Built to look reminiscent of a fireman's hose nozzle, this building is dedicated to the firefighters of San Francisco. It was built in memory of Lillie Hitchcock Coit on land she had left to the city on her death in 1929.
The buildings in the foreground are Victorians that have been redone with modern siding, etc.
Palace of Fine Arts
Viewing it from the street entrance.
External Fire Escape
Fire escapes were added as an afterthought to the architecture after many people were dying in fires and unable to escape. Since they weren't part of the original designs of the Victorian buildings, and the buildings were butted right up to each other with no room on the sides and back to add the escapes, they were added to the front.
After they became an "acceptable" part of the architecture of the city, many of the new constructions also designed them to be on the front of buildings to save space.
As viewed from the Cafe de la Presse. This beautiful landmark, at the entrance to Chinatown on Bush and Grant, is the entrance to the oldest Chinatown in North America (est. 1848) and the largest Chinese community outside of Asia.
This is on the corner right beside the hotel (Hotel Triton) we stayed at for 12 days on this trip.
Hotel Triton facade
Viewed from the corner of Bush and Grant, in front of Starbucks.
Lobby of the Hotel Triton
Grant Avenue looking down from the corner of Bush Street.
Oh, so much goodness to be had here...
Many of the original Victorian houses are being restored and painted in bright colours. It makes some of the streets look like bakery window displays, with cupcakes all lined up in a row!
Houses with 3 or more colours of paint on them are called "Painted Ladies".
Eglise Notre Dame des Victoires
"Our Lady of Victory Church" - on Bush Street, near Grant Avenue.
Eglise Notre Dame des Victoires
This lovely church is small in comparison to some in the city, and tucked into this little nook like a beautiful, classic, diminutive hardcover book among many other taller and more modern volumes. Walking along the reverse side on the next street over I noticed that there is a French Catholic school run out of the building, also.
This was a random apartment building that we were passing by. But I loved the little decorative scrolls that reminded me of dapper little moustaches on nearly every window so much that I had to take a picture!
Pacific Coast Stock Exchange building
The Classical Roman Temple look that the front of this building mimics is typical of the many Classical Greek and Roman architectural throwbacks visible throughout the city. I didn't go in, but apparently the interior has been much changed from its original design. It currently houses Equinox Fitness. More on the history of this building here.
The two sculptures on either end of the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange building are meant to represent Industry and Agriculture. I didn't know that as I was standing there gazing at the structure. The woman holding the grain reminded me of Demeter, the Greek goddess of agriculture whose daughter Persephone was tricked into marrying Hades, lord of the Underworld.
Demeter searched for her daughter for a year before finding her, and then struck a bargain that Persephone would stay with Demeter six months of the year on the surface and the other six months with Hades in the Underworld, which is how the Greeks explained the seasons.
Old Saint Mary's Cathedral
The Old Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, on the corner of Grant Avenue and California Street, was one of the visual rewards of a walk through Chinatown. I loved the sign beneath the clock:
"Son, observe the time and fly from evil. Ecclesiasticus 4:23" According to Wikipedia, "This sentiment was aimed at the men who frequented the surrounding brothels in the 1850s."
The brick structure survived the earthquake and fires of 1906, but not unscathed. It has been renovated and expanded a couple of times to bring it to its current form.
And no, the irony of a psychic right across the street was not lost on me.
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