Huntington ParkOn this site in 1872, General David D. Colton, a railroad attorney, built one of the most elaborate residences ever seen in San Francisco. The classic white wooden mansion featured an entry flight of marble steps leading to a portico of Corinthian columns. General Colton, his wife, and his two daughters entertained in the mansion with style and splendor. General Colton died in 1878 and shortly thereafter his widow, Ellen, closed the mansion and moved to Washington, D.C.
In 1892, railroad baron Collis P. Huntington purchased the house where he lived with his wife, Arabella, until the time of his death in 1900. Mrs. Huntington occupied the grand mansion until its destruction in the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. In 1915, Mrs. Huntington donated the land to the City of San Francisco to remain as a park in perpetuity for all the people of the city to enjoy.
Beginning in the late 1970s, the park became a continuing restoration and preservation project of the Nob Hill Association, San Francisco's oldest neighborhood organization, in cooperation with the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department.
"Fountain of the Tortoises"The magnificent Roman "Fountain of the Tortoises" is the centerpiece of Huntington Park.
The original Fontana della Tartarughe is still functioning in Piazza Mattei, Rome, Italy. In the early 1900s , a company in Rome offered exact replicas of the original fountain, and William H. and Ethel Crocker purchased one of the reproductions and had it installed at their estate in Hillsborough, California. The four Crocker Children donated the fountain to the City of San Francisco in 1954. It was placed in Huntington Park across the street from the site of the original Crocker Mansion, now occupied by Grace Cathedral.