|This morning, we take a narrated walking exploration of historic Nob Hill beginning with Grace Cathedral which started as Grace Chapel in 1849, the year of the Gold Rush. By 1906, the third Grace Cathedral had been built and then consequently destroyed by the earthquake on April 18. The railroad baron/banker Crocker family gave their ruined Nob Hill property for a diocesan cathedral. Work began on the present structure in 1928. Designed in French Gothic, it was completed in 1964 as the third largest Episcopal cathedral in the nation.|
Nob Hill was settled in the late 19th century. Because of the views and its central position, the hill became a magnet for the rich and wealthy. Leland Stanford, Collis Potter Huntington, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker—the Big Four of the Central Pacific Railroad—all had mansions on Nob Hill which were all destroyed during the 1906 earthquake. After the earthquake, many wealthy families moved to Pacific Heights. The only remaining mansion was James Flood’s house which is now the Pacific-Union Club, a men’s social club.
The Fairmont Hotel was newly built when the earthquake hit in 1906. It survived the earthquake relatively unscathed but succumbed to the fire. When it came time to rebuild, Julia Morgan, the first woman to graduate from the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, was chosen as the architect.
Board a private motorcoach to the Cable Car Museum which is located in a historic cable car barn and powerhouse. The museum deck overlooks the huge engines and winding wheels that pull the cables. Downstairs is a viewing area of the large sheaves and cable line entering the building through the channel under the street.
We reboard the bus to for a narrated excursion through the Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street, along the Embarcadero. When it opened in 1898, the Ferry Building became the transportation hub of San Francisco. Today, there are offices on the upper level while the main level is a foodie paradise.