Friday, January 5, 2018

Strolling San Francisco, Arm-in-Arm

The holidays are now past, the kids have flown back to college and winter has clenched its icy fingers around our town.  Methinks it's time to return to the regularly scheduled programming for my blog, such as retirement updates, last summer's trips to Canada and the UK, hikes and status reports on log house construction.  Today we commence with the third and final day of our August visit to #1 Daughter in San Francisco.  (See Day 1 and Day 2 posts)


We began our day at the San Francisco Railway Museum, a free gem stuffed with memorabilia of the antique streetcars of the F Market and Wharves, and national landmark cable cars that continue to run along the city's major arteries.  Cable cars run on steel rails with a slot beneath them.  Under the slot, below the street, is an endless cable powered by elaborate winding machinery in a central powerhouse.  In 1957, San Fran became the last city to operate cable cars as something other than a tourist attraction. 


Streetcars also run on steel rails, but have a trolley pole on the roof that connects to a single overhead electric wire.

Clock Tower of Ferry Building peeks out behind sculpture









After negotiating massive Market Street, we entered a food and beverage paradise known as the Ferry Building.  I was immediately jealous of anyone who lives or works near this mecca; the options for breakfast, lunch and dinner are endless!  Designed in 1892 by American architect A. Page Brown in the Beaux Arts style, the building was completed in 1898.  The entire length of the building on both sides is based on an arched arcade.  Brown designed the clock tower after the 12-century Giralda bell tower in Seville, Spain; the 245-foot-tall tower has four clock dials, each 22 feet in diameter.

And elements of the structure, such as its mosaics, are captivating. 


Bottom: the Great Nave
With the decreased use since the 1950s, after bridges were constructed across the bay to carry passenger traffic, the building was adapted to office use and its public spaces broken up.  In 2002, a restoration and renovation were undertaken to redevelop the entire complex.  The 660-foot long Great Nave was restored, together with its height and materials.  A marketplace was created on the ground floor, the former baggage handling area.

With our eyes and nostrils satiated by the culinary delights of the Ferry Building, by pure chance we stumbled upon Bechtel Plaza in search of a quiet spot to enjoy our cake and coffee.  What a find!

A plaque to one side of the square notes: "Dedicated 4/29/1978 in observance of the Bechtel organization's 80th anniversary and the dedication of its 45 Fremont Street Building.  This plaza honors the warm and gifted leader who guided Bechtel to a prominent and honorable worldwide role in engineering, construction and management of projects."

Tastefully tucked behind branching trees, a railroad car beckons gently with its curious name and ornate glass windows.

In the 1920s, the WaaTeeKaa was home to Steve and Laura Bechtel and their family at remote construction sites in the west.  This vintage car has been restored to replicate the original.  On 9/24/88, to commemorate Bechtel's 90th anniversary, the car was dedicated as the Bechtel Museum (free!) in honor of the can-do spirit of Bechtel's men and women: past, present and future.  Inside the railroad car, the engineering achievements of the company's employees are documented, from public sights such as Hoover Dam and the Oakland Bay Bridge to less visible endeavors such as military ships and solar arrays.  I didn't know much about Bechtel when I entered the plaza, but I was certainly educated and impressed when I left.

The Concord Coach - an original!  One of ten
Wells Fargo ordered in 1867
Ironic, then, that our next stop should be the Wells Fargo Museum; Wells Fargo seems to be on the opposite end of the corporate spectrum with embarrassing scandals.  But that didn't hold us back from enjoying its historic exhibits (free!)  The Abbot-Downing Company of Concord, New Hampshire, crafted these 2,000 lb. coaches from stout oak, ash, hickory and elm.  The exterior was brightly decorated with gold leaf, and the interior featured fine leather and plush fabrics.

Only part of the map is shown

This 1874 map shows Wells Fargo's express routes by stagecoach (in red), by train (in black) and by steamship (dotted).  Even with the expansion of the railway lines, many towns still depended on the stagecoach for connections to the world.  From 1866 to 1869, Wells Fargo operated the major overland stagecoach routes west of the Missouri River, covering 2,500 miles of territory from Nebraska to California and north into Montana.  So, the next time you want to complain about air travel, consider sharing the coach with 8 of your closest companions at a rate of 5 miles per hour!

While travel may have been challenging in those days, opulence and luxury could be found by those with the cold, hard cash.  The famous Palace Hotel, upon its original construction in 1875, was the best and grandest hotel in America west of the Mississippi, and an icon of San Fran wealth and pride.

In reflection, you can see some of the 63,000 panes comprising the glass ceiling
Every room had its own bathroom, a novelty even among luxury properties, and rooms could communicate by interconnected pneumatic tubes.  The original building was destroyed by fire following the 1906 earthquake; today's building dates to 1909.
I found the marble, glass and crystal of the atrium mesmerizing.
Top middle: I wouldn't want to be the fellow in charge of cleaning the chandeliers!

Reluctantly, we parted ways with #1 Daughter; she split for work at the theater and we moseyed back to Berkeley from some nosh.
Yes, that is Man with Hat!



Our memories of San Francisco will always be inextricably intertwined with our daughter, and this exceptional visit to the city.



I think I left part of my heart in San Francisco ... strolling arm-in-arm with #1 Daughter, a little bit of love and contentment spilled out. 
 

Linking to:

Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday Graphic

33 comments:

  1. ...yet another place to put on my to see list! Have a great weekend.

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  2. Looks like a great visit to a beautiful city. Good for you.
    Amalia
    xo

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  3. Looks like a wonderful place to wander around. I do love the history of an area. And to see that the architecture from time gone by has been restored. I've never been to California. Growing up in the south, it always seemed like foreign land because it was so far away. :) And now look where I am. :/

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  4. What a wonderful visit you had. I love that last tender shot.

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  5. Enjoy returning to "life" now the school holidays are over. Here it is summer and the holidays are at their peak. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018. Happy travels and thank you for visiting my blog last week.

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  6. Such beauty and rich history, especially at the Palace Hotel. Oh, the joy of spending quality time with one's daughter! Wishing you many more such moments in 2018.

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  7. I just love that pic of you and your daughter! Reminds me of me and mine. :) Great trip! I love San Fran, though when I was there it was soooo cold and it was summer....lol Thanks for your comments on my blog. I love changing out my header and such, brings out my creativity. Have a great week! :) Kit

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  8. Thanks for the memories (and for the reminder that we didn't see it all! ... as we never seem to do ... seems like anywhere we go, there is always a reason to go back!) Great picture of you and your daughter! And thinking of cleaning that chandelier makes me dizzy. I have trouble doing our ceiling fans ... which are about 100 times closer to the ground.

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  9. How very nice to be able to see the city with your daughter. That Ferry building really is something. So great that it could be restored and used. You and your daughter hand in hand look like two schoolgirls!

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  10. What a special visit and beautiful city! I love the picture of you and your daughter! So precious and can especially relate to the feelings you describe as my daughter will be going off to college from the spring!! ♡

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  11. Love SF and left my heart there the first time we visited in the 1980s. Thanks for the visual visit. Happy New Year!

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  12. Angie, I love the last photo with the girls and the bridge in the background. Sylvia D.

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  13. I am not sure if my comments posted as I am having some internet problems. I loved this posting and enjoyed all the photos. I also liked the last photo very much.

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  14. One of my favorite cities! I love the Ferry building too! I've never been to the museum or the Palace Hotel. Next time!

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  15. San Francisco is a city I have yet to visit and you've whet my appetite for going. The Palace Hotel is beautiful with all the glass and crystal. How interesting that the bell tower is designed after the Giralda Tower in Seville. I've been there!

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  16. Happy New Year!
    I enjoyed strolling San Francisco with your camera.
    I especially like the original Concord Coach.That is beautiful in the design and the color! Have a good new week!

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  17. Loved seeing San Fran through your eyes today, we visited there in the early '90's and saw nothing of the sights you've shared today so now I want to go back!
    Love the mosaic mosaic, thanks for sharing you wonderful trip with us at MM this week.

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  18. wow thank you for virtual trip of San Francisco !

    looks incredible city with amazing views and garden and magnificent architecture !

    i think the most precious part of your visit is the meeting with daughter and it will stay in the most warm corner of your heart

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  19. Your photos and story were lovely to see and read. It brought me back to when I lived in the City once upon a time for 23 years. I used to ride the M street car to and from work for awhile. Did you know that King Kalakaua of Hawaii died at the Palace Hotel in 1901 and President Harding in 1923?

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    1. Yes. And Harding was embalmed in one of the bathtubs!

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  20. Thank you Angie for visiting my blog and I am thrilled to see (through your photos) you wonderful visit to San Francisco. Amazing history.
    Joy

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  21. I LOVE SF, isn't that a beautiful city? So many things to see, enjoy and marvel at. Let me ask you something -- do you travel with a notebook and pen in your hand :-)? How do you remember to collect so much information on a visit? As usual very informative.

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    1. My secret to thorough information is to take pictures of the information signs in museums, or pages out of guidebooks!

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  22. Thank you Angie, for showing us outstanding items of San Francisco.

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  23. Wow, what a tour.
    I got a chance to work some of then engineers from Bechtel some decades ago. It was a highlight of my career.

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  24. Wonderful visit - love all the details of the museum

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  25. My husband had frequent business meetings in San Francisco through the years, and I was fortunate enough to go along with him on many occasions and explore the city on my own while he was at work. I have so many fond memories of SF, and I enjoyed seeing the highlights of your visit, Angie.

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  26. You had me thinking of that Tony Bennettt song too. Thank you for that very informative and interesting trip around San Francisco. Lovely photos too Angie. And now I've seen a real live Wells Fargo stagecoach, part of my childhood watching all those western films with the stagecoach careering across the landscape pursued by Red Indians.

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  27. Hello, San Francisco is a beautiful city. I have been there a few times, hubby's sister lived there for awhile. I love your city tour and photos. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

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  28. Thanks for sharing your visit with these lovely photos.

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  29. I visited San Francisco for the first time last year and loved it. Very much enjoyed reliving the trip through your photos.

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  30. San Francisco is one of my favorite destinations. Love your posts with all the beautiful shots.

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