Friday, December 25, 2015

San Francisco evening scenes - December 2015

While this was potentially just going to honor two of the grandest Baroque-style buildings in San Francisco, it also features a handful of other scenes. Besides the joy of the architectural sites herein, I also note a 2014 memorial honoring soldiers, which can be seen as both very anti-war and very respectful of veterans, with further comments below.....

As a gateway, partly to relatively clearer photos:), we might first pass under the south pier of the Golden Gate Bridge, as a friend of mine and I did last night (Dec. 24)....
A little earlier, though, on Wednesday, Dec. 23, one of the highlights of an impromptu driving tour from another family friend satisfied my curiosity as to a Baroque vision of loveliness I had seen earlier that day. While my two "day" views of what had been a mystery are in the postscript below, here is a little bit of the nighttime glory of St. Ignatius Church, as it rises in conjunction with the University of San Francisco....
[from McAllister and Parker looking southeast]

[both views above are taken from the front of St. Ignatius on Fulton Street]

Shortly after that "Jesuit Baroque", my friend pointed out the (French Baroque) and colorfully lighted City Hall, visible from (20?) blocks away, and then in greater glory up close....

[from McAllister and Polk looking southeast]

The Beaux-Arts inspired Civic Center continues the festive air with performance spaces, such as the Davies Hall for the San Francisco Symphony....
while my friend pointed out something more thoughtful which I would have missed, and just as it calls (all of us?) to more effort, reading these next two photos would take a few seconds more as well.

As she took a break from her driver/guide functions, waiting in her car, I read the kind of poem you might not usually see on war memorials, this one for a monument dedicated on October 10 of last year.

I will insert the poem, by Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), in my appendix, but basically, it is one which can be seen as very anti-war yet also as respecting all veterans, partly because it notes the work we have to do once they have done theirs.

Its key line is the longest one in the version carved here [see endnote 1], most of which I photographed in two parts. If you read the left side and then read the right portion here, you should get its idea, but again, I hope you will see my postscript for its full text.

This evening, after walking up the wonderfully steep Filbert Street and then steps beyond it to the top of Telegraph Hill - perhaps better known as the Coit Tower park - I had the pleasure of a sunset view to the west, featuring the Russian Hill area to the left and, less prominently below, the piers of the Golden Gate Bridge to the right, the left one and some adjacent cables somewhat visible below, and the right one perhaps very dimly noticeable.... 
As it became darker, I looked again at Coit Tower, opened in 1933 very close to the overlook....
Once I came down from its hilltop and went down Grant Avenue through Chinatown, it was great to see families and others out at the Union Square skating rink next to a symbol which can certainly sum up this write-up....


1. While the second last line in the "Young...Soldiers" version I have inserted reads....

"They say, We leave you our deaths: give them their meaning: give them an end to the war and a true peace: give them a victory that ends the war and a peace afterwards: give them their meaning." .....

This line ends with  the first use of "give them their meaning" on the memorial itself. 

Sources, an acknowledgement and a daytime postcript

Coit Tower - I've noted 1933 as its opening year from a 1983 50th anniversary plaque which I read tonight at the front of the tower.

MacLeish, Archibald - Sources here include and

St. Ignatius Church was debuted in 1914, as per
and is also discussed at
which, again coincidentally with this writing, notes that the previous St. Ignatius Church was where Davies Symphony Hall is today.

Thanks again to the family friend who took me on a whirlwind ride of a few areas in the northern tier of San Francisco this past Wednesday night, Dec. 23, in which she showed me the awe-inspiring topography of Pacific Heights, the USF campus area including St. Ignatius Church from the outside, the famous "painted ladies" houses on Steiner Street near Grove, Hayes Valley, the Civic Center, the Japantown cultural and commercial center and a few other areas and landmarks.

While she and I had not stayed in close touch prior to this trip, maybe the next "scene" (consumed in the evening at least:)) when we went out to dinner, can speak to the affection between her family and mine....
["Mango Sticky Pudding" at Sweet Lime, a Thai Restaurant at 2100 Sutter St., San Francisco]

I would add my daytime discovery this past Wednesday of St. Ignatius Church from perhaps a mile away, and an urge to see its "Baroque wonderland" up close; here, my pictures are respectively from California and Jordan and then from in front of 11 S. Jordan, with the church in the center of both images....

San Francisco City Hall was completed in December 1915 (coincidentally at this time:)), as per an undated Historic American Buildings Survey report at

A further reference to the City Hall is found at, while the completion date there is given as 1916.

San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center veterans monument - this very recent landmark, known officially as the "Passage of Remembrance", is noted at and

War Memorial poem - text

[I have not confirmed the wording below is exactly the same as the Civic Center's memorial version, but they are at least very similar to each other.]

Nevertheless they are heard in the still houses: who has not heard them?

They have a silence that speaks for them at night and when the clock counts.

They say, We were young. We have died. Remember us.

They say, We have done what we could but until it is finished it is not done.

They say, We have given our lives but until it is finished no one can know what our lives gave.

They say, Our deaths are not ours: they are yours: they will mean what you make them.

They say, Whether our lives and our deaths were for peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say: it is you who must say this.

They say, We leave you our deaths: give them their meaning: give them an end to the war and a true peace: give them a victory that ends the war and a peace afterwards: give them their meaning.

We were young, they say. We have died. Remember us.


Dates of my photos

City Hall, St. Ignatius Church, Davies Symphony Hall, the war memorial just west of City Hall and that "Sweet Lime" dessert....Weds., Dec. 23, 2015

Coit Tower, the view from its overlook and the Union Square Christmas tree....tonight (Fri., Dec. 25, 2015)

Separately, those "painted ladies" should be visible in many places, I'd bet, including here, if again with the semi-laborious cut and paste step.....,-122.433261,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m8!1e2!3m6!1s2578664!2e1!3e10!!7i2816!8i2112!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x8421d0c06f9e59c5!6m1!1e1

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