A Dollop of Europe

Chatting with a realtor the other day, I tested my theory as to why San Francisco has so much Europe-inspired architecture.

The theory goes, the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 happened at the height of the Victorian era. By that time, the Gold Rush of 1849 had brought wealth (and residents) to the area, and so builders and rebuilders had a choice. I should look up some historic archives to verify this, but I’ll bet that San Francisco pre-earthquake-and-fire was a hodgepodge of hastily made buildings by settlers and new arrivals. But with heaps of gold in the bank, people aspired to greater heights.

And that is how San Francisco ended up looking like this.

Atop Nob Hill. But for the U.S. flag, you really might think this was Paris or Vienna!

And this:

J and I indulged in afternoon tea on a Saturday afternoon. A very fine affair, indeed. In fact, the fanciest (and priciest) afternoon tea I’ve had yet! I drank three pots of tea, and I think we were there almost 3 hours? That’s the whole point of afternoon tea anyway, isn’t it? To while away the idle hours…

A bit of history: William McKinley died in this palace while he was President. The King of Hawai’i also died here. Both of natural causes I believe, but if I were a visiting dignitary, I think I would go somewhere else all the same.

The scones here, like the ones I made, were much more biscuit-y than scone-y. I have yet to find a good scone in San Francisco…

*The realtor, by the way, liked my theory. That’s as good as evidence, if you ask me. For an interesting series on architecture inspired by Europe, check out Untapped Cities. The series focuses on New York City, but lots of similar parallels could be drawn to San Francisco too!


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