8 in HIGH x 10 in WIDE
(20.32 cm HIGH x 25.40 cm WIDE)
gift of the estate of Anne Protopopoff

The image shows the San Francisco Ferry Building with one Ferry at the dock, and another dock open. The Ferry clock and Pier 57 are in the background.

In 1892, a bond issue to build a new Ferry Building was passed by the voters of California. A young architect named A. Page Brown drew up plans for a large, steel-framed building. His original proposal was for an 840-foot-long building. However, when the construction estimates came in for the foundation (of pilings and concrete arches) the actual length had to be reduced to 660 feet by removing planned twin entrances at either end. As it was, Brownミs foundationヒwhich has supported the entire steel-framed structure in such a remarkably dependable manner through two earthquakes (1906 and 1989)ヒbecame the largest such foundation for a building over water anywhere in the world.Brown included a 240-foot-tall clock tower modeled after the 12th century bell tower in the Seville Cathedral in Spain to serve as a welcoming beacon on the Bay. Construction was started in 1896, and the Union Depot and Ferry Houseヒquickly shortened by public use to the Ferry Buildingヒreceived its first scheduled arrival in July 1898. Passengers off the boats passed through an elegant two-story public area with repeating interior arches and overhead skylights. At its peak, as many as 50,000 people a day commuted by ferry.

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