San Francisco – Everyday Insider (TM) – Trip 32

Today, we are continuing with a list of Everyday Insider! (TM) venues which tourists to San Francisco can use to enjoy California life with the locals.

This special place survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, due to the innovative architecture of one brilliant man!

The Old San Francisco Mint is an impressive 1873 building, and is a virtually unique example of Federal Greek-Revival architecture; it is also the starting point for the Barbary Coast Walking Trail.

In the next months, the Old Mint will return to the public eye and take its rightful imminence in Bay Area History as a beacon for the area’s history, culture and events.

This is sorely needed in San Francisco as it is one of only 4 major US cities which does not have a major institution dedicated to telling and show-casing its own history and culture, achievements and the City’s contribution to global culture.

The Mint Project hopes to establish The Mint as the gateway for all SF tourist activities and it will include a major Visitors Information Center, and you will be able to see the vaults.

The project will be a prime example of “green”, environmentally-sound, historic preservation, at its best.

The Old Mint is one of the most important national historic landmarks in the United States. Built between 1869 and 1873, the Old U.S. Mint is one of the few significant buildings in the center of San Francisco to survive the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.

During its 63 years of minting operations, the building played a vital role in the national economy – as it produced over 59% of US gold and silvercoinage and bullion,  less than a year after construction!

And, the vaults in the building was the secure repository of one-third of the nation’s gold reserves during the Great Depression!

Now, with the planned restoration and conversion, this National Historic Landmark will again be a center of service to its community.

Its architect was Alfred Bult Mullett (Apr.7, 1834 – Oct 20, 1890). Mullett was an American architect who served from 1866 to 1874 as the Supervising Architect for the U.S. Treasury Department. His work followed trends in the Victorian style, gradually evolving from Greek Revival to Second Empire to Richardsonian Romanesque.

The Old Mint serves as a rare monumental example of the late Greek Revival period, and its original construction epitomizes late 19th century “fire-proof” building technologies, construction techniques and noteworthy craftsmanship. It had a “floating foundation”, which is probably why it survived the Earthquake, intact.

When restored, the unique mix of experiences at the Mint will include:

* A themed, interactive  chronology of San Francisco Bay Area History
* Official San Francisco Visitor’s Information Center
* Multiple Learning Centers – including StoryLab and Innovation Wing
* Bay Area cultural retail (e.g, food, beverages, merchandise)
* Historic event rental spaces – large courtyard, U.S. Treasury Vaults

Upon leaving the Mint’s Visitor Center, tourists will be able to chose from more than 100 Historical and Cultural Threads, organized by historical era, cultural identity or subject matter, and thereby create a personalized itinerary, for whatever length of time they have, to discover and experience the whole Bay Area region.

Various walking and motorized tours will start from Mint Plaza.

A smart phone mobile telephone platform will deliver additional content layers, enabling visitors to customize itineraries,  to satisfy their personal areas of interest, both inside and out of the Mint building.

The Old Mint a central downtown location which is next to public transit:  BART and Muni (Powell Station), the Cable Car turnaround and is walking distance from many hotels.

Learn more about the Oral History Project of San Francisco.

Learn more about: SF Mint Project.

Enjoy it when it opens.

San Francisco Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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