City Hall



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San Francisco's first City Hall was at Kearny/Pacific, starting in 1850. In 1852, the city purchased the Jenny Lind Theater at Kearney/Washington for use as a new City Hall. Left: the Jenny Lind Theater in the 1850s, on the east side of Portsmouth Square (Kearny/Washington). Right: City Hall (formerly Jenny Lind Theater) in 1866, next to Hall of Justice (formerly the El Dorado).



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The large triangle bounded by Larkin/McAllister/Market, today the site of the Asian Art Museum and new Library, was Yerba Buena Cemetery on Eddy's 1849 map ("Yerba Buena Park" on Gensoul's 1863 map). Construction on a new City Hall (now usually called "Old City Hall") at the site began in 1872 and continued for decades. It was finally completed in 1897, at a total cost of $6,000,000. Watkins stereoview 1614 (click here for crosseyed viewing) shows the laying of the cornerstone on 2/22/1872, looking northeast.



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The 1886 Sanborn map shows the position of the building. Center: view from Market street in Glover's 1895 Illustrated Directory. The 1905 photo at right looks west up McAllister, past the Hall of Records.



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Old City Hall was badly damaged by the 1906 earthquake and fire but not demolished until 1909. The postcard at center was written on 5/07/1906, about three weeks after the earthquake.



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Construction on the current City Hall at Fulton/Van Ness began in 1913 and finished in late 1915. Left: 3/15/1914. Right: ca. 1930.



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