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Considered as the green epicenter of the North Beach District of San Francisco, Washington Square is composed primarily of an expansive grassy park. On an everyday basis, fitness enthusiasts flock here for a session of tai chi, friends and family can be seen having picnics, dog lovers walk their canine friends and jaded urbanites bask under the sun to relax.

The original plan for the square that was put forward in 1955 featured a rectangular shape. However, when Columbus Avenue was built in 1872, a triangular part found in the southeast corner of Washington Square was removed and is now a closed off traffic island. The majority of Washington Square remained untouched with nothing much to explore and contains cypresses, poplars and plane trees. Standing at the middle of this wide grassland is a small bronze sculpture of Benjamin Franklin. The said public art piece was present to the city of San Francisco from Henry Cogswell. Cogswell is a dentist who became successful in investing his money in real estate and stocks which made him one of San Francisco?s pioneering millionaires. When the statue was mounted, a time capsule was buried beneath it which contained. The majority of the things that were placed in the capsule are possessions of Henry Cogswell. The capsule was unearthed and unsealed in 1979. It was replaced with another time capsule which is set to be recovered in 2079.

At the northwest corner of the Washington Square, another statue can be found which pays tribute to the city?s firefighters. The statue was financed by Lillie Hitchcock Coit who also played a significant role in raising funds for the establishment of the Coit Tower, another popular San Francisco landmark taking its name after her.

The Washington Square vista is overlooked by the two spires of the Saints Peter and Paul Church which is an ornate Italianesque building constructed in 1924. It is popularly called as the Italian Cathedral among the Italian residents who moved in the area. The blueprint of this iconic cathedral was made by Charles Fontani who also created the grand altar. An interesting feature of the Saints Peter and Paul Church are the stained glass windows featuring the Pieta which recreates the famous statue made by Michelangelo and is currently displayed in St. Peter?s Basilica. Former basketball superstar Joe DiMaggio and famous actress Marilyn Monroe posed in front of the cathedral when they got married.
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