Home of the Week – San Francisco City Hall

October 30, 2008

Designed by Arthur Brown Jr., who also designed San Francisco”s Opera House, Veterans Building, Temple Emanuel, Coit Tower and 50 United Nations Plaza and Dedicated December 28, 1915 by Mayor “Sunny” Jim Rolph, San Francisco City hall is a quintessential example of Beaux-Arts architecture and a beacon of the “good government” era in California.  City Hall’s architecture emphasizes democratic government: the grand staircase leads not to the mayor’s office as you might expect, but to the people’s chamber -the board of supervisors meeting place. I also mention the “good government” era because the previous City Hall collapsed 1906 in its seventh year of occupancy because it’s supports were filled with newspaper and other debris due to civic corruption.

Since the retrofit following the 1989 earthquake, San Francisco’s City Hall also has a moat.  Yes, a moat.  A four-foot moat around the building allows it to move side to side without being attached to the earth.   This is called “base isolation” and City Hall is now the largest base isolated building in the world and the only isolated national landmark. It has now been designed to remain operational even after a great earthquake.

All of which makes it an exceptional place to go and vote early, should you be so inclined.  I encourage you to do so because it’s easy to get too busy to go to the polls on Election Day – and with so many crucial local, state and national issues on the ballot every vote does matter!

“Early Voting Hours at City Hall”
outside Room 48 in City Hall
8 AM to 5 PM Monday –  Friday,  
10 AM to 4 PM Saturday – Sunday (On weekends MUST enter on Grove St)