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  #1  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2007, 3:15 AM
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The Paris of the West: San Francisco before the Great Earthquake and Conflagration

Astounding photos of SF by R.J. Waters from the Online Archive of California, http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/...er=1&brand=oac




City Hall


The building with the tower was the Hall of Justice in front of Portsmouth Square




















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Old Posted Aug 25, 2007, 8:51 AM
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It makes me sad, really, to see how much was lost.
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Old Posted Aug 25, 2007, 8:57 AM
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Amazing! Architecturally speaking, it looks like the city was much richer before the earthquake. There are so many layers and styles on display here, including many buildings that appear to come from the 1840's or earlier.
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Old Posted Aug 25, 2007, 9:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
It makes me sad, really, to see how much was lost.
Certainly, but the city still has many nice structures today. Also, in my opinion SF before the earthquake had a very east coast/Midwest style of architecture due to the many stone and brick buildings of different architectural styles. I hope though that the next big one will not be as disastrous as the one in 1906.

Furthermore, here are a few photos of the city post-earthquake/conflagration:
http://content.cdlib.org/view?docId=...tems&brand=oac



It's too bad that this intersection of buildings were replaced.

The link has more photos.
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Old Posted Aug 25, 2007, 3:30 PM
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These are great photos!

I think that alot of these nicer and bigger buildings from pre-1906 still exist today, partucularly around union square and market street west of 4th. City hall is a big loss, but there is a nice replacement there. Alot of very nice art deco buildings and victorian buildings have been developed since then.
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Old Posted Aug 26, 2007, 7:51 AM
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Outstanding find! The loss is stunning, but it's still fun to see these pictures and realize you are walking the very same streets those folks were walking so long ago. Even if some of the buildings are no longer with us.

When they rebuilt city hall, did they move that large monument with the multiple statues that today sits in the middle of Fulton? In the picture above it's right outside the doors. Or did they build the new city hall adjacent to the old one? Was the old one actually on the plot that is now the plaza? If so, I never realized that.
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Old Posted Aug 26, 2007, 8:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peanut gallery View Post
Outstanding find! The loss is stunning, but it's still fun to see these pictures and realize you are walking the very same streets those folks were walking so long ago. Even if some of the buildings are no longer with us.

When they rebuilt city hall, did they move that large monument with the multiple statues that today sits in the middle of Fulton? In the picture above it's right outside the doors. Or did they build the new city hall adjacent to the old one? Was the old one actually on the plot that is now the plaza? If so, I never realized that.
I believe the statue monument was moved and the city hall's position was pushed back to create the Civic Center. I'm not exactly sure though. Below is a drawing of the proposed City Hall and Civic Center to illustrate the area better.

http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/...7t/?&brand=oac
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  #8  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2007, 8:53 AM
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Very cool. The Hall of Records building was gorgeous.
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Old Posted Aug 26, 2007, 10:04 AM
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I'd give anything just to walk the streets in that time for a day just to take it all in. Not sure what kind of trouble I'd find considering what a rough town it was back then...but that it would be beyond fascinating.

The strangest thing is seeing Ft. Point and Yerba Buena island sans bridges.
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Old Posted Aug 26, 2007, 3:51 PM
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Nice Find. I think one of the truly great losses from "the quake" was the Cliff House. Would have been just another great attraction is San Francisco's already impressive list of landmarks. I really would have been moved to see it.

I really hope something comes forth to redo City Hall's Plaza.
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Old Posted Aug 26, 2007, 11:38 PM
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beautiful.
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Old Posted Aug 27, 2007, 10:55 PM
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amazing thread...that old city hall was a real beaut.
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Old Posted Aug 30, 2007, 7:41 PM
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Stunning!
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Old Posted Sep 24, 2007, 2:47 AM
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Quote:
Also, in my opinion SF before the earthquake had a very east coast/Midwest style of architecture due to the many stone and brick buildings of different architectural styles.
I've noticed that too. It had htat solid, "bourgeoise" (in the good sense) quality about it that's somehow been lost. Looking at some of those Italianate buildings you could be forgiven for thinking it's a picture of Turin or something. By comparison now it looks more lightweight/Californian/toy town type of thing, if you know what I mean.
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  #15  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2007, 7:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peanut gallery View Post
When they rebuilt city hall, did they move that large monument with the multiple statues that today sits in the middle of Fulton? In the picture above it's right outside the doors. Or did they build the new city hall adjacent to the old one? Was the old one actually on the plot that is now the plaza? If so, I never realized that.
They moved the statue when they built the new Main Library in the late 1980s or early 90s (I can't remember now). I watched them move it--quite a spectacle.

The old City Hall was at the intersection of Market/Grove/Hyde--where the theater is now. The statue, before it was moved, was across the street basically where the corner of the library building is. When they did the excavation for the library, they uncovered old foundations and spent quite a bit of time allowing archeologists to dig around in them.

Last edited by BTinSF; Sep 25, 2007 at 7:19 PM.
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Old Posted Sep 25, 2007, 7:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfcity1 View Post
These are great photos!

I think that alot of these nicer and bigger buildings from pre-1906 still exist today, partucularly around union square and market street west of 4th. City hall is a big loss, but there is a nice replacement there. Alot of very nice art deco buildings and victorian buildings have been developed since then.
They do, of course. You can see the facade of the old Emporium store, now Westfield SF Center here:



The buildings on either side of the cable car turnaround are old. As we all know, the deYoung Building, seen here, is now being rehabbed as the Ritz Residences:



Even this tower is still there, stripped of its ornament but with a vertical addition all of which makes it look "deco" now (see http://www.emporis.com/en/il/im/?id=213394 ):




In fact, a number of the great buildings that survived the quake were covered in sheet metal or other nastiness in subsequent eras and are still there hiding under the crud.
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  #17  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2007, 10:44 PM
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Thanks, BT. You have a better memory than I.
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  #18  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2007, 4:38 AM
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Wow. Absolutely astounding. Thanks so much for posting these.
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  #19  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2007, 4:55 AM
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Actually, Detroit was known as the Paris of the west.
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Old Posted Sep 26, 2007, 6:35 AM
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I know the city was revived in a similar style, but it's still a shame that some of those were lost. The buildings look even more ornate that what came after.
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