Hotels: Fairmont Hotel

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The Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill was in the final stages of construction when the 1906 earthquake/fire struck. The first three of these pre-quake images look west up California Street, while the fourth looks northwest from Sutter/Grant; two have added post-earthquake captions. Left: Novelty Import 3. Next: Behrendt 15, postmarked SF 11/09/1908. Next: Weidner 161, postmarked SF 8/20/1907. Right: Weidner 159, postmarked Haywards 10/05/1907. California Street Hill shows earlier images, predating the 1903 onset of Fairmont construction.

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The Fairmont remained structurally sound after the earthquake but was heavily damaged by the ensuing fire. Left: Rieder-Cardinell looks north on Powell from Pine. Right: Souvenir Post Card 4631F, postmarked New Haven Conn. 10/23/1910, looks west from Stockton toward the Sacramento St. side of the hotel. The common misspelling "Fairmount" for "Fairmont" appears on both these cards and on two other cards above.

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The Fairmont opened in 1907 after repair of earthquake/fire damage. Left: Weidner 680, postmarked SF 10/13/1908. The steps on the Powell St. side appear to still be under construction. Center: Britton & Rey 1083, caption "under the Management of Palace Hotel Company". The Palace Hotel Co. leased the Fairmont starting in July 1907 while it constructed a replacement for the Hotels: Palace Hotel on Market Street. The new Palace opened in December 1909, so this card must date from between 1907 and 1909. Right: Britton & Rey 1083, the same image but with later "unsurpassed Scenic Panorama" caption and with added vegetation.

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Fairmont (postmarked SF 10/06/1951) and Fairmont (postmarked 7/07/1966) show the Fairmont's Tonga Room, which Anthony Bourdain called "the greatest place in the history of the world". Ella writes in 1951 that she's lonesome being stuck in her room all day while her husband plays golf with his boss and co-workers. Upside: her hives are about gone and she got to eat dinner at the Tonga Room. Ken notes in 1966 that "Frisco is good but not as good as New York City was in 1964."

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