If you’d like to see some pictures and learn more about the history of some of the places Steed visited on his holiday, read on.
The Westin Saint Francis
The Saint Francis is one of San Francisco’s oldest and most prestigious hotels. The oldest portions of the hotel were built in the early 20th century and miraculously survived the 1906 quake with minimal damage. The large addition at the back was completed in 1972.
The Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Point
Below is the view of the Golden Gate Bridge that Steed would have had on the walk he took on his first evening in San Francisco (fog included). The Golden Gate Bridge was opened in 1937, and was the world’s longest suspension bridge until 1964. Its southern anchorage is at Fort Point, which was built between 1853 and 1861 as a naval defense site for the western United States. It never had to defend against any attacks, and saw various uses throughout its history, including as barracks for the nearby Presidio Army base. Fort Point was originally slated to be demolished to make way for the southern anchorage for the bridge, but the architect decided it was worth preserving, and so built the arch structure you see at the left of the picture to straddle it. Fort Point became a National Historic Site in 1970.
Mount Tamalpais stands on the Marin Peninsula, north of San Francisco. It is now a state park, and has hiking trails both up and down the peak, and to and from Muir Beach and Muir Woods, a forest of California redwoods. Both are named after the 19th-century naturalist John Muir.
Below is a view from the peak of Mount Tam facing east. The bridge is the Richmond-San Rafael bridge, which connects the Marin Peninsula with the East Bay. The peak in the distance is Mount Diablo.
For a video with panoramic views of Mount Tam and its environs click here. The video footage apparently was taken either in early winter or late spring, since the hills are still kind of green. Northern California typically gets no rain between May and November, so things are a golden dun color until the rain starts, but when there’s enough rain the grass turns a lush green to rival that of an English landscape. Below is a picture of what those hills would have looked like in the middle of summer, when Steed visited.
The Napa and Sonoma Valleys are the premier wine-growing regions in California. They benefit from Northern California’s mild climate and from the evening fog that comes in off the Pacific most nights.
In 1976, British wine merchant Stephen Spurrier arranged a blind wine tasting in Paris in which several California wines took top honors, even over French vintages. This event caused a tectonic shift in the wine world, and eventually came to be known as “The Judgement of Paris.” Steed surely would have been aware of this, and doubtless included some of the winning wineries in his tour.
Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco
In 1915, Alma Spreckels, wife of American sugar magnate Adolph B Spreckels, convinced the French government to allow her to build a replica of the French Palace of the Legion of Honor, which she had seen that year (also in replica) at the San Francisco Panama Pacific International Exposition. Construction on the project was delayed by World War I, but the museum finally opened in 1924. It is dedicated to the Californians who died on the fields of France during the Great War.
Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley
Shattuck Avenue is one of the main north-south streets in Berkeley, and is only a couple of short blocks from the foot of the university. The portion of Shattuck on North Side (meaning north of University Avenue, which runs from the foot of the university down to the Berkely Marina and San Francisco Bay) is home to several famous restaurants and gathering places, such as Freight and Salvage, a music venue that has been home to folk and traditional music performances since 1968, and Alice Waters’ restaurant Chez Panisse, which is famous for its finely crafted food and seasonal menus.
The restaurant Cathy and Steed visit is based on Chez Panisse, but I felt I couldn’t actually use that restaurant by name because it serves dinners only. Lunch became available only after 1980, when the more casual Chez Panisse Café opened in the upstairs part of the building.
Google Street View of Shattuck Avenue looking north (January 2015). The redwood-shingled building on the right is Chez Panisse
University of California
The University of California (my alma mater) was founded in Berkeley in 1868. It is one of the premier research universities in the United States, and has been known for the high level of activism on the part of its students, especially during the Viet Nam War and then later during the anti-apartheid demonstrations in the mid-1980s.
Sather Gate was completed in 1910 and was donated by Jane K Sather in memory of her husband, who at one time was one of the trustees of the College of California, which later became UC Berkeley. When the gate was erected, it was the actual entrance to the campus and the terminus of Telegraph Avenue, but the university later expanded southwards and is now bordered by Bancroft Avenue on that side.
Sather Tower stands in the center of campus and is more colloquially known as “the Campanile,” partly because of its resemblance to the tower in the Piazza San Marco in Venice. It was built in 1914 and originally had a carillon of 12 bells, also donated by Mrs Sather, but was expanded and refurbished on several occasions, including in 1978 when it was expanded with a further 48 bells, which were inaugurated in 1979. The current carillon, which is fully chromatic and covers five octaves, was donated in 1983, a gift of Jerry and Evelyn Chambers and the class of 1928. Every day during term time, there is a noon concert of carillon music, which includes school songs on the Fridays before football games. (Or at least it did when I was there back in the dinosaur days.)
A view of the west façade of the Campanile (source)
The Bancroft Library houses the Special Collections of the UC Berkeley library system. Its nucleus was the private collection of Hubert Howe Bancroft (1832-1918), an American historian and ethnologist. It presently resides in the Doe Library annex, which was built in 1950.
Below is the west-facing view that Steed and Cathy would have had from the top of the Campanile. The Bancroft Library is the building at the bottom right corner. The brick building at bottom left is South Hall, which was the original university building. (Yes, the entire university was pretty much in one building back in the day.)
And last but not least, a panoramic view of the University of California and San Francisco Bay, taken from the Berkeley Hills. Included because I can.