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History of Civic Center, San Francisco

Posted by GrayLineofSanFrancisco on January 10, 2020

If you ever visited the San Francisco Bay area, you are bound to stumble around the historical Civic Center. The few blocks are located north of Market Street and it contains many of the city’s important cultural and government institutions. City Hall is located smack in the middle of the busyness of the historic site along with two large plazas, Civic Center Plaza and United Nations Plaza. Historic moments have taken place in this neighborhood - like the signing of the Treaty of San Francisco, which was a peace treaty between the Empire of Japan to end the Pacific War. Every step on these streets is filled with history waiting to be rediscovered. Do you feel it?

Although the first attempt of the Civic Center was completed in 1898, it was ultimately destroyed in the earthquake of 1906. Once they started rebuilding, they planned for the new Civic Center to have five main buildings facing a central rectangular plaza: City Hall, Auditorium, Main Library, Opera House, and State Office Building. This was innovative for its time (April 5, 1913 to be exact) because it wanted to show that not only was this a government center for the city, but also a place for the arts to grow. They also liked the area just for the scenic views of the Golden Gate Bridge to bring a special essence to the rest of the town square.

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At the time, the structures of the buildings were in a new postmodern style that they still take into consideration now as they create new sites. Not only does it keep with the aesthetic of it all, but also is a structural marvel. During World War II, inside of the Civic Center, they established and created Army barracks and victory gardens near the city hall to prove support for the troops and safety if need be.

There are several placards and statues throughout the entirety of the Civic Center. It may just be a few blocks of buildings, but every step you take is filled with history of a time that once was. While you’re out exploring, take a few moments to read what’s on those plaques and maybe you’ll learn something new!

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