Friday, January 21, 2011

San Francisco Architecture Tour

We're not very traditional when it comes to anniversary presents. The traditional 20th wedding anniversary gift is china, but we've gotten rid of so much stuff to move here that we're not really anxious to start collecting more stuff just yet. Not to mention that we've used the china that we got for our wedding maybe 5 times in the past 20 years. We don't need no stinkin' china.

So when we heard about a 2 hour Architecture Walking Tour through downtown San Francisco, we decided to do that as our gifts to each other instead. Now, if you know me or have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I love architecture and had once dreamed of becoming an architect. And Jimmy minored in history, so even the history of architecture interests him. Plus we both like knowing little tidbits about the neighborhood we live in. This was a much more appropriate gift for us rather than some fine china.

The day started out foggy so we weren't certain that we'd get the full advantage of the tour, but the fog lifted soon after the tour started and we were able to see all the buildings in all their glory.

The Hobart Building on Market Street was built in 1914 and is considered the best post-earthquake building in the city. At 21 floors, it was the 2nd tallest building in the city at that time.

The Hunter-Dulin building at 111 Sutter Street was built in 1926 and is San Francisco's only Romanesque French Chateau style building.

This ceiling of the lobby was covered with so much black soot from cigarette smoke, that no one knew that it had been hand painted. But during renovations 5-10 years ago, they discovered the painted ceiling and restored it to its original beauty. It's hard to believe that there was that much smoking going on between 1926 when the building was built till smoking was banned in public buildings that it covered the painting in its entirety.

This is one of the narrowest buildings in San Francisco at 20 feet wide and 10 stories high. Built in 1910, it was originally a garment manufacturing building, manufacturing thin garments like neckties, belts and suspenders.

We saw several more beautiful buildings during the tour, but one of the most interesting things we learned more about are POPOS: Privately Owed Public Open Space. POPOS are publicly accessible spaces, like plazas, roof gardens or atriums, that are owned and maintained by the owner of an office building. There are 68 of them in downtown San Francisco and many of them are secret little gems with beautiful gardens and gorgeous city views. I'll go into more detail about them later.


Shammickite said...

That's a great way to celebrate an anniversary, just do whatever your heart desires rather than stick to tradition made up by someone else! I thought you were going to say it was a trip to China, instead of actually buying china! but SF architecture is way better. Love the fact that thin items were manufactured in that thin building! I'm going to take the same tour when I come to SF..... whenever that will be!
And I just checked out your pix of the last 20 years, great photos, Happy Happy Anniversary Mad and Jimmy! 20 years is a long time, may the next 20 be even happier for you both. Hugs from me in c-c-c-cold canada.... -18C this morning!

Ginnie said...

Now I know for sure that you and I are sisters, Mad! Seriously. I'm sure I was an architect in a past life. European architecture in particular enthralls me. I can never get too much of it. And we're like you in not wanting to collect anything else except memories and trips and tours where we can store them only on our hard drives, external/internal. Carry on!