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California Attractions / Landmarks / Places > San Francisco Email This Bookmark Print
Lotta?s Fountain is a cast iron sculpture ornamented with griffins, lion?s heads, and other adornments. This twenty-four foot art is painted in bronze and is situated at the corner of Kearny and Market, Geary streets in San Francisco, California. The fountain is considered as the oldest surviving landmark of the city, withstanding earthquakes, efforts of relocating it to Golden Gate Park, and fires.

In the mid 1870s, the monument was presented to the city as a gift by Lotta Crabtree, a famous Vaudeville performer. The dancer?s immense love for the city prompted her to bequeath the monument because it was in San Francisco where Lotta started out her career.

During the abundant gold rush days, Lotta imparted her talent in dancing by performing with the usage of saloon barrels. In turn, awed miners would toss gold nuggets at the dancing floor. Lotta had striking good looks, endowed with dark eyes and red hair. Her physical attractiveness catapulted her talent a notch even higher, entitling her to more gifts from her spectators. In reciprocity, she used the gold nuggets, watches, and coins her audience gave her and procured the fountain for the city in 1875.

After a devastating earthquake hit the city in 1906, survivors gathered around Lotta?s fountain awaiting reunification with their lost loved ones. In commemoration of this event, the remaining survivors, along with hundreds of people, flock around the fountain every 5:12 a.m. on the 18th of April.

The monument also witnessed various performances from famed personalities like violinist Jan Kubelik and Mischa Elman, including the controversial presentation made by Madame Tetrazzini on the eve of Christmas in 1910.

In 1998, Lotta?s Fountain was taken apart in its entirety, was refurbished, cleaned, and reassembled. Today, the landmark remains a discreet but continuing witness to hundreds of rushing commuters who just pass by it. Most of them are oblivious of the notable role the fountain played during the course of the city?s history.
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