Nob Hill - Huntington Park and Masonic Center

Huntington Park
John McLaren, landscape design 1915

This was once the site of the first mansion on Nob Hill, built by General David Colton., vice president of the Southern Pacific Railway.   When Colton died unexpectedly after being thrown from a horse, his Big Four partners cheated his widow out of her share of the railroad and Collis Huntington took over the house.

The mansion was painted white to resemble marble, but was actually made of redwood.  When it  burned in 1906, Huntington’s widow gave the property to the city for a park. The Huntington Hotel across the street is also named for the Railroad Baron, but was the site of the Tobin house before 1906.  


Colton mansion, on site of Huntington Park,
with Charles Crocker Mansion behind,
now site of Grace Cathedral.

Photo courtesy: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library


Masonic Center
1958 Albert Roller, architect

The frieze on the modern fa├žade is by California artist Emile Norman. The 12-foot high figures represent the branches of the U.S. Armed Services, each in a gold crypt to honoring their sacrifices. The smaller figures remind us of the global tug of war between good and evil.

Peek inside the glass front doors to view Norman’s enormous colorful glass mosaic which depicts the contributions of Masons in California. The artist used 180 colors of stained glass plus bits of metal, parchment, shells and other materials pressed between two sheets of glass. The lower section contains soil and gravel samples from all 58 counties in California.

The 3000 seat auditorium is a popular concert venue, designed so that no seat is more than 21 rows from the stage. There is also a 16,500 ft exhibit hall for conventions and other special events.


No comments:

Post a Comment