Much as I love San Francisco, I’ve decided I am not a city boy any more. Yesterday was a beautiful day in San Francisco, a little fog, certainly not beach weather, but warm enough since San Francisco in the summer can be the coldest place in California. I spent most of the day, actually all of the day, negotiating traffic to and from the city, and mostly unsuccessfully looking for a place to park. If by some miracle you do find a place to park you can only park for 2 hours so forget the idea of parking and going off to explore. And parking lots, even at $25 a day, are rarer than genuine gold nuggets. And the drivers are almost as rude as in New York, laying on their horns if you don’t jack rabbit start when the light turns green: not what I remembered about San Francisco. Maybe their are all just transplanted New Yorkers. It was all I could do not to give one woman in a brand new, black SUV the size of a motor home a Bronx-style hand salute.
The Panama San Francisco Connection
Of course San Francisco owes it’s prominence to Panama since man of the gold seekers during California’s famed Gold Rush came to California by way of Panama. There were three routes to the Gold Rush, the long trek across the Continental US, the passage around the southern tip of South America, or the shortest and quickest route across the Isthmus of Panama.
And the Golden Gate Bridge, the symbol of San Francisco, was made from steel fabricated by the Bethlehem Steel Company and shipped to San Francisco via the Panama Canal.
The Panama–Pacific International Exposition in 1915 was held to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal the previous year and to showcase San Francisco’s recovery from the 1906 earthquake. The beautiful landmark Fine Arts Pravillion and the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium at Civic Center Plaza are remaining structures from the 1915 Exposition. [San Diego held a similar exposition and celebration of the Canal and a number of those structures remain in Balboa Park.]