Civic Center Historic District
Bounded by Van Ness Avenue and Market Street and Golden Gate Avenue and 7th Street
Designated December 1994
The following description of the Civic Center Historic District is excerpted from the
San Francisco Planning Code: Article 10, Appendix J.
The World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, in 1893, was the source of inspiration for the "City Beautiful" movement which emphasizes formal plan and composition
of monumental scale, neoclassical style buildings fronting plazas, boulevards and grand public gathering spaces. The order, harmony, cleanliness, and grandeur of the
exhibition, called "The White City," was in sharp contrast to the rapid, chaotic growth that most U. S. cities had experienced in the preceding era of rapid immigration
The design of the San Francisco Civic Center is an example of the development of those significant contributions. More particularly, the San Francisco Civic Center
is an expression of a nation ready to display its new international importance in an architectural statement. At the time it took form, geography and historical events
had made San Francisco the center of western America. Monumental classical architecture for the City's central public space expressed this consciousness, as well as the
accompanying belief that such inspiring surroundings should be democratically available to all, not just a privileged few.