Hotels: St. Francis Hotel



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These four cards use the same pre-quake image of the St. Francis Hotel, which opened in 1904. Left: Weidner 116, credit front left, AutoChrom logo; caption typo "San Francis" for "St. Francis". Center: Weidner 116, credit front left, no AutoChrom logo, new post-quake caption; postmarked SF 8/14/1907. An earlier Weidner 116 variant written in SF on 6/21/1904 notes the "view of our new hotel that has recently been opened", so the image must date from early 1904. Next: Britton & Rey 473, unmailed but dated "Feby - 1905". Right: Weidner 150, embossed, mailed but no cancellation date. Weidner's embossed b+w cards are particularly striking; sadly, their tactile quality is not captured by scans. Britton & Rey 545 and Roesch (not shown) are other early St. Francis cards.



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A new wing just north of the two original wings was under construction when the earthquake struck in 1906. Left: Rieder-Cardinell 6932, postmarked 2/09/1907, looks south from Nob Hill toward the fire south of Market early in the day on 4/18/1906. The steel framework of the new wing of the St. Francis under construction is at left center, with the original wings just beyond. Next: Rieder-Cardinell (postmarked 6/10/1906, less than two months after the earthquake) and Behrendt 221 both show tents in post-quake Union Square. Right: Weidner 217, postmarked SF 4/14/1907, looks west across Union Square after the earthquake. Almost exactly a year after the quake, the sender writes "Very little improvement".



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Left: Galloway 20, postmarked SF 11/28/1905, shows the hotel with the completed third wing, but in fact the third wing was still under construction on 4/18/1906, as seen above. Next: Rieder, written 9/03/1906; the caption notes that it shows the hotel "as it is to be restored"; Britton & Rey (postmarked SF 10/13/1908) and Cardinell-Vincent 152 show the same image in color. Next: Britton & Rey (postmark illegible). Right: Roesch, postmarked 5/02/1907, is a promotional advertising card for the hotel; Behrendt 11 and Mitchell 308 use the same image. Another Behrendt 11 is postmarked SF 3/09/1906, although the third wing was not completed until 1908. The hotel added a fourth wing in 1913.



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Left: Pacific Novelty 389, with stamped P.P.I.E. promotion. The north wing as shown here is just a proposal; the fourth wing tower was never built and the bottom floors as built differ from the design shown here. Center: Pacific Novelty 1-9. Right: Kropp 14929, postmarked SF 7/02/1934. After completion of the fourth wing, the hotel front extends over the full block from Geary to Post. Nobody asked me, but... I prefer the symmetric look of the three-wing era.



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