Historic "things", "places", landmarks etc., which can be seen still today

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Today I want to ask a question which I myself don't like to see here, because it may be to "general":

I am going to visit the City once again during the next three weeks. I will look e.g. for the old plaza - now China Town. I want to find places, buildings etc. from the beginnings until ca. 1870. Can e.g. the former coastline (filled up 1850) be seen by a special form of the ground ? Does anybody have an idea what "things" I could try to find. If they exist - I will find them ! ;-)

Thank you in advance

Heinz-Dieter Krippendorf

-- Heinz-Dieter Krippendorf (krippendorf@gmx.de), May 04, 2004


My suggestion-- visit the three historic starting places of San Francisco-- Portsmouth Square, Mission Dolores and the Presidio. All three are in tact.

Portsmouth square leads easily into the Jackson Square Historic District. This district, which has no square contains, buildings extant from the 1850s and 1860s. The area is rather well labeled. There is a walking tour -- the Barbary Coast Tour -- which includes street markers which show the former limits of Yerba Buena Bay.

Mission Dolores is pretty much a stand alone site. While in the Mission District check out South Van Ness Avenue from 16th St to say 24th St. The Victorians there are usually not on the usual tourist path.

The Presidio has excellent historical material.

Good luck in your adventure.

-- Kurt Iversen (iversenk@aol.com), May 06, 2004.

The original bay shoreline of the City is totally filled except for a 1,000 foot stretch west of Aquatic Park. To see it, go to the foot of Van Ness Avenue and follow the road leading west through Fort Mason. This last surviving bit of natural shoreline (old Pt. San Jose) will be below you on the right.

-- John Martini (jamartini@slip.net), May 06, 2004.

Do a bit of research before you go, so you know what you're looking at (example: I could have kicked myself for not knowing enough to go through the Tuilleries when I was in the neighborhood).

Also, call the Main Library and ask about their (free) City Guides Tours. You get up close and personal with whole neighborhoods, with a very talkative and knowledgeable guide.

There are also San Francisco Crime Tours, if you want to visit the notorious parts of the Financial District, Chinatown, Nob Hill, etc. They're quite interesting although (sigh) many sites are gone, including Cordelia Botkin's lodgings, now Cala Foods on California.

If you don't want to walk, do take the Gray Line Tours. You can see a whole lot that you may want to come back to later on.

Oh, and there are ghost tours, too. That oughta fill up your evenings.

The old courthouse in Portsmouth Square is now Clement Chen's Chinatown Holiday Inn. The old courthouse can be seen in the opening credits on reruns of "Ironside." If you can, tour City Hall, beautiful, beautiful building that it is. And check out the condo developments on Van Ness that have preserved the architecture of car dealerships, etc. And if you can wander the streets behind Grace Cathedral and the Pacific Union Club, you can see houses that seem to be cottages, but are actually only the visible parts of veddy old and carefully kept BIG private homes.

And don't forget to have lunch at the Hang Ah Tea Room.

-- Rosa (rosadebon@yahoo.com), May 07, 2004.

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