San Francisco – Everyday Insider (TM) – Trip 29

Taking a few steps back from the waterfront, last time I shared how you can find lots in and about the Embarcadero Center complex, and I will now head you further into downtown to the Montgomery Street financial center area in this post about 49 Mile Drive in San Francisco.

So, for my next story hop onto public transport or drive from Embarcadero Center. I suggest taking the BART line up Market Street and get off at the Montgomery Street Station at 598 Market Street, ready for our next stop in the series. BART Information

and Embarcadero BART Station

Embarcadero Station is both a Muni Metro and Bay Area Rapid Transit station near the Embarcadero Center in the Financial District of San Francisco. The public transport station is located at the north-eastern end of the Market Street Subway, below Market Street, between Spear Street and Beale Street. Like all of the shared BART and Muni stations on the Market Street Subway, the concourse mezzanine is 1st. level down, an island platform for the Muni Metro is on the 2nd. level down and the island platform for BART is on the 3rd. level down.

Montgomery Street, our destination, is the center of an expanding Financial District. Major buildings are often distinguished by landscaped plazas and art works and we’ll be emphasizing historic Lotta’s Fountain, next time.

Montgomery Street is a north-south thoroughfare which runs about 16 blocks from the Telegraph Hill neighborhood south through downtown, terminating at Market Street.

South of Columbus Avenue, Montgomery Street runs through the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District, so for this reason, it is sometimes called “the Wall Street of the West“.

South of Market Street, the street continues as New Montgomery Street for two more blocks and then terminates at Howard Street in the “south of Market” (SOMA) district.

My first remembrances of San Francisco came at the world headquarters of Wells Fargo Bank, which was near the Montgomery – Market intersection, and where my father banked, internationally. When I visited America for the first time, I had never seen a building like it. The world headquarters of Wells Fargo are at 420 Montgomery.

And, later, my husband worked in a skyscraper, for years, at Post and Market, so this is an area with lots of personal history. Walking these streets, I have seen lots of changes and also what has endured.

In the 1830s, the land which is now Montgomery Street lay at the edge of San Francisco Bay, but intense land speculation during the Gold Rush created a demand for more usable land in the rapidly growing city. So, sandy bluffs near the waterfront were leveled and the shallows were filled with sand (and the ruins of many ships) to make new building lots.

Between 1849 and 1852, the waterfront pushed into the Bay about four blocks, and at present, Montgomery Street is about seven blocks from the water!

Standing at the corner of what is now Montgomery and Clay, John B. Montgomery hoisted the U.S. flag, after the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846. In 1853 the Montgomery Block, a center of early San Francisco law and literature, was built at 600 Montgomery, on land currently occupied by the iconic, graceful, modernistic Transamerica Pyramid, which my husband used to see filling his office window.

At 555 California Street, between Kearny and Montgomery, this building served as Bank of America world headquarters (from 1969 to 2005) prior to its merger with NationsBank, and later, my sister used to commute to this building.

Both Bank of America and Wells Fargo provided a firm foundation for San Francisco to become wealthy and stable city, even though it had been built on the speculated wealth from 2 Gold Rushes – in California and Alaska.

More on the California Gold Rush next time!

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©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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