It was a beautiful weekend day and we were cruising around the city and somehow we ended up at the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina. How could we not get out and walk around? Look at it! It’s absolutely stunning.
Built in 1915 for the Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), the Palace of Fine Arts was never meant to be permanent. It was designed by Bernard Maybeck, who went with a Roman ruin motif—obvs. Once the PPIE was over, the structure stayed because it’s so dang pretty and no one wanted to see it go. But time, weather and vandals took their toll. By the 1950s it was pretty much an actual ruin.
In 1964, the original structure was demolished and replaced with a concrete replica. The concrete replica also started falling into disrepair because it wasn’t up to seismic standards. Throughout the years it has received multiple repairs and from 2003 to 2011 it got a $20 million renovation with seismic upgrades.
But guess what? It needs more love in the form of expensive upgrades and in December of 2014 San Francisco Recreation and Parks put out a call for proposals from private businesses to scoop it up and do something with it. Proposals for hotels came in and the public was like, “Oh HELL no!” The only proposal left as a contender once the hotel options were publicly shamed-away is for a museum to be called San Francisco Museum at the Palace, which would focus on San Francisco history as well as include a restaurant and a Great Hall that would be open to folks selling local items.
Personally, I think a museum is a great idea. We’ll see what happens. No matter what, I hope this beautiful structure is preserved forever and ever and ever.
Palace of Fine Arts
3301 Lyon Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
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