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Bordered by Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets in San Francisco, California, the Union Square is a 2.6-acre plaza that was built and dedicated by the city?s first mayor John Geary in 1850. The location was once used as a site for rallies in support of the Union Army during the United States Civil War, thus, the name Union Square. Geary?s vision was to have a green serene setting in the middle of a busy city that can be an ideal place for people to unwind, however, when the area was set aside for this purpose, it was still lined with Victorian residential mansions and by the end of the 19th century, commercial establishments such as hotels and warehouses started to develop here.

Since then, the square underwent a great deal of changes including the creation and dedication of a 97 feet tall monument to Admiral George Dewey's victory at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish American War. The monument designed like a column, which also commemorates U.S. President William McKinley, has a sculpture of ?Victoria?, goddess of victory, on top. The figurine was modeled after the likeness of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, also known both as "Big Alma" and "The Great Grandmother of San Francisco", who had done great things for the city of San Francisco. Another significant change in the square took place between 1939 and 1941. It was the creation of the world?s first underground parking garage just below it that led to the relocation of the lawns, shrubs and the Dewey monument at the center of the square. By the late 1990?s, recognizing the significance of the Union Square as a central gathering place, it underwent massive renovations. Thanks to its mayor, more paved areas were added and made it easier to go through the square attracting more companies to establish their businesses here.

Today, the Union Square is the third largest shopping district in the United States. Although rallies are still held here, hotels, such as the St. Francis, Sir Frances Drake Hotel, and the San Francisco Grant Hyatt, department stores, boutiques of world renowned fashion designers and clothing lines, cafes and public art exhibit of sculptures draw millions of tourists yearly. Added to that, public concerts & events, art shows, impromptu protests, private parties and events, and the annual Christmas tree and Menorah lighting are being staged here.

For transportation, the Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason are the two cable car lines that serve Union Square on Powell Street while numerous trolleys, bus lines, the F Market heritage streetcars and the Muni Metro and BART subway systems can take you around the square and around the city.
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