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YABA5 - clue 1 - ghirardelli plaques
Ghirardelli Square's Historic Walking Tour

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Plaque #1 -Domingo Ghirardelli THE LEGEND OF DOMINGO GHIRARDELLI

The founder and forefather of Ghirardelli Square and Ghirardelli Chocolate Co., Domingo Ghirardelli was born in Rapallo, Italy in 1817. Educated in common parochial schools, as a young man he was sent to Genoa, Italy to serve as an apprentice to a confectioner named Romenengo. There he learned how to make candy, sugar loaves, chocolate, pastries, liqueurs, coffee and spices.

Domingo married at age 20 and sailed with his wife to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, where he worked in a coffee and chocolate establishment for a year before they moved to Peru. In Lima, his wife died without warning; he marked a widow named Carmen Alvarado in the fall of 1845.

By 1848 the news of the California gold rush reached Lima, and Domingo left his family behind to seek his fortune as a gold miner. Months after arriving in Stockton he went for some supplies. Limited by the merchant in what he could buy, Ghirardelli took orders from other miners and headed for San Francisco to stock up on foodstuffs.

Back in Stockton he used his excess supplies to set up shop - in a tent - as a general merchant. Soon after, he opened a store in San Francisco, which was to primarily serve as a supply base for his Stockton store.

In May of 1851 the fifth of San Francisco's great fires, which started in a paint shop, claimed Domingo's Battery Street store along with 1,500 other buildings; three days later a fire burned half of Stockton to the ground, again including Domingo's store among the 100 businesses destroyed.

In September of that year he bought a coffee house in San Francisco, which he sold after six months. In 1852, the D. Ghirardelli Co. was founded; the first store sold candy, syrup, coffee, pastes, fruits and pastries. That same year he sent for his family from Lima. The next year he moved his store to the corner of Jackson and Mason Streets and the family moved in upstairs. It was late in 1855 that the "manufactory," as it was called, and the family's residence were moved to the corner of Greenwich and Powell Streets.

Machinery was imported from Peru and Switzerland. Ten years later the company made its most important innovation in the manufacture of ground chocolate.

Called "the Broma process," this innovation required hanging a bag of chocolate in a warm room to permit the cocoa butter to melt and drip out. The remaining residue could then be processed into ground chocolate.


Plaque #2 - Factory whistle

In its days as a place of maufacture Ghirardelli Square was referred to as "the factory," whose workers' shifts began and ended with the call of the factory whistle, appropriately located in the Clock Tower. It was also blown as a farewell salute to ocean-going family members as they sailed out the Golden Gate aboard one ocean liner or another. In a more patriotic vein, it was also blown as troop-filled ships cruised off to combat in World Wars I and II and the Korean War.


Plaque #3 - Growing Years

The evolution of the Domingo's Chocolate Manufactory extended through 1857 to expand and open more stores across the Bay in Oakland. In 1860 Ghirardelli purchased a building in Stockton, extending his business ties to a general merchandise store. Three years later he continued his investments with the purchase and building of yet another store and hotel.

The mid 1860's records the importing of 1,000 lbs of cocoa to Ghirardelli Chocolate while the company featured the first commercial sale of Broma in the year 1867. That same year, after completing his education in Italy and Santa Clara College, Domingo Ghirardelli Jr. recognized his father's vision and entered the firm as a clerk.

By 1870, Domingo Ghirardelli and his partner Angelo Mangini had spread themselves too thin and were forced to file joint petition for bankruptcy. All personal assets were seized and sold at auction. Ghirardelli continued with his other businesses in the area, saving the company by sacrificing his personal holdings. By 1877 sons Joseph and Louis had joined their father and brother Domingo Jr., and with the help of their dedicated staffs, got the family business rolling again. The new business was named the "Pioneer Eagle Chocolate Manufactory," and stocked spices, coffee, wines and liqueurs. Domingo made the decision to sell the Stockton store and various other investments and holdings in order to continue the evolution of what was to become "Ghirardelli & Sons" in 1881. Domingo Ghirardelli & Sons grew to import 450,000 lbs of cocoa, employing 30 experienced workmen by 1885 and were selling 50,000 lbs of their chocolate a year - their business surviving much hardship.

Domingo Ghirardelli retired as head of the company and turned the responsibility over to his sons in 1892. The sons felt the need for more space and bought the Woolen Mill buildings at public auction. William Mooser was commissioned again to design the factory complex and buildings that make up Ghirardelli Square. Although Domingo Ghirardelli died at the age of 77 in his homeland of Rapallo, Italy in 1894, his family continued to manage the company until 1963, when it was sold and relocated across the San Francisco Bay to San Leandro. The company's chocolate is made there to this day.


Plaque #4 - James Lick

Domingo Ghirardelli wasn't the only one who migrated to Lima, Peru in the mid-19th century. Another of those drawn to this adventurous and flourishing capital city was James Lick, a master cabinetmaker who had been born in Pennsylvania. It was in Peru that Ghirardelli established a confectionery business next door to Lick's cabinet shop.

Lick left Lima for California in 1847, shortly before the discovery of gold. Among the items he transported to the Golden State was 600 pounds of Ghirardelli's chocolate.

Once settled in the still sleepy town of San Francisco, Lick began shrewdly purchasing land. He also wrote to Ghirardelli, telling him of the positive response his chocolate had received and the world of opportunity this new frontier represented.

Lick established the Lick House, a renowned luxury hotel and restaurant; he also continued acquiring considerable amounts of valuable property in and around San Francisco. A great philanthropist, Lick eventually donated much of his land and funds to local causes, one of which is the Lick Observatory on nearby Mt. Hamilton, home to what was once the world's largest telescope.

The origin of Lick's interest in building such a telescope is somewhat of a mystery. Inspired by lectures on astronomy and geology given by a young Portugese-American named George Madeira, Lick invited Madeira to his ranch for a weekend. While observing the stars through his telescope, Madeira is said to have exclaimed, "Why, if I had your wealth, Mr. Lick, I would construct the largest telescope possible."

Irked to discover that he could not will his money directly to the state for the construction of the observatory, the aging Lick was forced to place his fortune in the hands of a trust commissioned to carry out his wishes. After Lick's death trustees signed a contract for 36-inch lenses with Alvan Clark & Sons, who ordered the glass disks from Feil and Company of Paris. The crown glass cracked during packing and only after 19 more failures - at a cost that drove the company into bankruptcy - was Feil and Company successful. The project was completed by Alvan Clark & Sons and delivered safely to Mt. Hamilton on December 29, 1886.

Eight years after its commencement the finest observatory of its time was built, equipped and in operation.


Plaque #5 - The Bell Tower

It was in 1986 that Maas-Rowe Carillons, established in California in 1922, installed a chime of 14 cast bronze bells in Ghirardelli Square's Bell Tower. Ghirardelli has fourteen bells presently and the capability of twenty-four. Played automatically by a digital player, the bells themselves were cast at the John Taylor & Company bell foundry in Loughborough, England.

Practicing its art since the 18th century, the Taylor company has placed its bells in many of the world's most famous towers, including the Bok Singing Tower in Lake Wales, Florida, the Washington Cathedral in Washington D.C. and Yale University. Cast from the highest quality metal, each bell is comprised of roughly one-fourth tin and three-fourths copper; slight variations in the percentages are part of the bell founder's art.

The largest musical instruments in the world, carillons are a combination of at least two chromatic octaves of perfectly tuned bells, attracting attention for centuries. The Ghirardelli Bells are actually considered to be Chimes. A Chime consists of a limited number of bells for the playing of single note melodies. The repertroire can be greatly enlarged with each addition to the number of bells until it attains the dignity of a carillon. Chimes may be operated manually, electro-magnetically or electronically using keyboards or automatic controls or tune playing equipment.

Included among over 8,000 United States churches, colleges, universities and city halls in which Maas-Rowe has installed its bell instruments, are the United States Naval and Coast Guard Academies. Locally its instruments can also be heard at Mission Dolores and the San Francisco Opera.


Plaque #6 - Mustard Business

The history of Ghirardelli's mustard business begins with Domingo Ghirardelli's early influence by his apprenticeship in Rapallo, Italy with a confectioner and importer of exotic spices. It was most likely here that he became aware of its importance, and learned how to make various kinds of mustard powders and pastes.

During his Gold Rush years and throughout the company's nineteenth century growth, mustard and spices are continually in evidence. But it was through the friendship that his son, Domingo Jr., had with August Schilling that D. Ghirardelli & Co. originally found itself in an important spice business. As Schilling did not manufacture mustard as a company, it contracted with the Ghirardellis to do so. While D. Ghirardelli & Co. sold dry mustard under its own label, "The Pioneer Mustard Company," its paste was marketed under the Schilling label. Even after Schilling was bought by McCormick & Company in 1946, Ghirardelli continued to manufacture their mustard.

The Mustard Building was constructed after the Ghirardelli sons got the cocoa and chocolate manufactory moved and operational in the current location, and was begun in 1899 and completed in 1911. Along with many other older buildings in Ghirardelli Square, it was renovated and converted in 1964 for use as retail shops and restaurants.


Plaque #7 - Alcatraz Island

In 1775 our shores witnessed the arrival of Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala who named Alcatraz Island "La Isla de los Alcatraces" - The Island of the Pelicans. Since then it has gained worldwide renown as "The Rock." the federal penitentiary that for 30 years housed many of the most infamous, notorious and incorrigible prisoners ever known.

But Alcatraz Island provided a valuable service long before it became as famous as its inmates. In 1853 the U.S. Army thought its location was perfect for defending the San Francisco Bay and began building fortifications on Alcatraz. The first lighthouse on the Pacific coast was erected on Alcatraz in 1854, just as the Woolen Mill was reaching its height of production.

No enemy ever attacked the island, and in 1906 Alcatraz was converted into the Army's Pacific Branch military prison, where American soldiers sentenced to hard labor chipped rock, constructed roadways and buildings, and transported soil from neighboring Angel Island.

In 1933 the Army transferred Alcatraz to the newly-formed Federal Bureau of Prisons, which redesigned the prison as a maximum security facility to which non-reformable inmates from other federal institutions were sent to be isolated. In addition to barbed wire, guard towers and double-barred windows, prisoners were surrounded by the cold, swift and shark-infested currents of the San Francisco Bay.

But life on the island was not enough to encourage every inmate's cooperation. Those who were disruptive, assaulted officers or broke property were confined to isolation cells for every hour of every day. Boredom and loss of privileges were their punishment; they left their cells once a week for a 10-minute shower. Some were kept in total darkness, with bedding issued only at night.

From 1934 to 1939 there was a "no talking" rule which prohibited inmates from speaking to each other except when outside. As a result they either used a Morse code-type of communication they developed, or they would speak through the plumbing, whereby they'd put their heads in the toilet bowls, cover them with a blanket and speak through the pipes.

Among the more infamous inmates were Al Capone, "Machine Gun" Kelly, Ma Barker's right-hand man "Creepy" Karpis, and Robert "Birdman" Stroud. Thirty-six men tried to escape Alcatraz. Although none is known to have succeeded, three inmates - Frank Morris, John Anglin and brother Clarence Anglin - were never seen again after they cleverly dug, climbed and crawled their way out on June 11, 1962. Despite homemade flotation devices, it is believed that they drowned in the chilly Bay waters, although they may have survived.

The cost of transporting food and supplies to the island became prohibitive, and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy closed the prison on March 21, 1963. Native American Indians, citing an 1868 treaty, claimed and occupied Alcatraz from 1969 to 1971. In 1972 it was made part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area administered by the National Park Service, which is trying to preserve the historic buildings while opening more of the island for public use.


Plaque #8 - Shipping Industry

Around the time of the Gold Rush and before it was filled in with land, the area that constitutes much of San Francisco's waterfront was shallow, muddy flats. The loading and unloading of people and commercial cargo was made easier with the construction of a 2,000-foot long Central Wharf that extended into the deeper waters of the Bay; near it were constructed shorter wharves.

When over-expansion and declining revenues led to San Francisco's "Black Friday" collapse of 1855, the gold Rush was officially over and the waterfront became a graveyard of abandoned ships moored in the flats offshore. Soon landlocked, their seaworthy hulls formed the sides of new buildings and the foundations for new piers.

Although not as busy and bustling as it once was, the ports and piers of San Francisco continue to play an important role in the city's history and commerce. They're located on a waterfront that extends seven-and-one-half miles, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Candlestick Point.

Along the way you'll find active cargo terminals, dry docks, ferry service for commuters, cruise passenger terminals, historic ships, pleasure boats, public fishing, shipping, dining, and some of the most spectacular views of San Francisco Bay and its surroundings. Whether you're a native or a visitor, they all combine to create an experience worth repeating again and again.

Across the southern bay, tankers and deep-draft ships are moored in a deeper anchorage area, where they await the high tides that will ease their movement into shallower north bay navigation channels. Oil tankers often elevate themselves in the water by transferring portions of their loads to smaller oil carriers, after which they can sail to the refineries located in the north bay. Patient observers can watch ships moored in the anchorage area rotate around their anchors as the tides change.

The Bay Area is the fourth largest economic region in the U.S. Dredging of channels permits deep water ships to reach new ports far inland like Stockton and Sacramento. Oakland is a major container port.

While major import commodities include coffee, refrigerated meat, rice, beer and high-tech items from Asia, major exports include cotton, animal feed, fruits and nuts (much of which comes from California's Central Valley.)


Plaque #9 - Marine Life of the Bay

The Bay in front of Ghirardelli Square is filled with a wealth of sea life and natural wonders.

While as many as 135 fish species have been identified in the San Francisco Bay, among the more familiar are the Pacific Herring, leopard shark and striped bass. Pacific herring migrate through the Golden Gate during winter and early spring and deposit their sticky eggs on seaweed and rocks around the Marin coastline, Richardson Bay and Point San Pablo. They usually grow to no more than 18 inches in length.

Despite its name and appearance, the leopard shark is harmless; it's one of many shark species found in the Bay. It has a dark gray body covered with black lines and spots, and rarely grows to be more than six feet long.

Perhaps the most famous and recent Bay inhabitant is the mammal sea lion. Known for its intelligence, playfulness and noisy barking, it is attracted to the abundant food supply and protected environment of the San Francisco Bay. Often seen in zoos and aquariums, the adult male sea lion can weigh up to 1,000 pounds and reach seven feet in length. Females may weigh up to 350 pounds and reach six feet. The male can also be distinguished from the female by the crest (or bump) that develops on its head at age five.

Today the San Francisco Bay covers 400 square miles, most of which is less than 18 feet deep. There are three natural forces responsible f or creating the Bay, its hills and beaches.

About 2.5 million years ago the Sacramento River, which now originates north of Redding, California off of Mt Shasta, flowed south and westward into a valley, which is now the Bay. According to theory, it kept flowing through what is now the Golden Gate and met the ocean a few miles west of the present shoreline.

The mountain chain that meets the ocean along most of the California coast was created by shifting faults in the state's unstable land. As the faults pushed the coast range up, they buckled the land from north and south, further defining the Sacramento Valley, which would become the bed for the Bay.

As more than half the earth's ice has melted in the last 25,000 years, the sea level has gradually risen and, as it did, the ocean infiltrated the existing valley and created the San Francisco Bay.


Plaque #10 - Old San Francisco History

There was no Golden Gate Bridge. There was no Alcatraz Island. And there was no Ghirardelli Square.

At first, San Francisco was an unfriendly, unexplored area of scrub land inhabited only by Coastanoan Indians. The Spanish claimed the territories of "Alta California" for their own in the 17th century; in 1775 a Spanish supply vessel commanded by Lt Juan Manuel de Ayala entered the Bay. He returned to San Blas with stories of a bay filled with black-brown otters and a harbor large enough to hold all the fleets of the world. In no time the Spanish made San Francisco's Black Point the site of their Presidio (located on the shores just north of Ghirardelli Square.)

San Francisco remained under Spanish and then Mexican flags for the next 70 years; for 13 years the Presidio was Mexico's major outpost in northern California. In 1846 unruly and impatient North Bay frontiersmen staged the Bear Flag Revolt. War between the US and Mexico quickly followed, and in six months Captain John Montgomery of the US Navy occupied the Bay.

The 1849 Gold Rush swelled the City's population from 900 to more than 50,000 in the space of just two years. On May 4, 1851 the anniversary of the City's second great fire was marked by the City's fifth great fire. Supposedly fireproof brick walls that had been built in the previous year crumbled in pieces before the furious flames. When the iron shutters and doors that complemented the brick walls expanded in the fire's heat, building after building became nothing but a furnace that trapped those inside.

The business district was destroyed, including Domingo Ghirardelli's grocery at Broadway and Battery Streets. Damage was moderately estimated at between $10 and $12 million. Six months later Ghirardelli opened his Cairo Coffee Company on Commercial Street.

The next disaster to strike the City was the 1906 earthquake and fire, caused by the San Andreas Fault; the San Andreas skirts the city along its western shores before rejoining the mainland north in Marin County. Fortunately, Ghirardelli's factory on North Point Street suffered no damage. In fact, the San Francisco Chronicle of April 29, 1906 carried the following announcement: "To Grocers and Confectioners. Our stock is uninjured and perfectly sound. We can supply you with our Chocolate and Cocoa. We will resume manufacturing operations within Ten Days. D Ghirardelli Company."


Plaque #11 - The Golden Gate and Bay Bridges

Built during the Great Depression, both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge were erected to relieve a ferry business that was transporting 50 million people a year by the late 1920s, including the Oakland-based Ghirardelli family; the San Francisco Ferry Building was the busiest transit station in the US.

The shores of Ghirardelli Square witnessed construction on the Golden Gate Bridge which began in January, 1933 and it was, by all accounts, grueling. Working at such heights required courage and athleticism, the engineering had to be flawless, and foundations for the towers - which at 746 feet are 191 feet taller than the Washington Monument - had to be sunk in the narrow and turbulent Golden Gate strait.

Two "fenders" the size of football fields were constructed to protect the towers from the forceful waters. Enough steel and wire to circle the earth three times was used to support the roadway, which is 220 feet above the ocean; each of the giant supporting cables measures 36.5 inches in diameter and is made up of 27,512 steel strands.

Despite the tragedy that struck in February, 1937, when a scaffold gave way and 10 men fell to their deaths, the bridge opened to pedestrian traffic three months later on May 27. Total cost was $35 million, and for 25 years following its completion it stood as the longest single span in the world.

The bridge is designed to move up to 54 feet horizontally and 16 feet vertically. Despite its name, weather tests proved International Orange to be the best color to paint it. (Paint companies now use the area to test the durability of new colors.) By 1994, the Golden Gate Bridge was crossed by nearly 60,000 cars every day.

Construction on the Bay Bridge also started in 1933, beginning with a simple cantilever bridge that was erected between Oakland and Yerba Buena Island.

A tunnel 76 feet high and 58 feet wide - the largest diameter tunnel in the world - was then dug through the island. A suspension bridge was built between Yerba Buena and Rincon Hill in San Francisco, anchored by a 400-foot tall pier that used more concrete than the Empire State Building. As the San Francisco Bay was the deepest body of water every spanned, the pier's foundations were sunk through the mud and down to the bedrock beneath.

Once the foundations were in place, the building of the four 500-foot towers and the double-tiered roadways could begin. In November of 1936, less than three-and-a-half years after construction began, the Bay Bridge was completed. Its cost was $80 million, at that time the most ever spent on a single structure. Approximately 250,000 cars crossed it every day by 1994.


Plaque #12 - Fog & Microclimates

Located on the northern end of a narrow peninsula that separates San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco is seven miles wide, seven miles long, and surrounded on three sides by cool bodies of water. Its climate is classified as Mediterranean, a climate which appealed to the Italian-born Domingo Ghirardelli, and is typical of the region bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It's characterized by mild temperatures, dry summers and wet winters; roughly 80 percent of its rain falls from November through March. (Snow has fallen in measurable amounts only three times this century.)

The most notable feature of San Francisco's climate is the fog, a part of life in the City which contributes to the appealing atmosphere of Ghirardelli Square. It is most common during the summertime, when a phenomenon called 'up welling' brings colder water from the ocean's bottom up to the surface. The prevailing westerly winds bring the warmer, more humid air over the cooler water near the coast, creating moisture that condenses to form fog. The fog is then drawn inland by the breezes and the hot air that covers California's Central Valley.

The complex topography of San Francisco creates different patterns of fog and significant temperature variability. Once desolate and windy, the land on which San Francisco is built bears little resemblance to the terrain of 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. When sand eroded form the coastal cliffs to the south, it was carried by currents to San Francisco's long beach, where persistent westerly winds blew it across the upper peninsula. For ages the sand piled up, stretching more than six miles from Ocean Beach on the Pacific to the San Francisco Bay; some drifts crested at 600 feet. Much of the Sunset and Richmond Districts in the western part of the city would be hilly if their contours weren't leveled by sand.

City Hall, which is five miles from the coast, was built on 80 feet of sand. And were it not for the windbreak created when Golden Gate Park was built in the 1870's the winds and sand would still be at work burying San Francisco. Ghirardelli Square's place on the waterfront might well be affected were it not for this natural phenomenon.

Although author Mark Twain is credited with saying that "the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco," a sweater is usually sufficient - and advisable - most of the year. One a typical summer afternoon today the downtown area will be bathed in sunshine and temperatures near 70 while just a few blocks to the west it will be overcast with temperatures in the upper 50's.

One of the most beautiful times of the year for residents of the bay area is the holiday season where cool crisp air brings out old-fashioned feelings and Ghirardelli Square's old brick buildings come alive with thousand of lights glowing in the misty fog. Other seasons of note are spring, which as early as February brings flowering trees and bulbs into view at the Square. And then the most quintessentially "San Francisco weather" of all arrives in the days of September and October. In this season the days are warm the nights are cool and the Bay is a sailor's delight.


Plaque #13 - Woolen Mill Building

The oldest structure in Ghirardelli Square the Woolen Mill was founded by merchants Heynemann, Pick & Co. in response to the increased production of wool on the west coast. Messrs. Heynemann and Pick reasoned that San Francisco was an ideal location for the export of woolen products, and that their factory could produce higher quality goods less expensively.

Originally built in 1858, the aptly named Pioneer Woolen Mill was the first woolen mil in California, beginning the state's shift in economic development from raw material extraction to manufacturing. With four sets of cards and 16 looms, it was burned the ground 1861. Late that same year construction began on the structure you see today, which commenced operations in June, 1862 with machinery for nine sets of cards, 31 looms and 2,800 spindles.

One of the first factories in California, it helped introduce industrialization to the region. For some time almost its entire capacity was consumed on the west coast The Mill's flannel was superior to that made on the east coast; 50 to 60 sewing machines were kept in constant operation for the purpose of sewing shirts.

The superior quality of its blankets soon found the Pioneer Woolen Mill filling orders for the American army and several armies in Europe. During the Civil War its production as almost exclusively dedicated to the demand for blankets, flannels and uniforms used and worn by the Union troops. At that time its 800 employees - 500 whites and 300 Chinese - were a reflection of the labor pool in California.

Having absorbed the Mission Mills and taken machinery from Pacific Mills, annual production increased to at least 30,000 pairs of blankets, flannels of all kinds , robes and ladies' cloakings. At its peak the Mill was consuming 3.5 million pounds of wool and 1000,000 pounds of cotton as raw material. In 1888 total sales reached $1,150,000. But by 1889 it had lost many of its government contracts and was losing money. In a letter to shareholders, company President Heynemann announced the unravelling of the mill. He accepted the blame for the loss of confidence in the mill's production and tendered his resignation; the mill was forced to close.

In 1893 the Pioneer Woolen Mill and the square block it occupied - along with a wooden box factory (now the site of the Wurster Building) and a row of wooden houses along North Point Street that housed mill workers and their families - were sold at an auction to Domingo Ghirardelli's sons, who converted the mill into a chocolate factory.


Plaque #14 - Fisherman's Wharf

Similar to Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman's Wharf is virtually synonymous with San Francisco and is home to some of the City's most famous restaurants. Over 87 percent of all visitors to the City go to the Wharf. But it wasn't always known by that name.

The Pomo Indians were the first to fish here; they fished for crab and shrimp prior to the arrival of the Chinese in the mid-1800s. (The Chinese were the only ones who were taxed to fish.) In the late 1800s the San Francisco Bay was fished primarily by Italians, who also fished along the coast from Half Moon Bay to Fort Bragg. Their fleet consisted of lateen-rigged "feluccas"; in 1890 there were over 1,000 feluccas docked at Fisherman's Wharf. And men were often joined on their fishing expeditions by women.

From 1880 to 1936 the wharf was known as Italy Harbor. Much of the area was actually occupied by lumber yards, which were later replaced by canneries, built to process the fruit brought in through Pier 45. The Del Monte Company once occupied the buildings now known as The Cannery.

In 1936 journalists began writing about a local baseball legend named Joe D'Maggio, who was the son of a fisherman and a resident of North Beach, the adjacent and Italian sections of San Francisco. They began referring to the wharf area as "Fisherman's Wharf," and the name stuck.

There are actually two lagoons at Fisherman's Wharf. The inner lagoon, which dates back to 1894 and is visible from Jefferson Street, is primarily used by sports fishing vessels. The outer lagoon, located next to Pier 45, is used by the commercial fishing industry. (Partially built on landfill, Pier 45 was severely damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, requiring $13 million in repairs.) All told, the Wharf is home to 150 permanent berths.

In the 1990s about 40 million pounds of fish valued at more than $20 million come into the ports around San Francisco Bay, half of which comes into the Port of San Francisco. Every fisherman at sea produces eight on-shore jobs.

The herring roe fishery ranks as the largest in the Bay (Exceeding salmon, Dungeness crab, rock cod and sole) with annual revenues near $11 million; herring is also the major export, in particular to the Japanese market. In November and December people work day and night to catch and off load the fish, and you can often hear the pumps running as the fishing boats are unloaded. Other local fish include crab, salmon, squid, abalone, link, mackerel and halibut.


Plaque #15 - Early Transportation

They are as much a part of San Francisco as sourdough bread and shrimp cocktails. Yet despite their popularity, or perhaps because of it, they are part of the only cable car system in the world.

Andrew Hallidie, who actually manufactured wire rope, invented the cable car in 1873 as a replacement for horse-drawn cars, which were expensive to care for, had difficulty maneuvering on the hills, and left literally tons of manure in their wake.

Hallidie's company, The California Wire Works, occupied an entire city block in what is now the Fisherman's Wharf area. Hallidie's cable cars were a big success, enabling their riders to safely negotiate steep hills. By 1890 San Francisco was home to eight cable car companies which collectively operated 600 cars over 100 miles of track. They were subsequently successfully introduced in other cities in America, as well as London and Sydney.

The cable cars have neither engines nor motors. They are powered by an endless underground moving cable - kept in motion by gigantic wheels housed in "barns" - onto which the cable cars grip, similar in principle to a rope tow used by skiers. To stop the cable car, the grip is released. The cables move constantly at 9.5 miles per hour.

While cars and electric lines have rendered cable cars obselete everywhere else, today there are 44 cable cars in San Francisco; on a typical day 27 are in operation. There are three "lines" in the city. The cables for these lines, which are continuous loops of wire rope, range in length from 9,050 feet to 21,500 feet - over four miles. Due to the constant gripping and ungripping of the cars, the cables have a relatively short life: Each must be completely replaced every 75 to 250 days.

Beyond being a great source of civic pride and the star of innumerable television commercials, San Francisco's cable cars were designated the national's only mobile historical landmark in 1964. But just as important as getting around in the City was getting to the City. Prior to the building of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges the San Francisco Ferry Terminal was the second busiest in the world - only London's Charing Cross Station facilitated more people. One hundred thousand commuters embarked from eight docking slips each working day. There were 170 arrivals and departures a day, servicing various ports in the Bay and the Sacramento Delta. The fare for a ferry between San Francisco and Oakland? Only 10 cents. Cable cars and Ghirardelli Square: synonymous with San Francisco history.


Plaque #16 - Angel Island

The largest in San Francisco Bay, Angel Island covers just over one square mile. Its history is perhaps as storied as any place in the region, and has displayed a wealth of visual history of the shores of Ghirardelli Square.

It was first occupied by Miwok Indians some 2,000 years ago, who used the island for fishing and hunting.

In August of 1775 Juan Manuel de Ayala, who is credited with naming many other nearby lands, anchored his ship, the San Carlos, in what is now known as Ayala Cove. Subsequently, the island has served many people and purposes. In the late 1700s and early 1800s it was the source of freshwater and firewood during the peak years of the whaling trade. Russian sea otter hunters camped and stored furs there. It was home to a Mexican cattle ranch. And in the mid-1800's it served as a dueling spot for settling "affairs of honor," sometimes witnessed by a thousand people.

Angel Island's utility would eventually prove even more diverse. During the 1870s a recession, unemployment and a general intolerance of foreigners gave rise to anti-Chinese secret societies and racist legislation at all levels. Consequently, many U.S. Resident Chinese were deported; t hose who could prove citizenship through paternal lineage weren't denied entry. Those without true U.S. fathers became "paper sons" and "paper daughters" by buying papers identifying them as children of American citizens.

The 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed many of the records verifying citizenship; many Chinese living in San Francisco were then able to claim citizenship, although the Bureau of Immigration (then in waterfront warehouses) detained all working-class Chinese immigrants for interrogation. If the detainee's answers didn't match the father's, he or she was ordered deported. (About 10 percent of those detained were deported.)

Angel Island, on which an immigration station had been completed in 1910, was where many of Chinese descents awaited their fate, housed in cold and drafty barracks that separated the men from the women and children. Their anger, loneliness and homesickness was often expressed in poetry carved or written on the walls.

Although the immigration station was also designed to handle the flood of European immigrants who were expected to begin arriving once the Panama Canal was open, the outbreak of World War I delayed their arrival. Asian Immigrants continued to arrive on the west coast, however. (The first Chinese had arrived in 1848, lured by the promise of gold.)

Angel Island's location also proved popular to the U.S. Army, which thought it a valuable site from which to defend the west coast. Although the Army lowered the flat at Fort McDowell for the last time in 1946, it returned several years later to establish a Nike underground missile base, which cased operations in 1962 when the missiles became obselete.

In December of 1962 virtually the entire island was turned over to the state for park purposes (with the exception of a seven-acre Coast Guard station which is still active). In 1970 it was dedicated as a State Historical Landmark.

Open to the public and accessible by ferry, Angel Island today is home to a diverse animal and bird population.


Plaque #17 - Maritime Museum

Built during the Great Depression as a public bath house, the Maritime Museum has occupied this building since 1951. A national historic park administered by the National Park Service, it's open to the public and captures the romance and excitement of west coast seafaring. On display are tools, mast sections and figureheads.

Unique artifacts and historic photographs capture the excitement of the California Gold Rush and the west coast whaling industry. In the Steamship Room displays and models chronicle steam technology from the tiny "mail packet" steamers to giant cargo vessels. And the Harmon Gallery highlights the days of exploration and expansion on the west coast.

For visitors who wish to explore the real thing, there are several ships berthed just two blocks south at the Hyde Street Pier, including the Eppleton Hall (reminiscent of the paddle tugs that towed ships into the San Francisco Bay during the gold rush), the Eureka (a side wheel ferry built in 1890 and used to shuttle passengers and autos across the Bay), and the Balclutha (a square-rigged Cape Horn sailing vessel launched from Scotland in 1886).

Three blocks farther south at Pier 45 you'll find the USS Pampanito, a restored Navy fleet submarine designed for long-range cruises in the Pacific during World War II, when she sank six Japanese ships and damaged four others. Named after the fish, the Pampanito is 312 feet long and 27 feet wide. It was home to 10 officers and 70 enlisted crewmen, each of whom volunteered to live and work in the tight quarters and hazardous conditions in exchange for an additional $20 per month pay. Unlike life on today's submarines, which are much larger and feature amenities such as CD players and VCRs, life on the Pampanito was fairly monotonous. While one crew member worked, another slept in his bunk. Laundry was cranked through wringer and then dried on top of the submarine's hot engines. Although they could store enough food for a 90-day tour, it wasn't much good after 50.

Entertainment was limited, often found in USO dances held at various ports of call. Since the men drank lumpy dehydrated milk when on board, the first thing many would do when ashore was look for ice cream, fresh fruit and milk.

The USS Pampanito has been anchored at Pier 45 since 1982. In December, 1988 stormy weather caused her to drag her anchors and hit the pier. Although she obviously survived, she suffered more damage in a few hours of stormy weather than she incurred in all of World War II.


Plaque #18 - unavailable

Installation removed


Plaque #19 - Cocoa Grinder

Consisting of a large cast iron vat and two millstones, this inoperable cocoa grinder was originally used in the Ghirardelli Manufactory located on Jackson Street. After the cocoa beans were roasted, they were moved into the milling room, where several grinders such as this one were located. Once dumped into a grinder, the beans were ground into a liquid the consistency of molasses.

The liquid was then poured into pans, where it solidified over a 24-hour period. The hardened "cakes" were then broken, sugar was kneaded in and flavoring was added. (In plain chocolate the sugar is omitted). The chocolate was then ready for weighing, shaping and stamping.

The liquid could also be pressed, separating it into cocoa solids and cocoa butter for other uses.

Although nobody knows exactly who was responsible, in the mid-1860s it was discovered that when a bag of chocolate was hung in a very warm room the cocoa butter would drip out. The remaining residue could then be crushed into ground chocolate, a powder named "broma." This was known as the "Broma Process," and broma became the featured product of the Pioneer Eagle Chocolate Manufactory, the name Domingo Ghirardelli briefly gave the company.

Prior to 1492, the Old World knew nothing about the flavor that was to become the favorite of millions. It was during this conquest of Mexico that Cortez found the Aztec Indians using cocoa beans in the preparation of the royal drink "chocolatl" In 15919? Emperor Montezuma treated it like ambrosia for the gods, serving chocolatl to his Spanish guests in golden goblets.

Today the Ghirardelli Chocolate factory, which was built across the bay in San Leandro in 1963, produces 40,000 pounds of pure chocolate a year by combining the yield from 14,000 cocoa bean trees, which are grown in South America, with 29 million pounds of milk, the total production of 1,500 cows. The company produces annually enough chocolate chips to create a stack that, piled one on top of another, would reach from here to the moon.


Plaque #20 - The Wurster Building

In 1893 Domingo Ghirardelli's sons purchased at auction the Pioneer Woolen Mill, which had become insolvent and ceased operations in 1889. They intended the mill - and the square block it occupied - as the site for their chocolate factory. Included in the property were the four-story brick mill building, a wooden box factory and a row of wooden houses along North Point street which , at one time, had housed the mill's workers and their families. There were also stables for wagons and horses.

The mill was immediately converted for use as a cocoa factory. Meanwhile, the Ghirardelli's commissioned San Francisco's first architect, William Mooser, to create a complex for their chocolate and mustard businesses. Although Mooser spared the box factory, he moved it diagonally from the corner of North Point and Polk to the corner of Larkin and Beach streets.

This was the site of the box factory, where wooden parking crates and corrugated cardboard boxes were assembled in which to transport the products. Chocolate was shipped in 50-pound crates, the sides of which were branded with "Ghirardelli." Because it represented a tremendous fire hazard, it was isolated form the other buildings.

A simple but elegant wooden building, the removal of the box factory was necessitated by changing building regulations; fire codes and other ordinances made its restoration infeasible. In its place was constructed the Wurster Building, named after its architect, William Wilson Wurster. Wurster's firm had also been chosen by Bill Roth to convert and adapt the majority of Ghirardelli Square's buildings.

The Wurster building was the largest of Ghirardelli Square's new structures, its 24,000 square feet of floor area devoted to shops and restaurants. While the easterly part of the building was completed in 1964, the westerly portion was completed in 1968.

As it turned out, Ghirardelli Square was to be Wurster's last important work. His elegant style is most clearly evident in the perfectly proportioned bays on the north side of the Wurster Building (facing the San Francisco Bay). With its repeated bay window rhythm, this glass and metal wall is both modern and traditionally San Francisco. It's no coincidence that the Wurster Building - with its views from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Bridge to the waterfront - is among the most popular in Ghirardelli Square.


Plaque #21 - The Powerhouse Building

Installation unavailable


Plaque #22 - The Goldrush Era

It was at John Sutter's sawmill on the American River in Coloma, California (outside Sacramento) on January 24, 1848 that California became the land of gold. On that day James Marshall made his momentous discovery of the precious metal. And as news of the California Gold Rush spread, the world looked on as San Francisco quickly grew from a shanty town of tents to a bustling city.

Life on the Pacific coats had been leisurely. San Francisco was as unprepared for the inundation that would follow Marshall's discovery as any outpost could have been. Rumors of gold and riches spread like wildfire, attracting more than a handful of hopeful prospectors. President James Polk's confirmation of the Gold Rush in his State of the Union address late in 1848 made it official. From Europe, Asia and South America they came: 42,000 by land and another 40,000 by sea.

A port that once accommodated one or two ships a year quickly became harbor to more than 300, many of which were abandoned on the waterfront's shallow shores by impatient miners anxious to strike gold. (Ironically, all of John Sutter's hired hands left to find their fortunes. His land was overrun by prospectors and he was left in financial ruin.)

When he arrived in San Francisco from Peru in 1849 Domingo Ghirardelli's destination was also the mines of the Mother Lode. He headed for the Jamestown-Sonora area, about 100 miles east of San Francisco. Although he spoke little English, he would find Italian, Spanish and French-speaking companions in that area.

He did not, however, find much gold. Soon he directed his efforts toward the mercantile business, opening his first general store in Stockton, the town nearest the mines. From the cover of his canvas tent he supplied the growing number of miners with coffee, chocolate, liqueurs, mustard and spices. Competition and the increasing demands from miners forced Ghirardelli to expand; he began regularly purchasing supplies from the ports of San Francisco.

Soon Domingo opened Ghirardelli Grocery on the corner of Broadway and Battery Streets in San Francisco. This served as a supply base for his "French Soda Fountain," as his business in Stockton came to be called. It also put Ghirardelli at the heart of San Francisco's Gold Rush boom district.

The spectacular profits of '49 eventually dropped off. The flow of gold slowed to a trickle. Faced with 1853's winter rains and freezing temperatures, many miners fled the hills and headed for Nevada's Comstock Lode and the newly opened copper mines of Arizona. The prospectors that had rushed in left a half-finished boom town and 50,000 people with few established means of livelihood. Over-expansion and declining revenues led to San Francisco's "Black Friday" collapse in 1855 and the end of the Gold Rush era.


Plaque #23 - Ghirardelli Square's Overview

As complex and storied as it is, the history of Ghirardelli Square could arguably be condensed to three time periods, two men, and one place, all of which played vital and invaluable roles in the development and history of San Francisco.

The first time period began in 1849 when Domingo Ghirardelli, a native-born Italian who had owned and operated confection business in Peru, arrived in San Francisco at the outset of the Gold Rush era. Unable to find the "gold in them thar' hills," he opened a small store in nearby Stockton, using San Francisco as a supply base.

In 1852 the Domingo Ghirardelli Company was founded in San Francisco at Kearny and Washington Streets, selling candy, syrup, coffee, pastes, fruit and pastries. Six years later the Pioneer Woolen Mill, which would eventually supply the Union Army with much of its uniforms and blankets, would be erected right here, where it still stands.

In 1889, lack of business forced the Pioneer Woolen Mill to close. Four years later Ghirardelli's sons bought the mill at an auction and moved the company's chocolate factory to the site; this marked the beginning of the second stage of the Square's history. Although Domingo died in 1894 at the age of 77, his sons continued in their father's footsteps, adding to the business and the property by building a new Chocolate Building, Cocoa Building, Mustard Building, Clock Tower and Box Factory, among other structures.

In 1963 the third stage began when the Ghirardelli family sold the chocolate business to Golden Grain Macaroni Company, who moved the manufacturing plant across the Bay to its present location in San Leandro. At the same time, the square block of property previously occupied by the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company was put up for sale.

The second major player in the Square's chronicle was William M Roth. With his mother Mrs William P Roth they purchased the Ghirardelli factory for $2.5 million in 1963. Guided by the early vision of Karl Kortum, Roth who was concerned that historic sites were being too quickly eliminated, wanted to restore and convert the red brick complex to other uses.

The site offered spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay and close proximity to the millions of visitors who came to nearby Fisherman's Wharf. This originally led to thoughts about a combination of retail shops, restaurants, housing and small hotels. First and foremost Roth wanted to create a quality product for San Francisco and its residents, a place that recalled European cities such as Rome and Paris. He enlisted a group of people who could help him realize his dreams, commissioning the distinguished architectural firm Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons, Pasadena architect John Mathias, and landscape architect Lawrence Halprin.

Roth's' goal was to preserve part of the city's history and heritage, to spare the Square from unsightly and unnecessary commercial development. He wanted to preserve as many of Ghirardelli Square's old buildings as possible while converting them and a few new and smaller structures for use as retail shops, restaurants and offices. Of the older structures only the Box Factory was removed, replaced with the Wurster Building.

In 1965 Ghirardelli Square was declared an official city landmark; in 1982 it was granted a place on the National Historic Register. 1982 was also the year the Roths sold Ghirardelli Square to its current owners. Today, in addition to its unique variety of retail shops, galleries and restaurants, it is home to a number of professional businesses. IT has become and remains a favorite destination of natives and visitors alike.


Plaque #24 - Waterfront Preservation

The story of San Francisco's splendid waterfront would not be complete without including Karl Kortum, the man who, by himself and with others, has done more to insure its restoration than any other individual or group.

He had retired to the family farm in Petaluma where he was writing a book about his voyage around South America's Cape Horn, a dream come true for Kortum. But it wasn't until he took a Hyde Street cable car ride in San Francisco in 1949 that his real life's work became apparent.

"It was a sunny afternoon and I got off outside the Buena Vista," he later remembered. "I'm a photographer and I notice the play of light on surfaces. The light was shining on the side of the old Haslett warehouse; it was very handsome. So I looked around me and saw the L-shaped row of old red-brick factory buildings." It was on this day that he thought of his plan for the northern waterfront.

He envisioned creating a maritime museum at the Aquatic Park Casino, with a square rigger and schooners to be restored and anchored in the nearby lagoon. He saw the Hyde Street cable car extending into a Victorian Park. He saw the Haslett Warehouse as a railroad museum. To a certain extent his vision also included the block that housed Ghirardelli Square.

Kortum believed that when you wanted something done the first step was to get the press in your corner - official support would follow naturally. So he enlisted the help of a new friend, an editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, Scott Newhall, brother of one of Kortum's Cape Horn shipmates.

Newhall called a luncheon at the City's Bohemian Club with the publishers of San Francisco's other three papers (there were then four). It was September of 1949, exactly 100 years after the City's first boom, and they - along with Mayor Robinson - all endorsed it.

Together with Newhall, the papers, the mayor and a non-profit citizen's committee, "Project X" was completed and Kortum's vision was almost completely realized by 1961.

But Kortum was still trying to protect the antiquated area from land owners and developers who wanted to capitalize on its value. He remembered reading that the University of California was short of real estate, and it occurred to him that the soon-to-be vacated Ghirardelli block might work well for such a purpose. He presented his idea to William Roth, a long-time San Francisco and shipping scion who had recently been appointed to the UC Board of Regents.

Six months later Kortum received what he considered "probably the best phone call in my life." It was Roth's real estate chamberlain, who said "Bill has decided to buy the property. Do you have any idea what he can do with it?" And thus began the preservation of what was soon to become Ghirardelli Square.


Plaque #25 - Andrea's Fountain

Then-owner William Roth selected Ruth Asawa, well known for her abstract, woven-wire sculptures, to design and create the centerpiece fountain for Ghirardelli Square. Although it was unveiled amid some controversy in 1968, Asawa's objective was to make a sculpture that could be enjoyed by everyone. She spent one year thinking about the design and another year sculpting it from a live model and casting it in bronze.

Although landscape architect Lawrence Halprin attacked Asawa's design of a nursing mermaid seated on a sea turtle for not being a "serious" work, Asawa's intentions were clear: "For the old it would bring back the fantasy of their childhood, and for the young it would give them something to remember when they grow old!

"I wanted to make something related to the sea. I thought of all the children , and maybe even some adults, who would stand by the seashore waiting for a turtle or a mermaid to appear. As you look at the sculpture you include the Bay view which was saved for all of us, and you wonder what lies below that surface."

The most photographed feature of Ghirardelli Square, the fountain was named in honor of Andrea Jepson, the woman who served as the model for the mermaid.


Plaque #26 - The Apartment Building

Originally built in 1916 to house two identical flats for the plant's day manager and night watchman and their families, this building was converted into a restaurant in 1964. On the ground floor of its Larkin Street side an entrance to the underground parking garage was sensitively built between the flat's original entrances, where the garage doors were.

Although it shares the same style as other Ghirardelli Square buildings, the Apartment Building and the adjacent Clock Tower do not feature battlements (the parapets built on tops of walls for defense or decoration). Today, with enlarged windows and doorways, it's occupied by one of Ghirardelli Square's many unique shops.

William Roth, who, along with his mother and the civic-minded Heller family, bought Ghirardelli Square in 1963, realized the potential the Square had: "I feel that the mixture of old and new is very important. I go back to the kind of use and re-use that European cities such as Rome and Paris have made of their buildings where you get a historical layering that I think is interesting, and that speaks to the continuity of the city architecturally and yet is contemporary too."

The Apartment Building is yet another of Ghirardelli Square's buildings that is included in the National Register of Historic Places.


Plaque #27 - Cocoa & Chocolate Buildings

An architecturally important example of a "model factory," Ghirardelli Square includes an array of buildings, most of which were designed by master San Francisco architect William Mooser and constructed between 1900 and 1923. Mooser's father was the architect of the original Pioneer Woolen Mill, which is the oldest structure in the Square.

Built by the D Ghirardelli Co in 1900 as a cocoa warehouse (two stories were added in 1922), the Cocoa Building is where sacks of cocoa beans were unloaded from horse-drawn wagons that had come from the piers. (Beans are grown in countries that are within 20 degrees of the equator.) The beans were stored in the warehouse, where they were then cleaned and loaded into huge roasters which s pun like washing machines.

After roasting, the beans were removed and taken to the milling room. There they were cracked, shelled and put into heated and serrated granite or steel wheels, which ground them into a liquid (they're 50 percent cocoa butter) that is held in heated tanks, to be used in any number of cocoa products.

Many of those products were produced in the Chocolate Building, which was built in 1911 (the top floor of the Chocolate Building was added in 1919.) After removing much of the cocoa butter, the remaining cocoa was ground into a powder. To make a milk chocolate, for example, the butter and cocoa were then mixed with other ingredients such as sugar and powdered milk. This mixture was then subjected to a series of processes before being pumped into stainless steel molds, which were chilled in a cooling tunnel before being tipped over and packaged.

When he took over as general partner in 1963 William Roth asked William Wurster, who was responsible for the renovation of most buildings in Ghirardelli Square, if he would also bring Pasadena architect John Mathias aboard. Mathias had redone an old Sausalito house for the Roths, and Roth's idea was to have him design small pavilion buildings that would define the three major public spaces within the Square.

In contrast to the solid, old factory, these interior buildings were to be light, modern and airy. Mathias looked at the space in the center of the Square as a room and he wanted his small buildings to function as furniture. Among his more whimsical buildings are the octagonal-roofed carousel building and the small glass cupola that divides the Square into two halves.

In 1968 both the Cocoa Building and the Chocolate Building were converted into shops, restaurants and offices.


Plaque #28 - The Landmark Sign

In 1915 a huge electric sign was mounted atop the chocolate factory, measuring 25 feet high and 165 feet long. One of the most handsome all giant signs, it originally featured two faces: one looked toward the ship traffic, the other faced the Russian Hill section of the city.

During World War II it had to be turned off for blackouts. It remained off until 1964, when the side facing the San Francisco Bay was restored and turned on with the opening of Ghirardelli Square.

An early and avid user of mass advertising, Ghirardelli also used large billboards with attractive commercial art up and down the west coast. A long-running campaign featured a parrot who, in an attempt to help it with the difficult pronunciation, taught the public to "Say Geer-ar-delli."


Plaque #29 - The Clock Tower

The finest and most elaborate building erected by the D Ghirardelli Company was the Clock Tower, which is located at the corner of North Point and Larkin Streets and served as the company's office building. For 46 years it served as the company's nerve center.

Modeled after elements from the Chateau at Blois in France, which was designed by Francois Mansart between 1635 and 1638, this building was constructed in 1916; its brick and steel-reinforced concrete construction replaced the wood frame building the company had employed in earlier buildings. Well maintained, it was cleaned, painted and converted into shops and offices in 1964 and still features four functioning clock faces. (The Chateau at Blois featured windows on the floor occupied by the clock faces.)

It also houses the factory whistle, which blew not only as a farewell salute to family members as they sailed past on oceanliners heading out the Golden Gate, but also when ships passed during World Wars I and II and the Korean War.

Featured over its two arched doorways are panels inscribed "D Ghirardelli Co 1852-1916." The entrance vestibule is paved with white tiles, into which is inset the eagle that continues to serve as the company's trademark. Flanking the eagle are two antique millstones from Domingo Ghirardelli's first manufactory.

In the basement of the Clock Tower is a collection of pre-1920 manufacturing equipment which was moved from other buildings and arranged in sequence to demonstrate how chocolate was made. Included are gas-fired cocoa bean roasters, a cracker-fanner (used to crack the beans and fan the husks), chocolate mills, a melangeur and a couching machine.

Landscape architect Lawrence Halprin suggested outlining the Clock Tower in small white lights during the conversion period of 1964. What sounded offensive to some only turned out to be a visual delight as a distinctive part of the San Francisco skyline proved even more beautiful at night.

The Clock Tower is among several buildings in Ghirardelli Square that have been nominated and selected for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.


Plaque #30 - Ghirardelli Square Gardens

Gardens played a large part in Domingo Ghirardelli's life, both at home and at his factory.

Although he originally lived in San Francisco, he moved across the Bay to Oakland, where he and his family could enjoy a house with a garden said to be among the largest in that city. Between their house and garden, the Ghirardellis occupied one square block with the house located in the center of it.

Being an Italian, Ghirardelli felt that his home wouldn't be complete without something from his native land. In 1858 he sent for marble statuary - including statues, urns and a fountain - from Italy, which were placed throughout the garden. Statues of Columbus and Washington flanked either side of the front steps. Fruit and vegetables were in the back, as was a large summer house that was draped in pink rose vines and honeysuckle. The garden was open to the public on weekends, during which time his children played in the backyard.

White figs were Ghirardelli's specialty, and he and his gardener would insert one drop of olive oil in each fig when it almost ripe, believing that it made them sweet and delicious. The factory here in San Francisco also featured a very Italian garden, planted with hedges, flowers and olive trees.

When William Roth bought the property in 1962 and began renovations, Lawrence Halprin was selected as landscape architect. Halprin shared the same building as the architectural firm of Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons, which had been chosen to convert the older Ghirardelli buildings and to construct one major new building, the Wurster Building.

Halprin sought to make things light, and his lamps, benches and planters reflected that. Spindly railings were chosen rather than heavy ones, the better to contrast with the chocolate factory buildings. And trees with small, fine leaves - such as Domingo Ghirardelli's beloved olive trees - were planted rather than heavy-leafed trees. Beautiful and thoughtful details for walks through History.