April 1, 2007
Springtime! . . . in Huntington Park on Nob Hill

Nob Hill's Huntington Park in the heart of San Francisco, is the site of Collis Huntington's mansion. Collis Huntington, along with Charles Crocker, Mark Hopkins, and Leland Stanford, were known in their day (and not always favorably), as the Big 4. These four men made their fortunes in the late 19th century by building the western section of the transcontinental railroad that joined up with the Union Pacific Railroad at Promontory Summit, Utah in 1869. The retaining wall that surrounds this elegant little park is all that remains of the Huntington mansion which burned in the Great Fire of 1906. Along the top of this retaining wall are steel pins that once supported the wrought-iron fence of Huntington's property.
The "Fountain of the Tortoises" in the center of Huntington Park, is a copy of the original which is still functioning in Rome after four centuries. The fountain features four bronze youths perched (pun intended) atop dolphins, each reaching out to a turtle above. One of the contractors who repaired the plumbing of the fountain in 2000 told me that sections of the old Huntington mansion's foundation are still under the lawn in the park. More photos of the park and the fountain can be viewed at my site in the Nob Hill section.



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