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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Franscico in San Francisco City and County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

The Palace Lagoon

From Water-Filled Bog to Landmark

 
 
The Palace Lagoon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, October 15, 2016
1. The Palace Lagoon Marker
Inscription. The lagoon fronting the Palace of Fine Arts is a relic of San Francisco's early landscape. It was once part of a slough on a tidal wetland stretching from present-day Divisadero Street well into the Presidio. Salt water from the San Francisco Bay and freshwater from El Polin Spring and Tennessee Hollow Creek flushed this marshland daily as the tides flowed in and out.

At the time of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition this slough, cut off from the tidal flow, had become an inland freshwater lake reduced to the size of a city block. Willis Polk, lead architect for the PPIE, originally thought the water-filled bog the worst site on the fairgrounds. When he appointed Bernard Maybeck to design the Palace, Maybeck prevented it from being filled in and incorporated the natural beauty of the site into his design.

"From the other side of the laquna, the rotunda and the long crescent of the colonnade are seen reflected as in a mirror...their majestic beauty is indescribable."
Louis Christian Mullgardt, The Architecture and Landscape Gardening of the Exposition, 1915.


The shape of the Palace lagoon is still very close to what fairgoers saw in 1915, but the shore is no longer edged with plants. The pedestrian path around the water's edge was eventually paved for visitor safety.

During
The Palace Lagoon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, October 15, 2016
2. The Palace Lagoon Marker
the most recent restoration, the shoreline was reinforced, while some areas were left soft in order for wildlife to migrate easily between water and land.

Native plants and trees also continue to provide food and shelter for residents of this unique urban ecosystem. Today's visitors to the Palace of Fine Arts can get a sense of the grandeur of Bernard Maybeck's original vision, and San Francisco has a beautiful landmark that is also of ecological benefit to local wildlife.
 
Location. 37° 48.117′ N, 122° 26.863′ W. Marker is in San Franscico, California, in San Francisco City and County. Marker is on Bay Street near Palace Drive, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 20 Bay Street, San Francisco CA 94123, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bernard Maybeck (1862-1957) (within shouting distance of this marker); Lincoln Beachey (approx. 0.3 miles away); First Women in the Army: U.S. Army Nurse Corps (approx. 0.4 miles away); Presidio of San Francisco (approx. 0.4 miles away); Loverís Lane (approx. half a mile away); Marina Air Field
The Palace of Fine Arts Building and the Lagoon image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, October 15, 2016
3. The Palace of Fine Arts Building and the Lagoon
(approx. half a mile away); Music in the Military: Presidio Band Barracks (approx. 0.6 miles away); Montgomery Street Barracks (approx. 0.6 miles away).
 
Categories. ArchitectureMan-Made Features
 
The Palace Architecture image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, October 15, 2016
4. The Palace Architecture
The Palace Architecture image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, October 15, 2016
5. The Palace Architecture
The Palace of Fine Arts Building and the Lagoon image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, October 15, 2016
6. The Palace of Fine Arts Building and the Lagoon
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 10, 2017. This page originally submitted on March 26, 2017, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. This page has been viewed 58 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 26, 2017, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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