If you say “San Francisco” and “architecture,” the first thing most people think of are the Painted Ladies, the pastel row of Queen Anne houses made famous in the opening credits of the sitcom "Full House." But San Francisco’s architecture is much more diverse than that, and spans over 200 years of architectural history.
Starting in the 1840s, San Francisco was at the center of the California Gold Rush, bringing an influx of people and with it, an explosion in construction. In 1859, the silver rush began, cementing San Francisco as one of the major cities of the West Coast. But in 1906, a devastating 7.8 earthquake caused a fire that raged for four days and destroyed much of San Francisco (25,000 buildings in total). A massive reconstruction effort was undertaken to restore San Francisco to its former glory. The late 20th century saw San Francisco become a safe haven for the counter culture and a hotbed of experimentation. This history of growth and destruction, coupled with San Francisco’s challenging topography, means today you can find buildings ranging from neoclassical and Victorian architecture to modern and postmodern construction.