The San Francisco Ferry Building has been an iconic and well-known for more than once century and all ferry traffic entering the city was welcomed by this very recognizable structure.
The San Francisco Ferry Building was inaugurated in 1898 and broke ground on the location of an antiquated ferry house made of wood. At its peak, the San Francisco Ferry Building was a bustling epicenter of a plethora of city activities. Travelers coming from the East disembarked through the Transcontinental Railroad in Oakland. The Ferry Building was also the last point of the everyday commute of urbanites who worked and San Francisco and resided in the neighboring Marin County and in East Bay. Likewise, the structure acted as the ferry terminal for guests landing from other locales apart from the Peninsula up until the 1930s.
The original blueprint of the San Francisco Ferry Building was conceptualized by San Franciscan architect A. Page Brown. The building towered over the seas at 660 feet and its foundation was the largest base of its kind for a structure built over water in the planet. The building also boasts of a 71-meter tall clock tower which was patterned after the Giralda Tower found in the Seville Cathedral in Spain. Fortunately, the tower was able to withstand the 1906 and 1989 great magnitude earthquakes which rocked the city of San Francisco and destroyed numerous historic structures in the city. Its proximity to the bay enabled it to survive the big conflagrations brought about by the 1906 tremor because firefighters had a steady supply of water which kept the building wet and safe.
The San Francisco Ferry Building provided a beautiful and warm welcome to arriving guests. Ferry passengers were received with a remarkable public area with two levels with recurring interior arches, embellished with mosaic floors and skylights which enable the entry of natural light into the room. At its heydays, 50,000 passengers crowd the structure to ride one of the many ferries which stopped here. During its heydays, the San Francisco Ferry Building was the second most active transit station in thw world, only trailing behind Charing Cross Station in London.
The San Francisco Ferry Building started losing popularity when the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge were constructed and began accommodating most of the San Francisco commuter traffic. In the 1950s, a development firm transformed the Ferry Building into an office and commercial space which erased the structure?s original appeal. Later, the creation of the Embarcadero Freeway totally blocked the front view of the building. The freeway was eventually torn down after being gravely damaged by the 1991 earthquake.
Today, the San Francisco Ferry Building remains an iconic structure with its beautiful clock tower. A major renovation which took place from 1999 to 2003 made it a famous dining destination with a gourmet marketplace, an extensive public market offering European produce and delicacies and several restaurants and cafes. San Francisco?s popular farmer?s market is also mounted here which sells local wines and other produce.
The San Francisco Ferry Building has been included in the National Register of Historic Places and is an officially recognized city landmark.
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