San Francisco feels like a stage set or a city in a dream.
Nostalgic for a make-believe city, we built one. You can walk down the street and see a Venetian Palazzo, a Gothic Cathedral, a brand new Victorian, a Chinese pagoda, and a bank disguised as a Roman temple.
We’ve even got copies of copies of Greek temples:
Paris San Francisco
We’ve got banks that look like ancient Rome:
All over town, otherwise modest houses strut their columns:
We’ve got Moorish Revival:
And some kind of Indian Revival:
Even those buildings in Chinatown are sets – the pagodas and temple roofs were grafted on after the 1906 earthquake to attract tourists.
And we’ve got Mission Revival and what I call Flintstones Revival:
Even our parking lots can be Spanish Revival:
But my favorite’s got to be Mayan Revival.
It can be just a little bit, on the top:
Or over the door:
In the Mission, it’s strictly do it yourself:
Or it can be totally over the top:
No human sacrifices here. But plenty of pain. 450 Sutter Street, by the great San Francisco architect Timothy Pflueger, houses probably half the dentists in the city.
San Franciscans wear the costumes of 50’s beatniks or 60’s hippies or Goths. How much better if we matched the buildings with Mayan and Roman tunics, pirate outfits, mandarin robes, and Victorian gowns.