Historical Saturday – The Ferry Building

San Francisco’s Ferry Building
The Giralda Bell Tower – Seville, Spain

The Ferry Building, built in 1989, was designed by A. Page Brown, a young architect who was tragically thrown from a horse just a few weeks after being contracted to design the Ferry Building.  He soon passed away, but his vision of the Ferry Building lives on because most of the plans were complete before his youthful demise.  He was only 34.

A. Page Brown was a well traveled young man who designed the Ferry Building with classical features that mirror the roman aqueduct or the Corinthian columns.  His inspiration was the Giralda Bell Tower at a cathedral in Spain.   I have included pictures of both above.  Can you see the similarities?

Amazingly, even though the Fairy Building is built on “made land,” it survived the 1906 earthquake and fire.  The main reason for it’s miraculous escape from destruction was that the U.S. Navy and city fireboats maintained a spray of saltwater on the building which was pumped from the bay.  Well, there is another question of mine answered.  Is the bay saltwater or freshwater?  Now I know.  They did this so that people could escape the burning city by ferry, and rescue workers could also bring in supplies and coordinate relief efforts from the building.

Today it is a mixed use building with offices and retail space.  On Saturday mornings it is surrounded by a large farmer’s market where you can get everything from fresh lavender to home grown beef.  It is a city landmark that can be seen from the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island.  As you stroll along Market Street, it looms ahead as a promise to the preservation of the past.  It is one of the things that says you are home.  You are in San Francisco.

Cheers,

Mike

Note:  Information for this post came form the book Historic Walks in San Francisco, by Rand    Richard.  It is a great read.
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