with the list of famous names. David Belasco, born in San Francisco, was stage manager of the Baldwin before he made theatrical history in New York. David Warfield made his first professional appearance at the old Wigwam. William A. Brady began his theatrical career in the city, and so did Al Hayman. Holbrook Blinn was a boy star in amateur theatricals.
At the Alcazar, San Francisco’s stock house, many familiar players made their debuts, including Blanche Bates, Frank Bacon, Frances Starr, Bert Lytell and Evelyn Vaughn.
The Orpheum theatre of San Francisco is the mother house of the vaudeville circuit of that name, which supplies entertainment to cities throughout the United States and has overseas affiliations. The Orpheum developed from a music hall conducted by Gustav Walter and the first building on the present site in O’Farrell street, off Powell, was erected in 1887.
Like a tower of enlightenment the campanile of the University of California, in Berkeley, is seen by visitors to San Francisco whether they come through the Golden Gate from Asia or approach the city by ferry from the terminals of the transcontinental railroads on the East Bay shore. It is likewise visible from the hills of San Francisco.
This white shaft is symbolic of the opportunity offered to the world to educate its youth in San Francisco. Within short motor rides from the city are three big universities. In addition to the University of California at Berkeley, which has one of the largest enrollments of any institution of its kind in the United States, there is Stanford University at Palo Alto, a privately endowed seat of learning with notably high standards of scholarship and a rigid limit on the number of its students, and the University of Santa Clara, which has trained many of California’s public men and members of the bench and bar. California and Stanford are co-educational.
The University of California maintains in San Francisco the Hastings College of Law, the Medical School, the California School of Fine Arts, the George William Hooper Foundation for Medical Research, the California College of Pharmacy and the Museum of Anthropology, the latter being one of the buildings of the Affiliated Colleges, overlooking Golden Gate Park. The Hearst Greek Theatre at Berkeley has done much to make the name of the University familiar abroad. Sarah Bernhardt, Maude Adams, Ben Greet and Margaret Anglin have been among the notables to appear on its open air stage.
Stanford University, which numbers Herbert Hoover and many other famous men among its alumni, maintains in San Francisco the Medical School and Stanford and Lane hospitals. The campus in the Santa Clara Valley is well worth seeing. The sandstone quadrangles, arcades and red tile roofs, which reproduce the feeling of the early Mission buildings, are finely achieved examples of period motifs applied to collegiate architecture. The Stanford Memorial Church is especially interesting for its richly carved stone and colored Italian mosaics, on the exterior as well as within.
The University of Santa Clara, conducted by the Jesuits, is located on the site of one of the Missions established by the Franciscans under Junipero Serra, and its modern buildings incorporate the ancient structure.
In addition to these universities is Mills College in Oakland, an institution for women of the type of Wellesley, Vassar and Bryn Mawr. The list of private schools and academies offering specialized instruction is a long one.
Building bridges of understanding across the seas, students attending the universities and other institutions in the San Francisco Bay region are playing roles in international relations that are just beginning to be realized. H. G. Wells should study them in drafting his outlines for world amity.
Cliffs and Beaches
From Fort Scott west to Fort Miley and south to Fort Funston, a distance of something over eight miles, there is a line of cliffs and beach that is the ocean front of San Francisco. Driving up from the eucalyptus-lined avenues of the Presidio along a road that reveals perspectives of bay and hills, you come out upon the cliffs that form the southern post of the Golden Gate and extend above the eastern and southern shore of the outer harbor, with yellow beaches at their feet and with homes, gardens and parks set along their edge.
From these cliffs is spread a vista of coast line and ocean with a sweep that extends as far north as Point Arena and as far west as the Farallon Islands, rugged points of rock reaching out of the ocean depths twenty-three miles off shore, and as far south as the azure thrust of Point Pedro.
Drifting along the cliff highway, which runs back of the fortifications that defend the port of San Francisco, you drop down past the dirigible hangar of the United States Army Flying Corps. You rise through Sea Cliff, a residence section like a hanging garden over the ocean, and come to Lincoln Park, where the flagstaff that marks the terminus of the Lincoln Highway, the end of a transcontinental trail, is set.
Following now a detour through city streets, instead of the highway that will soon traverse the cliffs, to the Cliff House, a resort foremost in the written and pictured annals of San Francisco, you glimpse three miles of sandy beach stretching southward to the jutting headlands of Point Pedro and you drop down to the boulevard that flanks the Esplanade, which the city is building as part of its playground plan.
Here is San Francisco’s Little Coney Island, where the multitude comes on Sundays by motor car and trolley, with lunch baskets and children, to frolic or rest on the sands that front the sea.
Gay booths and kiosks skirt the Esplanade, where vendors are kept busy supplying their wares and where everyone appears as carefree as the gulls wheeling above the white breakers.
As you continue south along the beach you pass the chalet of the Olympic Club, whose members sally forth on New Year’s Day for their dip in the surf. Presently you reach the Great Highway, which traverses the dykes of sand raised by wind and water as barriers against the ocean. Ahead of you are Sloat Boulevard and the Skyline Boulevard, which, skirting Lake Merced, stretches south through the shore mountains, its objective Santa Cruz, on the blue bay of Monterey.
This expanse of three miles of glistening sandy beach is a playground where the people may watch the ever-shifting panorama of sea and sky and hills. Seals can be seen sunning themselves on the rocks. Beyond them, riding the swells, are fishing boats, and still farther out cargo carriers and passenger liners make for distant points or come seeking haven in the Port of Adventure–San Francisco.
Club life in San Francisco has won the admiration of many men of letters and other visitors. Kipling says appreciative things about the Bohemian Club in his American Notes that exceed anything written by its own historians. Julian Street, in his Abroad at Home, says that with her hills San Francisco is Rome; with her harbor she is Naples; with her hotels she is New York.
“But with her clubs and her people she is San Francisco, which to my mind comes near being the apotheosis of praise,” he adds.
The Bohemian Club’s devotion to music and drama finds expression beyond the plays and concerts at its town clubhouse. In addition it owns a grove of redwoods in Sonoma county, where “highjinks” are staged every midsummer. A grove play, the book and music of which are written by members, is the feature of the annual gathering which has spread the name of the Bohemian Club to many distant places. This distinctive type of country annex is likewise enjoyed by The Family, a club which has in addition to its city quarters a redwood grove in San Mateo county known as “the Farm,” where original drama and music are produced.
A bronze tablet in memory of Bret Harte is on the Post street facade of the Bohemian Club, near Taylor. Characters from the prose and verse of the author are shown in bas-relief, including Salomy Jane, Yuba Bill, Tennessee’s Partner, John Oakhurst and the Heathen Chinee. The Olympic Club, the Pacific Union Club on Nob Hill, the University Club, the Commonwealth, the Union League Club, the Commercial, the Transportation, the Concordia, the Argonaut, the Engineers, the Army and Navy, the Old Colony and the Press Clubs are among the other organizations with well appointed quarters. The Knights of Columbus, Masons, Elks and other fraternal orders have their own clubs. The Olympic Club also maintains the Lakeside Country Club with a golf course and trapshooting facilities. The Olympic is one of the oldest and largest athletic clubs in the country, having over 5000 members.
Women’s organizations owning or now building their own club houses include the Francisca, Woman’s Athletic, the California, Sequoia, Century, Sorosis, Town and Country, National League for Woman’s Service, City and County Federation of Women’s Clubs and the Y. W. C. A.
San Francisco is a paradise for golfers, and the courses of the various clubs have settings of exceptional natural beauty. Among them are those of the Presidio Golf Club, the California Golf Club, the San Francisco Golf and the Lake Merced Golf and Country Club on the Rancho Laguna de la Merced. The municipality maintains two golf courses, one at–Lincoln Park and one at Lake Merced.
Across the Bay, in Alameda and Marin counties, and down the peninsula are any number of country clubs. The San Francisco Yacht Club and the Corinthian Yacht Club have club houses on the Marin shore.
Homes and Gardens
Surface impressions of San Francisco assail the visitor like colors in a gypsy’s scarf lustrous and salient. There is so much vivacity in the streets downtown, so much to see in the haunts talked about, that one is apt to overlook in a brief sojourn an outstanding characteristic of the city–its many distinctive homes.
Hardly a month passes that is not marked by pages of appreciation in national architectural journals about the creative originality shown in the landscape gardening and in the structural conceptions achieved in the residence parks of San Francisco. In versatility of treatment the architects who have specialized in home building in the San Francisco Bay region have had their designs of contoured streets, parterres, terraces and plantings published more widely than those of their professional brethren in any other section of the country.
Tour leisurely by motor car or afoot through the city if you would convince yourself how lovely the homes of San Francisco are. Leave the traveled boulevards and journey out into the districts that lie along the hills north of Washington street and west of Van Ness avenue as far as the Presidio wall. Skirting that dividing line, wander through the area between Geary street and the military reservation.
Pacific avenue, Broadway, Vallejo and the cross streets leading into them are built up with splendid homes, outlined against inviting lawns and gardens. There are noteworthy residence tracts in this section– Presidio Terrace, West Clay Park and Sea Cliff, where homes that look like villas and chateaux perch on heights that afford a sweeping range of ocean, hills and harbor entrance.
The district west of Twin Peaks, which may be reached either by the Municipal street cars that go out Market street or by automobile, has restricted residential areas that are reminiscent of the illustrations on the satiny pages of de luxe architectural folios.
Rapid transit has brought country life to city dwellers in San Francisco, Third and Market streets being only twenty minutes away from St. Francis Wood and its fountains and trees; Ingleside Terraces; Westwood Park, lying along the lower slopes of Mt. Davidson; Forest Hill and other verdant home areas, the tunnel through Twin Peaks making all this possible.
Coming back downtown over the shoulder of Twin Peaks your eyes are bewildered in trying to chart the sea of roofs and gables that stretch over the Mission district. Where once a few tiled adobes clustered around Mission Dolores, founded by Padre Junipero Serra, now spread homes flooding the level places and gradually climbing up toward the tops of the hills that are like watchtowers over the Golden Gate.
San Francisco Outlines and Insights
Area: 42 square miles.
Climate: Cool summers and mild winters. Average summer temperature, 59 degrees. Average winter temperature, 51 degrees.
Population: 687,000 in city; 1,200,000 in metropolitan area.
Tax Rate: $3.47 per $100 assessed value, rate of assessment to market value of property being 50 per cent.
Per Capita Wealth: Based on actual value of property, the per capita wealth of San Francisco, $3,115, is the highest of any large city in the country.
Foreign Trade: Trade with foreign countries passing through the Golden Gate during the fiscal year 1922-1923 totaled $343,307,567, of which exports amounted to $157,242,290 and imports $186,065,277.
Industrial Activity: San Francisco leads the cities of the Pacific Coast in the value of manufactured products, the total annual volume of which is $500,000,000.
Labor Efficiency: Owing to equable climate, labor efficiency is higher than in any other large center in the country, the per capita output for San Francisco being $6,804.75.
Money Market of Pacific: San Francisco ranks fifth in bank clearings in the United States. Total bank clearings for the year amount to $7,274,000,000. Deposits total $935,119,374. Total resources of the five national and thirty-one state banks were $1,311,368,502 in 1923.
Real Estate and Construction: Realty sales for the past year totaled $132,227,478. Building totaled $34,079,996. Since 1906 new construction totals $500,000,000.
Sightseeing Tours: Descriptive folders and other literature may be obtained at the Chamber of Commerce and at the hotels and information bureaus in San Francisco about trips supervised by licensed sightseeing companies. Some of the outstanding attractions of the city are detailed briefly here.
Civic Center: One of the most impressive groups of public buildings to be seen in this country or abroad. Lands and buildings for this undertaking cost the people $20,000,000. The group includes the City Hall, Public Library, State Building and Civic Auditorium, the latter seating 10,000 persons and being in demand for national conventions. [Easy walk from downtown, or by cars on Market and Polk streets, or taxi, auto or sightseeing bus.]
San Francisco Bay: Discovered first from the land side by Don Gaspar de Portola in 1769. Ferryboats, river steamers and launches may be taken by the visitor interested in becoming acquainted with the attractions of the Bay, including Yerba Buena (Goat) Island, with its Naval Receiving Station; Alcatraz Island, shaped like a massive battleship and used as a military prison; Angel Island, United States immigration and quarantine station; Sausalito, Belvedere and Tiburon, towns framed against the brocade of hills; Oleum, Richmond, Martinez, Crockett and Pittsburg, with their big industrial plants; the shipbuilding yards in San Francisco, Oakland and Alameda.
The Golden Gate: Don Juan Manuel Ayala piloted the San Carlos through this portal in 1775. It was named the Golden Gate by General Fremont, “The Pathfinder.” Sir Francis Drake landed in 1579 in a sheltered cove just outside the Golden Gate and his chaplain held the first religious service in the English language on the American continent. This incident is memorialized by a Celtic cross on a hill in Golden Gate Park. [By ferryboats from Ferry depot, or via the Presidio, which see.]
The Presidio: This is the largest military reservation within city boundaries in the United States. Its 1,500 acres embrace many tree-bordered walks and driveways for motor cars. Rezanov, plenipotentiary of the Czar, here wooed Senorita Arguello, daughter of the Spanish commandante of the Presidio, in an adobe building still standing in the reservation. You may read about this tragic idyl in Bret Harte and Gertrude Atherton. [“D” car on Geary street and Union street car at Ferry Depot, or taxi, auto or sightseeing bus.]
Portsmouth Square: Originally called the Plaza, this place figured largely in the early history of San Francisco. Commodore John Montgomery, after whom Montgomery street is named, raised the flag here to herald American possession of California. The Vigilance Committee used the Plaza for public gatherings in their struggle against lawlessness. The Robert Louis Stevenson monument is here, with his oft-quoted message carved on its face, beginning “To be honest, to be kind, to earn a little, to spend a little less.” Stevenson loved this square greatly and loitered here much. [Easy walk from any place downtown, or by Kearny street car, tax, auto or sightseeing bus.]
Mission Dolores: This Mission was founded by Father Junipero Serra in 1776, and its adobe walls remain in a remarkable state of preservation. A new church of Spanish architecture is beside it. Adjoining the old building is a burial ground, the inscriptions on whose stones add to the interest of the paintings, carvings and other relics in the Mission. [“J,” “K” and No. 8 cars on Market street, or by taxi, auto or sightseeing bus.]
Telegraph Hill: From the top of this height flags and semaphores signaled the approach of ships with the Argonauts in the early days. The Park Commissioners are making it a recreation center. One of the best views of the city, its skyscrapers and the Bay is obtained from the hill. [By cars on Stockton and Kearny street, or by taxi, auto or sightseeing bus.]
Russian Hill: Many of the writers and painters of San Francisco have their homes here. There are also fine apartments, terraced gardens and compensating walks, unfolding views of the Bay and distant hills. [By cars on Stockton and Union streets, or by taxi, auto or sightseeing bus.]
Fishermen’s Wharf: Harbor of the Italian fishing fleet, this has the aspect of a transplanted bit of the Neapolitan coast even though it has been modernized with the employment of gasoline motor boats. [Kearny and Beach car to end of line and walk along the waterfront, or by taxi or auto.]
California Palace of Legion of Honor: A memorial to the soldiers of the world war, this replica of the Palace of the Legion of Honor of Paris was built by Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Spreckels in Lincoln Park, overlooking the Golden Gate, to house art treasures and war relics. [By cars marked for Ocean Beach or Cliff House, or by taxi, auto or sightseeing bus.]
Golden Gate Park Memorial Museum: One of the outstanding attractions of the recreation center described elsewhere in this booklet. [By marked Golden Gate Park cars on Market and Geary streets, or by taxi, auto or sightseeing bus.]
Palace of Fine Arts: On the Marina, close to the Presidio, this handsomely proportioned building was preserved from the Panama-Pacific Exposition. It houses an exhibition of painting, statuary and objects of arts from the Phoebe A. Hearst and other collections. [By “D” cars on Geary street and Union street car at Ferry depot, or by taxi, auto or sightseeing bus.]
Ocean Beach: This playground of San Francisco fronting the sea, with the Cliff House, the Esplanade, Sutro Heights, the Sutro salt water baths and the Seal Rocks with their barking sea lions, should be seen by every visitor to San Francisco. [By marked cars on Market, Geary and Sutter streets, or by taxi, auto or sightseeing bus.]
Twin Peaks–Its Tunnel: This city mountain, nearly 1,000 feet high, is at the end of Market street. A scenic boulevard, which may be traversed by motor or afoot, winds over it, affording a sweeping panorama of the city and Bay. Running beneath the mountain is a tunnel carrying a double track street railway line. This tunnel is the longest and deepest municipal bore in the world. It cost $4,000,000. The tunnel is two and one-fourth miles in length and was built to get rapid transit to residence districts. [By “K” tunnel car on Market street, or by taxi or auto.]
Golf–Sports: San Francisco has seven golf courses reached quickly by motor cars and street railway lines. The region tributary to the city is one huge fish and game preserve. Landing trout or bringing down ducks or a buck can be accomplished within tramping distance of city homes. Three polo fields are on the peninsula. Fly-casting on Stow lake in Golden Gate Park, regattas off the Aquatic Park and the Marina, trap shooting, hiking, mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada range, and a diversity of other activities are directed by clubs and organized groups. Horse racing has been revived at Tanforan and attracts big crowds. The motor roads in and out of San Francisco are among the finest in the country.
Out-of-Town Trips: Visitors to San Francisco should see Mount Tamalpais, with its crookedest railroad in the world, Muir Woods, and the Ring Around the Mountain drive to Stinson Beach; Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley, the University of California being at the latter city; the Santa Clara Valley, with its orchards, and Stanford University at Palo Alto; the Spring Valley lakes; La Honda; Del Monte, Carmel and historic Monterey; Santa Cruz and the Big Trees; Santa Rosa, home of Luther Burbank; Saratoga in blossom time; the Petrified Forest; the Geysers; Mare Island Navy Yard; the Lick Astronomical Observatory on Mt. Hamilton; the great Sierra Nevada Range; Mount Whitney and snow-capped Shasta; the Yosemite, Sequoia and General Grant National Parks; Lake Tahoe; Mt. Lassen and the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. Information booths at the hotels will supply visitors with details about trips to these and other places.
For detailed information about San Francisco communicate with San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
Merchants Exchange Building
140 Montgomery Street San Francisco
This booklet written by Fred Brandt and Andrew Y. Wood and produced by Horne and Livingston for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
Independent Pressroom San Francisco