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San Francisco's Hall of Fame
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Author: Miller, Cathleen
Date: Dec 5, 1999
Start Page: E.04
Section: TRAVEL

The pleasure palace is more commonly known as the San Francisco City Hall, which reopened in January after a four-year, $300 million restoration. The national landmark is a stunning example of Beaux- Arts architecture, a design based on the Capitol in Washington, D.C. But this dome soars 306 feet, higher than the nation's Capitol, and offers one of the largest rotundas in the world. Outside, its ornamentation is covered in 23.5-karat gold. Light floods through leaded-glass windows onto a sweeping staircase of Carrara marble. Daily free tours provide a colorful glimpse of the city's history, and the South Light Court exhibits San Francisco memorabilia.

After the 1906 earthquake destroyed most of San Francisco, Mayor "Sunny Jim" [Sunny Jim] Rolph commanded the construction of a multipurpose building. It would serve as the seat of municipal government, and its majestic design would symbolize his confidence in rebuilding the city. The pleasure palace would also provide a space where the courageous survivors could entertain, now that their Nob Hill mansions were rubble. Rolph's dream became a reality when the new San Francisco City Hall opened for business and pleasure.

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