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pahavit
Date: 3-19-2006 2:50 PM
Subject: Today's field trip
Security: Public
Tags:field trip, ft point, pacific heights, palace of fine arts
Today's field trip

Today D. and I went to see the Palace of Fine Arts.

Even though I've lived in San Francisco since 1979, I'd never been there till today. It was built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal as well as to show the world that the City had risen from the rubble of the catastrophic 1906 earthquake (its centennial will occur next month, btw). Palace architect Bernard Maybeck designed it to resemble an overgrown Roman ruin. It was very pretty there, with giant columns and statues and allegorical sculpted figures on the structure, set on a lagoon with swans, seagulls bathing, coots upending themselves to feed, pigeons on the shore looking for crumbs from tourists and mates for themselves, a white egret, and little turtles sunning themselves on the rocks.

Then we went to Ft. Point, right underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Ft. Point was built just prior to the Civil War to protect San Francisco from a hostile fleet entering the Bay. In the 1930's the fort was used as a staging area for the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. During WW II it was used as a lookout for foreign submarines entering the Bay. It must have worked, because San Francisco Bay has not yet been entered by any hostile fleet, be it marine, submarine or supermarine.

Then we drove through Pacific Heights to look at the mansions.

Then I got tired so we came home.

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