San Francisco FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions about San Francisco, CA
Edited by Robert W. Summers, San Mateo, California
Created: November 21, 1997 / Last updated: December 30, 1998
Posted here by permission of author * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * C O N T E N T S [A] ALCATRAZ [H] PEOPLE [B] CABLE CAR [I] ATTRACTIONS [C] BRIDGES [J] BUILDINGS [D] GOLD RUSH [K] HOLLYWOODLAND [E] THE SUMMER OF LOVE [L] BIBLIOGRAPHY [F] 1906 EARTHQUAKE AND FIRE [M] NOTES [G] GENERAL HISTORY & INFO #=Modified ##=New Addition * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ALCATRAZ [A-1] Where is Alcatraz? Just north of San Francisco (about a mile) between the City and Angel Island. The island is clearly visible from San Francisco, closer than people often expect. [A-2] What is its (short) history? In 1853 the island, Isla de los Alcatraces (Pelican Island) was used for defense of the bay, garrisoned with troops and cannons. In 1861 Fort Point took over those duties and Alcatraz was turned into a military prison. Then in 1933, the "Rock" became a federal penitentiary for hardened criminals and was home to such notables as Alvin "Public Enemy" Karpis, Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz, Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly. Abandoned in 1963, the island was inhabited by Native Americans from 1969-1971. Since 1972, Alcatraz has been maintained by the GGNRA and attracts many thousands of tourists annually. [A-3] Were there ever any escapes? # Despite Hollywood's depiction, official records state that of fourteen attempted escapes, not one was succ- essful. With one guard for every three to five con- victs, thirteen roll-calls a day, metal detectors, body searches, and other controls, there would not have been much of an opportunity for escape. A number of people made it off the island, but those whose bodies were never recovered jumped into the bay from the west side of Alcatraz, where the currents are strongest. Guards who witnessed prisoners escaping saw the men pulled under very quickly, never to be seen again...unless they shot the men first. Some bodies turned up around the Farallone Islands, thirty-two miles west of the Golden Gate. Only one man ever made it to San Francisco, but he was so exhausted, he was easily apprehended as he lay on the beach at Fort Point. Incidentally, lots of people have made the swim from Alcatraz to the City, but they usually leave from the east side of the Rock where currents aren't as strong and they have trained for the swim and are much more physically fit than the idle prisoners would have been. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * CABLE CAR [B-1] Who invented the cable car? # Andrew Smith Hallidie, a wire-rope manufacturer by trade, witnessed an accident involving a street car drawn by five horses one morning in 1869. While pulling the car up Jackson Street, between DuPont (now Grant) and Stockton, one of the horses slipped and the street car began rolling backward down the hill, dragging the horses with it, killing them all. This prompted Mr. Hallidie to design a system to pull the street cars safely up the steep hills, using an endless ropeway and gripping mechanism. [B-2] How does it work? Beneath the surface of the street is a cable which is kept constantly in motion by a large motorized wheel located in the cable car barn at Washington and Mason. A slot between the tracks allows a rod with gripping dies to reach down and grab the cable causing the car to be pulled forward. Here's how it's done: The conductor pulls back on the grip lever which, due to the off-center arrangement of the quadrant (the bar on the floor that the grip locks onto holding it in place) causes the center plate to move down towards the cable. As the center plate comes into contact with the cable, the jaws, containing steel gripping dies, clamp onto the cable. The harder the grip is pulled, the tighter the dies will clamp. This allows the gripman to pull back gently, at first, so that the cable is grip- ped loosely, enabling a smooth start. Once the car is in motion, the grip lever is pulled back tightly and the car is at full speed. On lines where two cars will cross, such as at Powell and California streets, the grip is moved all the way forward, retracting the center plate to a position above the cable, and the car relies on its forward, downhill motion to carry it past the crossing line. Another lever, next to the grip, is used for braking. Pulling back on this lever, pushes a block down onto the rail, similar to many modern light rail vehicles. At the back of the car is another brakeman who operates the rear brake by turning a handle in a circular direction. Sometimes, when it rains, the tracks can become slip- pery and, if necessary, an emergency rod can be lowered which will cause quite an abrupt stop. Considering the alternative, this may seem preferable. Just remember to hold on tightly at all times. [B-3] How fast does the cable car travel? Nine miles per hour (the speed of the cable), although I have seen cars cruising at about 30 mph or so down Mason on Russian Hill, before whipping around onto Columbus. Wasn't it worth the wait? [B-4] When did the first cable car go into operation? The cable car was first tested on August 2, 1873 at about 4 o'clock in the morning using a dummy car. By the afternoon of the same day, a passenger car had been attached to the conductors car and large crowds had gathered. Surprisingly, no fees were charged for the first two days of operation. People were, apparently, apprehensive about climbing aboard. -L10 [B-5] Where was the first line? Clay Street, between Kearny and Jones. [B-6] How many lines are there? Three. Two of the lines start at Powell and Market; the Powell-Hyde line which terminates at Beach and Hyde and the Powell-Mason line which ends at Bay and Taylor (in the middle of a low income housing project). The third one, the California line, begins at California and Drumm and finishes at California and Van Ness. This line does not utilize turnarounds. It is a two headed car that can be operated in either direction. [B-7] What is the weight of the cable cars? 12,180 pounds for the single-end cars and 11,500 pounds for the double-end cars. [B-8] Where is the steepest grade? Hyde Street between Bay and Chestnut is 21.3 degrees. California between Stockton and Grant is 18.2 degrees. Powell between Pine and Bush is 17.5 degrees. [B-9] Where is the powerhouse located? Washington and Mason. This building also houses a cable car museum which is free to the public. Visitors can see historic cars and watch the actual wheels which keep the cable moving. [B10] How many turntables are there? Four. These are located at Powell and Market, Bay and Taylor, Beach and Hyde, and Washington and Mason, in the Car Barn, where the powerhouse is located. [B11] Did you know? President Johnson's daughter Lynda was ordered off a cable car for eating an ice cream cone? It happened on March 22, 1968. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * BRIDGES [C-1] When was the Golden Gate Bridge built? Construction began January 5, 1933 and the last rivet (made of gold) was placed on May 27, 1937, pedestrian day. Vehicular traffic commenced the following day. [C-2] What color is the Golden Gate Bridge? International Orange. [C-3] How long is it? By itself, the bridge is 6,450 feet. If you add the approaches, the total length is seven miles. [C-4] How wide is it? 90 feet from the center of the cables. [C-5] What is the height of the towers? 746 feet above the water. [C-6] How much steel was used to build the bridge? Over 100,000 tons. [C-7] How much cable was used? 80,000 miles, weighing 22,000 tons. [C-8] Were any lives lost during construction? Eleven men died during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, ten of those when a netting broke loose beneath the bridge, near the completion date. In that incident, twelve men "went into the hole" and only two came back. [C-9] How long is the Bay Bridge? The Bay Bridge actually consists of two suspension spans, one cantilever, 5 truss and 14 deck spans. All in all, the bridge is 43,500 feet (8.5 miles) with 4.5 miles over water. The main structure is 22,720 feet. [C10] When was it built? Senate Bill 1762 was introduced December 15, 1927. Con- struction began July 9, 1933 and was completed in three years, four months and three days. The bridge opened on November 12, 1936, fifteen days after being blessed by Pope Pius XII. [C11] How many lives were lost during construction of the Bay Bridge? Twenty-four. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * GOLD RUSH [D-1] When was the gold rush? Gold was first discovered in the Sacramento Valley on January 24, 1848 by James Marshall in the millrace of the sawmill he was building for Johann Sutter in the town of Coloma. The first clipper ship to arrive in San Francisco was the Memnon, on July 28, 1849. It took 120 days to travel from New York. During the first three years of the Gold Rush, over 200,000 people flocked to California. [D-2] Who were the Forty-Niners? The first wave of fortune-seeking people who arrived in San Francisco in 1849 were known as the Forty-Niners. Most of the men were disinherited sons, adventurers or political undesirables. [D-3] How many men arrived in 1849? Thirty-eight thousand came by sea while forty-two thousand arrived by land. [D-4] What happened to their ships? The majority of them were simply abandoned in the bay as men were anxious to get to the Gold Country. Much of the materials from these ships would eventually be used for landfill, while some of them were docked and converted to hotels and stores. [D-5] Where were the gold mines? Mostly in the foothills of the California Sierra in the Sacramento/Stockton area. [D-6] How did they get to the mines from the City? The Sacramento River was very useful in getting men from San Francisco into Gold Country. Ferries shuttled them to the Sacramento area and from there, the men had to walk or ride horses to the mining camps. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * THE SUMMER OF LOVE [E-1] When did the Summer of Love take place? From November 1965 to January 1967. [E-2] What was it all about? It was a period of fantasy, a brief time where an idealism that isolated the flower children from the realities of the world until they were forced to face the harsh reality of the Vietnam War. During the Summer of Love, there were Be-Ins, Love-Ins, the Mime Troupe, Winterland, the Magic Bus, the Love Pageant Rally, the Trips Festival, the Fillmore, the Free Store, the Avalon Ballroom, the Street, and Bill Graham. People from all across the country flocked to San Francisco to celebrate free love and lots of drugs. LSD and Marijuana were the most common drugs of choice, as were Magic-Mushrooms, Ludes, and Heroin. [E-3] Where was it? The center was located at the corner of Haight and Ashbury Streets, known as the Hashbury, near the east end of Golden Gate Park. [E-4] Who were some of the artists who played during that time? Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, Ken Kessey and The Merry Pranksters, Janis Joplin, George Harrison, Grace Slick, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Timothy Leary and Lenny Bruce. [E-5] Where was the famous Grateful Dead headquarters? 710 Ashbury, just one block south of Haight. [E-6] Do you know the poem by Michael McClure? AND it is all perfect, this is really it and IT is all perfect, this is really it and it IS all perfect, this is really it and it is ALL perfect, this is really it and it is all PERFECT, this is really it and it is all perfect, THIS is really it and it is all perfect, this IS really it and it is all perfect, this is REALLY it and it is all perfect, this is really IT * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 1906 EARTHQUAKE AND FIRE [F-1] When did the earthquake occur? April 18, 1906, 5:12:05 AM [F-2] How strong was it? Had the richter scale been in use at the time, the 1906 quake would have measured 8.25 (The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake which occurred on October 17, 1989 measured 7.1). [F-3] Which fault was it? The San Andreas Fault, which was named, just eleven years prior to the earthquake, after a reservoir a few miles south of San Francisco. [F-4] How long did the initial temblor last? Forty-eight seconds. Many descriptions of the account indicate the ground moved in a swirling motion. [F-5] Were there any major aftershocks? There were, in fact, some twenty-six significant after- shocks that day. The first occurred at 5:18 AM and lasted a few seconds. Two more hit at 5:25 and 5:42 AM. Then at 8:14:28 AM, the second biggest temblor of the day happened, lasting about five seconds. Other after- shocks occurred at 9:13, 9:25, 10:49, and 11:05 AM and 12:03, 12:10, 2:23, 2:27, 4:50, 6:49, and 7:00 PM. As you can see, it was quite an eventful day. [F-6] How many buildings were destroyed? 28,000. [F-7] How many people died? # 674 is the official figure. However, according to re- search done by Gladys Hansen, curator of the Museum of the City of San Francisco, deaths resulting from causes other than those killed outright or shot were not counted. This list includes casualties from fallen structures and other objects, burns and explosions within one year of the earthquake, and suicides and heart attacks due to the trauma of suffering this most overwhelming event. If you include all of these figures the total death count is more than 3,000. [F-8] Why is this event referred to as the "Earthquake and Fire?" Several major fires broke out that morning, and for three days, the City burned. As much damage as there was due to the earthquake, fire probably destroyed far more property, allowing survivors to collect insurance money for their losses. Most of the City was destroyed by the conflagration, since the water system was all but wiped out from the earthquake. [F-9] What was the "Ham and Eggs" fire? # A woman was reportedly cooking breakfast in a building at 395 Hayes Street that had an earthquake-damaged chimney, allowing gas to accumulate in the walls of the house. The fire from the stove ignited the gas and sparked a fire which destroyed much of the Hayes Valley and Western Addition, plus a large section of the Van Ness corridor. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * GENERAL HISTORY & INFO [G-1] When was San Francisco discovered? June 17, 1579 [G-2] Who discovered the City? # In a nutshell, Portola. But his was not the first group to visit the area. The following description doesn't take into account the indian tribes that were already here...I'll try to add more info on that later. Sir Francis Drake, on an exploration for Elizabeth Regina of England sailed the Golden Hind to a location just outside the entrance to San Francisco Bay (after accomplishing his mission in the Pacific seizing Span- ish treasure). He landed here at Drakes Bay near Point Reyes to clean and repair his vessels. Much speculation has existed as to whether Drake actually found San Francisco Bay, but in the 1930's, a brass plate was discovered on a hillside near Greenbrae, just south of San Raphael, which proclaimed the discovery of the bay and its annexation to the crown of England. This plate provides physical proof that Drake, or at least, some- one in his expedition, did discover the bay. Extensive metallurgy and chemistry testing verified the plates' authenticity. The first mention of the actual entrance to the bay is from the 1769 Spanish expedition (by land) of Gaspar de Portola, which set out from San Diego in June. On November 1, Sgt. Jose Ortega, a pathfinder for Portola, discovered the entrance and called it La Boca del Puerto, meaning The Mouth of the Port. Father Juan Crespi, the party's diarist, writes: "This is not an estuary proper, but a large arm of the sea which enters the land for at least ten leagues. At narrowest point it must be about three leagues, and at the widest expanse it must be four. It is a very large and fine harbor, such that not only all the navy of our Most Catholic Majesty but those of all Europe could take shelter in it." By contrast, Sir Francis Drake called the bay merely a "convenient and fit harborough" lead- ing many people to believe that it was actually Portola who discovered San Francisco. The first known ship to have entered the bay was the San Carlos on August 5, 1775. It was commanded by Span- ish Navy Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala. [G-3] What was the original name of the City? Nova Albion, as christened by Sir Francis Drake, was the name of the San Francisco region. On June 29, 1776 the Presidio was established by the Spaniards, followed on October 9 by the Mission Dolores. The first American flag to be raised was on July 9, 1846 at Portsmouth Square. The "City" was named Yerba Buena and, following the gold rush of 1849, quickly grew into the metropolis of the west. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco on January 30, 1847. [G-4] How many people live in San Francisco? 739,600 as of 1993. [G-5] How big is the City? 49.2 square miles land area. [G-6] What is the highest hill in the City? Mt. Davidson is 938 feet. Closely following is Mt. Sutro at 918 feet, and Twin Peaks 910'5" and 903'8". As a point of reference, Nob hill is just 376 feet. Russian Hill is 294 feet while Telegraph Hill tops out at 284 feet. [G-7] What was the first street in San Francisco? Grant Street, formerly DuPont, was originally called Calle De La Fundacion (Street of the Founding). The Chinese community referred to it as DuPont Gai. [G-8] Where is the Crookedest Street? Lombard, between Hyde and Leavenworth. There are eight turns on the street, originally designed to make it easier for horses to climb up Russian Hill. If you want to get an idea of what it must have looked like before they made it crooked, check out Filbert Street, two blocks south of Lombard. It, like Lombard, is a one-way street from Hyde to Leavenworth. If you are driving, don't make the mistake most tourists make and try to drive up Lombard Street from Van Ness to get to the Crooked part. If you do, you will likely find yourself in a backup extending several blocks. Instead, follow the Cable Car northbound on Hyde and turn right onto Lombard. You'll almost always have an unobstructed path (an old cab driver trick). BTW, on southbound Hyde at Lombard, you cannot make a left turn onto Lombard. [G-9] Where is the Second Crookedest Street? Vermont Street, between 20th and 22nd Streets (seven turns, five full and two half turns). This is just a neighborhood street on Potrero Hill with no fanfare, or tourists. It isn't paved with bricks and has no fancy landscaping, but it's still a fun drive if you happen to be in the area. [G10] What is the steepest street? Filbert Street, between Hyde and Leavenworth, has a 31.5 degree grade. Better check your brakes before heading down this one-way roller coaster of a street. [G11] What is the longest street? Mission Street is 7.29 miles long, from the Embarcadero to Daly City where it becomes El Camino Real. [G12] What is the widest street? Sloat Blvd. is 135 feet wide, followed by Van Ness Ave. which is 125 feet wide. [G13] What was the first street number? One Montgomery was the first known house number in San Francisco, following a survey in 1845 by Jasper O'Farrell. [G14] What was the first paved street? Kearny, between Clay and Washington, in 1854. [G15] What is the longest tunnel in San Francisco? Twin Peaks Tunnel, from MUNI's Castro Street Station to the West Portal Station, is 2.25 miles long. The long- est vehicular tunnel is the Broadway Tunnel, from Pow- ell Street to Polk, and is 1,616 feet through its twin bores, 3,300 feet including the approaches. The General Douglas MacArthur Tunnel from Funston Ave. to the Gold- en Gate Bridge is 1,270 feet long while the Stockton tunnel is 911 feet between Bush and Sacramento. It was the first tunnel in the City to accommodate vehicular and pedestrian traffic. [G16] What is the oldest restaurant in the City? Tadich's Grill was founded in 1849. [G17] What was the original name for San Francisco Internat- ional Airport? Mills Field, after the estate which once occupied the site. [G18] What is the official City Song? I Left My Heart In San Francisco. [G19] What are the lyrics? The loveliness of Paris Seems somehow sadly gay The glory that was Rome Is of another day I've been terribly alone And forgotten in Manhattan I'm going home To my city by the bay I left my heart in San Francisco High on a hill, it calls to me To be where little cable cars Climb halfway to the stars The morning fog may chill the air I don't care My love waits there In San Francisco Above the blue and windy sea When I come home to you San Francisco Your golden sun will shine for me * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * PEOPLE [H-1] Brannan, Sam Sam Brannan came to San Francisco (then Yerba Buena) in 1846 with some two hundred fifty Latter-day Saints in an effort to create a great Mormon empire on the shores of San Francisco Bay. He sailed around the Horn to the Sandwich Islands, and then to the Golden Gate, while Brigham Young led a much larger army of Latter-day Saints across the Rockies toward Salt Lake City. He sailed into the bay on the Brooklyn and spotted a small group of houses on Telegraph Hill, with an American flag flying overhead. He performed the first non-Catholic wedding in Calif- ornia and the first wedding under the American flag in San Francisco. He also delivered the first sermon in the English language and the first non-Catholic sermon and was the first defendant in a court of law under the American flag, having been charged of misuse of funds by the Mormon association. A hung jury led to his re- lease and ended the power of the Mormons in the City. In the meantime, Brannan had collected a fairly large sum of money and used some of it to set up his flower mill (the first in California) which he had brought with him on the Brooklyn. He also started San Francis- co's first newspaper, The California Star which pro- claimed the need for a public school, which was then built. Brannan made the first contribution to it. When Brannan reported the discovery of gold in January of 1848 at Sutter's mill (against Sutter's pleading) the rush was on. Many of the people who came to seek their fortunes were lawbreakers, flocking to the Bay Area like rats on a spree. In 1851, Sam Brannan, in his office, organized the First Vigilance Committee to oversee the duties of upholding the law. Brannan lost his fortune on a project in Napa Valley at the foot of Mt. Helena when hot springs were discovered there. Brannan became a dispirited alcoholic, throwing all of his money at the Calistoga project until there was nothing left. He retired to San Diego, married a Mexican woman and died penniless at the age of seventy. [H-2] Emperor Norton Born Joshua A. Norton, he tried to corner the rice mar- ket in 1853 and went bankrupt, then disappeared until 1859, when he showed up on the streets of the City. He had apparently lost more than his money, as his sanity appeared to be questionable. He proclaimed himself Norton the First, Emperor of the United States and Pro- tector of Mexico. For the next twenty years, he ruled his imaginary world from his throne in San Francisco, where his popularity remained strong. He even printed his own money, which many local merchants gladly accepted in good faith. [H-3] Lucky Baldwin Elias J. Baldwin, taking his enormous Comstock fortune, built a grand Hotel and Theatre to rival the Palace Hotel down the street. Baldwin's Hotel was touted as the finest hotel west of New York City, and in nearly every way, it was. Unfortunately, the property was un- insured when fire struck on November 23, 1898, destroy- ing the entire structure. The financial loss to Baldwin was nearly insurmountable. The Flood building, a Flatiron, now occupies the site at the foot of Powell Street where the Baldwin hotel once stood. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ATTRACTIONS [I-1] What are some of the better hotels in the City? The Ritz Carlton, Fairmont, Mark Hopkins, St. Francis, Clift, Marriott Downtown, Hyatt Regency, Pan Pacific, and Palace Hotel are some of the best. Other good est- ablishments are the Mansions Hotel, The Hilton, Sir Francis Drake, Campton Place, Stanford Court and ANA. [I-2] Where is the major commercial area of the City? Union Square, at Geary and Powell, is the premier real estate when it comes to shopping in San Francisco. Sax Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Gumps, Nieman-Marcus, and soon, Bloomingdales, not to mention, the San Francisco Centre which houses Nordstroms, and lots of other fine stores. The circular escalator in the Centre is a must see. [I-3] What are the normal hours of these stores? In general, the hours are 10am to 5pm Mon-Sat and Noon to 5pm on Sunday. The shops on Pier 39 stay open much later, as do many establishments on Fisherman's Wharf. [I-4] What about local culture? The Geary and Curran Theater's near Union Square along with several other production houses in the area make Geary and Mason the right place to be when you want to see a play. The American Conservatory Theater is here, as well. Civic Center is home to Davies Symphony Hall, War Memorial Opera House, and the San Francisco Ballet. Museums include the MOMA near Yerba Buena Ctr. and the Palace of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park. Also, the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and the Mexican Museum on Lower Fort Mason. At the Palace of Fine Arts, you'll find the Exploratorium, and in Golden Gate Park, the Academy of Sciences. Great music halls include the Warfield, the Orpheum, Bill Graham Memorial Civic Auditorium, the Fillmore, and the Great American Music Hall, which used to be a gambling house and brothel. As far as movie theater's go, San Francisco has some of the best. The Alhambra is perhaps my favorite, followed by the Presidio, the Coronet, the Metro, the Royal, and the Regency I & II (the latter formerly known as the Avalon Ballroom). Each is an old-style, single movie theater. It doesn't even matter if the movie is any good...just being there is a San Francisco experience. Note: I was saddened to discover that the Alhambra closed its doors recently. Word is the building is being consid- ered for use as a jazz club. If this theater doesn't reopen for business, the City will have truly lost one of its great landmarks. Second Note: I now find that the Royal has closed and is rumoured to be under consideration for use as a health club. Mean- while, down Van Ness a few blocks, a movie complex is currently being built that will house seventeen thea- ter's (or so I've heard). Progress marches any cost. [I-5] Where is Golden Gate Park? Golden Gate Park extends from Stanyan Street on the east to Great Highway at the beach, about three miles long. It is about one-half mile wide from Fulton Street on the north to Lincoln Blvd. on the south. The Haight- Ashbury is adjacent to the park, just south of the Pan- handle. By comparison, Central Park in NYC is a half-mile wide and two-and-a-half miles long. Some of the attractions in the park are the Arboretum, the Japanese Tea Garden, the DeYoung Museum, the Acad- emy of Sciences and Steinhart Aquarium, and the Beach Chalet. [I-6] When was the park created? Legislation for the building of a large public park was approved by the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors on January 14, 1868 following a clamor by the residents of the City. The park was officially established on April 4, 1870. On May 6, 1870 the sale of $100,000 in bonds for the construction of the park was announced. Maps and plans for the early work were prepared and adopted on February 15, 1871. Most of the major work on the park was finished by the end of 1871. [I-7] What is the oldest building in the park? The Conservatory of Flowers. Designed to be identical to the one in London's Kew Gardens, James Lick ordered the Conservatory in 1875 for his property in San Josť. He died the following year and the huge greenhouse was purchased by a group of San Franciscans, including Leland Stanford, and pre- sented to the new Golden Gate Park. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * BUILDINGS [J-1] What is the oldest building in the City? Mission Dolores, established in June 1776 was origin- ally a brush shelter located at about 18th and Church until the present structure on Dolores and 16th was completed in 1791. The church was built entirely by Indians and is 114 feet long, 22 feet wide with adobe walls about four feet thick. [J-2] What is the tallest building? The TransAmerica Pyramid, located at 600 Montgomery is 853 feet high, housing 48 floors. The Bank of America Building has 52 floors, but rises to just 779 feet. 345 California is 724 feet, with 42 floors and 101 Calif- ornia is 600 feet, with 48 floors. Number 5 Fremont is also 600 feet, with 43 floors. [J-3] Where is Postcard Row? Steiner Street, between Hayes and Fulton across from Alamo Square. Walk up the hill to about Pierce and Hayes for the best view. Wanna cool picture? Try going to this spot early in the morning for a nice sunrise surprise. [J-4] What qualifies a house as a Painted Lady? It must be a Victorian and have a felicitous blend of color and architecture; the house must be painted in three or more contrasting colors; the color shall be used to bring out the decorative ruffles and flourishes of the building. [J-5] Where are some must see Painted Ladies? My absolute favorite is 1198 Fulton, at Scott. Built in 1882, this Stick/Italianate villa, the Westerfield Mansion (San Francisco Landmark No. 135) has housed such notables as Ken Kesey, Kenneth Anger and Charles Manson. Perhaps the most beautiful example of the Queen Ann/ French Revival style house is located at 1057 Steiner. The attention to detail is exquisite. Another beau- tiful Queen Anne is at 573 South Van Ness between 16th and 17th. Broderick Row is a must see, consisting of fourteen Queen Annes between McAllister and Fulton Streets. 701 Broderick is fantastic. Another great Colonial at 2000 Pacific at Octavia is worth mentioning as are 2026 California, 1807 Octavia and 2733-35 California. Don't overlook 415 Fillmore, between Page and Oak, either. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * HOLLYWOODLAND [K-1] What are some famous movies filmed in/about San Fran- cisco? Here's a short list: The Maltese Falcon, Wells Fargo, All About Eve, The Caine Mutiny, The High And The Mighty, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Vertigo, How The West Was Won, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, Point Blank, The Graduate, Bullitt, The Love Bug, Dirty Harry, Magnum Force, Towering Inferno, High Anxiety, California Suite, Foul Play, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Escape From Al- catraz, 48 Hours, Sudden Impact, The Right Stuff, The Woman In Red, Big Trouble In Little China, Peggy Sue Got Married, Star Trek IV, The Dead Pool, The Presidio, True Believer, Another 48 Hours, Pacific Heights, Class Action, The Doors, Basic Instinct, Sister Act, So I Married An Axe Murderer, Fearless, Homeward Bound, Mrs. Doubtfire, Unforgiven, The Rock, Metro. [K-2] Where was Mrs. Doubtfire filmed? 2640 Steiner Street, corner of Broadway, in Pacific Heights. [K-3] Where was Pacific Heights filmed? 1243 Nineteenth Street, corner of Texas, on Potrero Hill, not Pacific Heights. The view from this location was just too good for Hollywood to pass up. [K-4] Where was that famous car chase from Bullitt? I haven't seen this movie in some time so I'm recalling the route from memory: From Nob Hill at California Street, follow Taylor Street north towards the bay. At Broadway, you'll climb to the top of Russian Hill (the peak is Vallejo Street) and travel down the other side. You won't make the jumps at Green Street and Union Street like they did, I hope, but you can always use your imagination. Turn left on Chestnut Street and cross Hyde (watch out for cable cars and other traffic since they have no stop sign) then make a right turn onto Larkin. The curve on Larkin is where Steve McQueen scrapes the wall as he rounds the bend. From this point, as is often the case, Hollywood takes a few liberties with City streets. The chase is contin- ued on Marina Blvd. quite a ways from Russian Hill and then ends up on San Bruno Mountain, in San Mateo Coun- ty. One word of caution; Taylor Street is heavily travelled by taxi drivers who use the road to get from the Wharf to Union Square, so if you drive too slowly along this route, expect to incur their wrath. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * BIBLIOGRAPHY [L-1] Cable Car Days in San Francisco Edgar M. Kahn Stanford University Press, 1946 [L-2] Denial of Disaster, The Untold Story and Photographs of the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906 Gladys Hansen and Emmett Condon Cameron and Company, 1989 [L-3] Fifteen Seconds, The Great California Earthquake of 1989 David Cohen, Doug Menuez, Ron Grant Tussy Island Press, 1989 [L-4] Good Life in Hard Times, San Francisco's '20s and '30s Jerry Flamm Chronicle Books, 1978 [L-5] International Port of Call, An Illustrated Maritime History of the Golden Gate Robert J. Schwendinger Windsor Publications, 1984 [L-6] Knopf Guides, San Francisco Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1993 [L-7] Mirror of the Dream, An Illustrated History of S. F. T. H. Watkins and R. R. Olmsted The Scrimshaw Press, 1976 [L-8] San Francisco, A Sunset Pictorial Edited by Jack McDowell Sunset Books and Sunset Magazine, 1969 [L-9] San Francisco: Adventurers and Visionaries Richard H. Dillon Continental Heritage Press, 1983 [L10] San Francisco Almanac, Everything You Want to Know About Everyone's Favorite City Gladys Hansen, S. F. City Archivist Chronicle Books, 1995 [L11] San Francisco As It Is, As It Was Paul C. Johnson and Richard Reinhart Doubleday, 1979 [L12] San Francisco Bay, A Pictorial Maritime History John Haskell Kemble Bonanza, 1978 [L13] San Francisco's Golden Era Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg Howell-North, 1960 [L14] San Francisco's Mayors (1850-1880) William F. Heintz and Gladys C. Hansen Gilbert Richards Publications, 1975 [L15] San Francisco, Mission to Metropolis Oscar Lewis Howell-North, 1980 [L16] Spanning The Gate, A Photo Documentary Stephen Cassady Squarebooks, 1979 [L17] The Cable Car Book Charles Smallwood, Warren Edward Miller, Don DeNevi Celestial Arts, 1980 [L18] The Earth Shook, The Sky Burned William Bronson Doubleday, 1959 [L19] The Golden Gazette, News from newspapers of 1848-1857 Edited by Dudley T. Ross Valley Publishers, 1978 [L20] The Making of Golden Gate Park, The Early Years (1865-1906) Raymond H. Clary A California Living Book, 1980 [L21] The Natural World of San Francisco Harold Gilliam and Michael Bry Doubleday, 1967 [L22] The San Francisco Earthquake Gordon Thomas, Max Morgan Witts Stein and Day, 1971 [L23] The Suburbs of San Francisco William Chapin, Alvin D. Hyman, Jonathan Carroll Chronicle Books, 1969 [L24] The Summer of Love, Haight-Ashbury at its Highest Gene Anthony Celestial Arts, 1980 [L25] The Ultimate Guide, San Francisco Randolph Delehanty Chronicle Books, 1989 [L26] Treasure Island, San Francisco's Exposition Years Richard Reinhardt Scrimshaw Press, 1973 [L27] and, of course, WWW.SFMUSEUM.ORG, Gladys Hansen If you are visiting San Francisco, be sure to stop by the museum located on the third floor of the Cannery on Fisherman's Wharf. Admission is free, but dona- tions are appreciated. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * NOTES [M-1] Why was this FAQ created? # As a cab driver in the City, I meet people from all walks of life, including locals who have been around for fifty years and wide-eyed tourists visiting for the first time. The locals often fill me in on various tid- bits about San Francisco while the tourists ask me so many questions it makes my head spin. That's quite all right, however, since I love the City with a passion and welcome any opportunity to demonstrate my knowledge of its history. After awhile, I began to hear many of the same questions over and over, so I thought it would be a good idea to create a FAQ that dealt with the sub- ject of San Francisco, a city that has beguiled me for more than a decade. Though there are several websites that cover the hist- ory of San Francisco, they often encompass many volumes of pages and can be quite difficult to navigate. Some- times all you want is a simple answer to a fairly ob- vious question, and that is where this document comes into play. Written in true FAQ form, you may view it in any number of programs, including your web browser, word processor or even a simple text editor. And since it consists of just one page, it is easy to download to your computer for future reference. You can attach it to an e-mail to send to a friend, as it is rather small in size. Best of all, it's completely FREE! If you know of something that should be included, or you find something which you believe to be in error, please don't hesitate to e-mail me at the address list- ed below. I want this FAQ to be as accurate and inclus- ive as I can make it. Check back occasionally and you'll probably find an up- dated version of this FAQ. -RWS * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

URL for Robert Summers:

San Francisoc History Index