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Quick Facts:


- Between 1913-1915.


Main architect:

- Arthur Brown.


Architectural style:

- Neo-classicism.



- House the politcal power of San Francisco.



- Yes.



- Provides goverment offices and is highly regarded as one of San Francisco's most stunning buildings..






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North America » US » San Francisco » San Francisco City Hall

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San Francisco City Hall,
San Francisco






San Francisco City Hall history


The history of the San Francisco City Hall dates back to early 20th century. The present hall is actually a replacement for an earlier city hall. The original San Francisco City Hall was completed in 1899, after 27 years of planning and construction.


This building was actually even larger than the one of today. It also included a smaller extension which contained the city's Hall of Records. However, the old city hall only lasted 7 years, before it was completely destroyed during the 1906 earthquake.



The city hall of today

The planning for a new city hall began in 1912, when a design competition for the new building was organized. The winner was the noted architect Arthur Brown. Brown is the man responsible for other famous buildings in San Francisco, including the Opera House and the Coit Tower.


He focused his design on classic elements, like a large portico and several doric columns. The interior design is also classic in a way, featuring beautiful walls and ceilings with marble floors and elegant lanterns.



French Inspiration

Brown had previously attended design schools in Paris, which clearly inspired him. The dome of this city hall is very similar to the one of Les Invalides in Paris. The cornerstone of the city hall was laid in 1913 and the building stood completed two years later, just in time for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exhibition. The first meeting in City Hall chambers was held on October 9, 1916.



Earthquake of 1989

On October 17, 1989, an earthquake hit San Francisco and its City Hall. The earthquake was not as devastating as the one which destroyed the old city hall in 1906. It did however damage the structure. It caused cracks to appear in the wall and even twisted the dome four inches.



Restoration work

The following restoration work did not only repair the damage caused by the earthquake, but the whole structure was made earthquake resistant. This involved installing more than 500 lead-rubber isolators at the base. This made the City Hall the world's largest base-isolated building. More than 60 million dollars were invested in the project.




Why visit San Francisco City Hall ?


The outstanding San Francisco City Hall is without a doubt one of the country's most magnificent Beaux-Arts buildings. The enormous city hall, occupying two blocks, plays a large part in the San Francisco cityscape. Today, the whole San Francisco civic center is considered a National Historic Landmark District and the City Hall is the crown jewel in the collection.




The size of the City Hall is impressive. In front of the city hall is vast open space, covering more than 46.000 square-meters. The building itself, with its towering dome, stands a mighty 93 meters tall.


This makes the dome of the San Francisco City Hall the fifth largest in the world. It even beats the one of the US Capitol building. Making the city hall this large was intentional as it was suppose to reflect the growing importance of the city of San Francisco.



More than a city hall

Throughout history, the city hall has been more than just the seat of the San Francisco government. The main rotunda has also served as the location of many prominent state funerals. The graves of the war hero, General Fredrick Funston, and the former US President, Warren G Harding, can both be found at the city hall.

The building is also frequently used for weddings. One of the most famous marriages taking place here was the one between Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe in 1954.
The building has also been featured in dozens of movies. One of them is the James Bond movie “A View To A Kill” from 1985.



A loved building

In 1978, the San Francisco City Hall received a special award from the American Institute at Architects. It was awarded as one of the finest examples of French Renaissance architecture in the country.


Ever since its construction, it has been considered one of the best examples of American fine architecture.
The building is almost always open to the public and is definitely worth a visit.




San Francisco City Hall location


San Fracnisco City Hall is located in western United States, in San Francisco, California. The city hall is situated in the open space area in the city's Civic Center. For the exact location of San Francisco City Hall, check out the location map to the right!




San Francisco City Hall resources


san francisco city hall dome

The great dome of the city hall. creative commons alex-s.

san francisco city hall

The city hall during during fall. creative commons Mike Disharoon.

san francisco city hall

The stunning city hall at dawn. creative commons basykes.

san francisco city hall facade

Front facade of San Francisco City Hall. creative commons luisvilla.

san francisco city hall entrance

Entrance to the city hall. creative commons ingridtaylar.

san francisco city hall decoration

Gilded decorations. (GFDL) BrokenSphere.

san francisco city hall decoration

The massive city hall dome. (GFDL) BrokenSphere.

Interactive location map. For a larger and more detailed map, check out our US map.


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