This is a pictorial map of San Francisco depicting the commercial center of the city stretching from just south of Market St. and downtown, north past Nob and Russian Hill to Fort Mason and part of the Marina. Detail is given down to the individual building-level, allowing the viewer to see the ways in which this part of the city has transformed in the last 40 years. Many new buildings have arisen in downtown San Francisco in the intervening years. Long before Salesforce Tower, the map shows the two tallest buildings in the city at that time: the Bank of America Building and the Transamerica Pyramid.
Several important changes are visible along the Embarcadero, especially the Embarcadero Freeway. Built in the late 1950s and early 1960s, this double-decker throughway was considered a smog-producing blight along the waterfront. It was finally demolished after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Other changes include the old Belt Line railroad, and a simple Pier 39, which had yet to become the tourist center it is today.
This map was part of a few different issues with minor differences, produced to promote the famous Hotel Mark Hopkins, and Intercontinental Hotel. The present issue included images of a cruise ship, which was part of the hotel group’s operations. Mark Hopkins, one of the founders of the Central Pacific Railroad, chose the southeastern peak of Nob Hill as the site for a dream home for his wife, Mary. The mansion was completed in 1878, after his death. Since the tower of the mansion was at the time the highest point in San Francisco, Eadweard Muybridge chose to shoot his 1878 panoramic photograph of the city from this location.
The Mark Hopkins mansion survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake; however, it was destroyed in the three-day fire that followed the earthquake. Mining engineer and hotel investor George D. Smith purchased the Nob Hill site, removed the Art Association building, and began construction of a luxury hotel. The San Francisco architectural firm Weeks and Day designed the 19-story hotel, employing a combination of French château styles and Spanish ornamentation.
In 1962, the hotel was sold by the original owner George D. Smith to San Francisco financier Louis Lurie. Finally in 1973, one year before this map was published, Lurie’s heirs signed a long-term management contract for the Mark Hopkins with InterContinental Hotels Corporation.