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National Register of Historic Places in San Francisco

National Register #75000476: United States Custom House 5 July 2010
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National Register #75000476
United States Custom House
555 Battery Street Between Washington and Jackson
Built 1911

The handsome 1911 granite-faced Custom House was the first large building on which construction started in San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and fire, and one of the few surviving good examples of late Renaissance federal architecture in the west. The sober taste, fine materials and workmanship of exteriors and interiors, and the state of preservation are unusual; relatively few changes have been made to degrade it aesthetically.

Excerpted from the NRHP Nomination.

San Francisco Street Trees

Consider Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey). Lovely building.

Consider the Taj Mahal, the Doge's Palace, the Parthenon, the Lincoln Memorial, the Sagrada Familia, the Winter Palace of the Tsar, the Hagia Sophia, San Francisco's own City Hall and Opera House and Legion of Honor.

Lovely buildings, all. Essential to their appeal is that they stand unobstructed to be admired from any angle and at any distance.

Over the past twenty years or so, many of San Francisco's most distinctive buildings have gone into hiding behind ill-considered street trees. Except for the Spreckels Mansion Spite Hedge which clearly flips the bird to San Francisco, most of these trees were planted in good faith to beautify the streetscape, filter the air, increase property values; but like the cute SPCA puppy who grows up to be a two hundred pound mastiff, many of our street trees would be more at home in the country than the city.

Here is a short list of some striking San Francisco buildings which I wish were more clearly visible. I'm sure the Hop-On Hop-Off tourists would enjoy them too. They can see an ineptly pruned ficus or an ailing plane tree anywhere.

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