it seems a little odd to write about the San Francisco City Hall, as my strongest association with the site comes from the assassination of Harvey Milk and George Muscone, but it is a beautiful building that’s been host to many Important Events — including my deputization as a Marriage Commissioner (for a day)!
the building reopened in 1915, replacing the previous City Hall which was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and illuminates the “City Beautiful” movement that inspired architecture from the 1880s to 1910s. city planners hoped to rebuild the city in time for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exhibition with the new City Hall and Civic Center as main focal points for the project. the dome is the fifth largest in the world and is 14 inches higher than the dome of the United States Capitol. the building encompasses two square blocks and is half a million square feet and, in spite of its impressive size, the previous building was even larger.
in addition to my personal Important Event on April 26 of this year, the building has seen its share of history. General Frederick Funston, a hero of wars around the turn of the 20th century and of the 1906 earthquake, lay in state under the rotunda in 1923 and although popular perception holds that President Warren G. Harding lay in state under the Rotunda following his death in San Francisco in the same year, the story appears false. it is true, however, that Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe wed at City Hall in 1954. in 1960, police turned fire houses on university students protesting against the House Un-American Activities Committee, washing them down the steps of the rotunda. the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake also left its mark on the building, twisting the dome four inches on its base and necessitating seismic retrofitting. and, as with probably every architecturally impressive building in the entire state of California numerous films will give you a thorough glimpse of the building and its offices.