|Fiery San Francisco Journeys
Enjoy five eclectic urban journeys while exploring areas of San Francisco affected by various, ruinous fires. Students will learn about the City's development while viewing a variety of architectural styles, historic landmarks and monuments, film and literary sites, and public art here and there. Vintage photos and maps will round out the instructor's commentary (which has been described as insightful and occasionally witty).
Note: Meeting points (and ending points) will be disclosed to enrolled students a few days prior to each respective class session. There will not be a class session on Monday, April 16.
Session 1 (4/2) Walking tour: Where it all began: The Environs of Portsmouth Square - 2 hours: The course will begin with a visit to the remnants of the Yerba Buena pueblo and "Old Town" San Francisco, during this walk around the former heart of the city. Devastated by numerous fires, much of it is now part of Chinatown. How did that happen?
Session 2 (4/9) Walking Tour: The "Big Fours" on Nob Hill - 2½ hours - Legend and history have clung tenaciously to this neighborhood despite its transformation following the dramatic events of 1906. This journey, will explore the California Street Hill, once home to railroad magnates and silver barons.
Session 3 (4/23) Lecture/Film/Walking Tour: Walking with a Beat - 3 hours - When San Francisco was a port of call for "the Beats," their headquarters was in North Beach where neighborhood haunts often hosted the denizens of jazz, poetry and art. This class begins with a short lecture, followed by a screening at the North Beach library of a documentary which explores the 1950s arts scene in the neighborhood. The class will then take a walk around "the Beach."
Session 4 (4/30) Walking tour: The Barbary Coast: "Terrific" Pacific Street! - 2¼ hours - A massive infusion of gold-seeking Argonauts along with sailors and sojourners, all hungry for female companionship and bawdy entertainment, streamed into San Francisco in the 1850s and 1860s, becoming the Barbary Coast's primary clientele. This walk will explore the transitions of this area to what we now know as the Jackson Square Historic District.
Session 5 (5/7) Walking Tour: Further Adventures along The Embarcadero - 2¼ hours - Our exploration of the City's eastern waterfront continues with a walk along the portion south of the Ferry Building. Constructed on reclaimed land along a three-mile-long engineered seawall from which piers extend into the bay, The Embarcadero tells a large part of the story of San Francisco's history and development.
Monika Trobits has been studying San Francisco/California history since the mid-1980s, evolving into a local historian and walking tour docent/guide since 1989. She’s a published writer of non-fiction works about the city. Her second book (upcoming) explores San Francisco through the rise, fall and renaissance of a consumable commodity: coffee. Monika earned a B.A. in political science/history from SFSU.