Postcards from San Francisco : Market Street

Postcards: Market Street

The Flood Building

Pointing out toward Market Street from the end of Powell, the twelve-story Flood Building towers over visitors coming up the escalator from the Powell Street Station, or waiting at the Cable Car turnaround. Built by James L. Flood over the ruins of a hotel and theater destroyed by fire in 1898, the current structure opened in 1904 and survived the 1906 earthquake and fire. The ground floor was occupied by Woolworth's from 1945 through 1996, and now houses the flagship store for The Gap.

Lotta's Fountain

Commissioned by Lotta Crabtree, a 19th century singer and actress, the fountain was built in Philadelphia, shipped to San Francisco, and dedicated in 1875 as a symbol of the entertainer's affection for the city. No longer a functioning water fountain, its appearance was restored in 1999. The fountain served as a meeting landmark for survivors of the 1906 earthquake, and they continued to meet there as remembrance of the day until recent times.

The Palace Hotel

Originally built in 1875 by William Ralston, and costing five million dollars (an almost unfathomable sum at the time), the Palace Hotel was meant to be a statement on San Francisco's rapid development and recent advancement as a world-class city. Its opulence and modern luxuries were a purposeful attempt to out-class Europe's great hotels. Ralston drowned while swimming the same year the Palace opened (following trouble at the Bank of California, in which he was invested). The seven-story structure lasted 31 years, and then was gutted by the fire that followed the 1906 quake. The Palace was rebuilt and opened again in 1909, and that structure stands today.