The Palace Lagoon Historical

The Palace Lagoon Historical (HM1XPV)

Location: San Francisco, CA 94123 San Francisco County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 48.117', W 122° 26.863'

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From Water-Filled Bog to Landmark

The lagoon fronting the Palace of Fine Arts is a relic of San Francisco's early landscape. It was once part of a slough on a tidal wetland stretching from present-day Divisadero Street well into the Presidio. Salt water from the San Francisco Bay and freshwater from El Polin Spring and Tennessee Hollow Creek flushed this marshland daily as the tides flowed in and out.

At the time of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition this slough, cut off from the tidal flow, had become an inland freshwater lake reduced to the size of a city block. Willis Polk, lead architect for the PPIE, originally thought the water-filled bog the worst site on the fairgrounds. When he appointed Bernard Maybeck to design the Palace, Maybeck prevented it from being filled in and incorporated the natural beauty of the site into his design.

"From the other side of the laquna, the rotunda and the long crescent of the colonnade are seen reflected as in a mirror...their majestic beauty is indescribable." Louis Christian Mullgardt, The Architecture and Landscape Gardening of the Exposition, 1915.

The shape of the Palace lagoon is still very close to what fairgoers saw in 1915, but the shore is no longer edged with plants. The pedestrian path around the water's edge was eventually paved for visitor safety.

the most recent restoration, the shoreline was reinforced, while some areas were left soft in order for wildlife to migrate easily between water and land.

Native plants and trees also continue to provide food and shelter for residents of this unique urban ecosystem. Today's visitors to the Palace of Fine Arts can get a sense of the grandeur of Bernard Maybeck's original vision, and San Francisco has a beautiful landmark that is also of ecological benefit to local wildlife.
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, April 10th, 2017 at 1:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)10S E 548619 N 4183984
Decimal Degrees37.80195000, -122.44771667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 48.117', W 122° 26.863'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 48' 7.02" N, 122° 26' 51.78" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)415, 707
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 20 Bay St, San Francisco CA 94123, US
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