On the heels of reading Daughter of Fortune and Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende, where in San Francisco plays a dominant part, almost a character part in these fine researched historical novels, images spoke to me and reflected back.In the beginning, San Francisco was named Yerba Buena by the few non-natives who came to find their fortune here.
At the ferry market or port, the bygone era and European influences in architecture stand firm. Notice the archways, the mirrored glass and the 245 foot clock tower modeled after a 12th century Spanish cathedral in Seville.
On the bayside is a re-constructed wharf, the floors are marbled mosaic and the center hall is completely lit by 660 feet of two storied skylights.
Today, after a massive reconstruction in 2003, the landmark is a location for vendors, restaurants, transportation, tourists and a fun place to shop and eat. It is a celebration and a hub for food and history.
I can just see the characters in Allende’s books stepping onto the wooden Ferry building built in 1875. I imagine the trains arriving from back east, the ships from the Far East and South America, pouring into the main gateway during the Gold Rush when Yerba Buena began to get populated and grew exponentially into San Francisco where commerce, infrastructure and culture supplanted the Wild West.