Before the great earthquake of 1906, Nob Hill was—surprise, surprise—where the nabobs lived. The toffs. The gentry. The tech barons of their day. Specifically, the Big Four railroad tycoons: Messeurs Huntington, Crocker, Hopkins, and Stanford. Now, the hill is home to hotels, ritzy apartment buildings, and…well, read on.
1) Episcopalianism meets the New Age: Grace Cathedral has not one but two meditative labyrinths, one outside and one in the nave.
Photo Courtesy of SF Brit via Flickr
2) What’s now a very private men’s club—the Pacific-Union, don’t you know—was, when it was built in 1886, the residence of one James Flood. He may not have been one of the Big Four, but he was a silver king, thanks to his holdings in Nevada’s Comstock Lode.
Photo Courtesy of Vince Viloria via Flickr
3) The buzz on Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, at Larkin and Hemlock, has been all about the cruffins, but really—the strawberry rhubarb croissant is what we’d wait hours for.
Photo Courtesy of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
4) Dashiell Hammett not only lived on Nob Hill, he set The Maltese Falcon in the neighborhood—lending his hero, Sam Spade, his studio apartment at 891 Post Street. You’ll find a plaque outside the building’s entrance, as well as one on Burritt Street, marking the imaginary spot where (spoiler alert!) the novel’s villainess, Brigid O’Shaughnessy, plugs Spade’s partner, Miles Archer.
Photo Courtesy of Brian Cooper via Flickr
5) You know not to start your cable-car ride down at the Powell Street turnaround, don’t you? Just hop aboard a car up towards the top of Nob Hill—all three lines traverse it at some point—and avoid the endless queues.
Photo Courtesy of Snippy HolloW via Flickr
6) Despite much worry from the neighbors about traffic clogging their quiet-at-night streets, the Masonic auditorium was transformed into a music venue last year, bringing the likes of Cyril Neville (March 5), Elvis Costello (March 30), and Iggy Pop (March 31) to the hilltop.
Photo Courtesy of Paige K. Parsons
Featured Image Courtesy of Benson Hua via Flickr