Virtual Tour
San Francisco
City Hall

An illustrated guide to various items and areas of interest, their locations and brief descriptions of their historic, artistic or architectural significance

This project does not represent and is not affiliated with the City and County of San Francisco.

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Mayor London Breed

Mayor Breed

“Welcome to San Francisco City Hall.”

“This building has served the people of San Francisco for more than 100 years; and I am proud that it will be here for generations to come.”

Mayor Signature separator

Mayor London Nicole Breed was born in San Francisco in August of 1974. She is a graduate of Galileo High School, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from U.C. Davis, and a Master's in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco.

After the unexpected death of Mayor Ed Lee on December 12th, 2017, then President of the Board of Supervisors Breed, and later Supervisor Mark Farrell, served as interim mayors. On June 5th, 2018, a special election was held to choose a permanent successor to fill out the remainder of Mayor Lee's unfinished term.

On July 11th, 2018, Mayor Breed was sworn in as the 45th Mayor of San Francisco, and on November 5th of the following year, 2019, she was elected to a full four-year term.

City Hall Centennial

Peoples Palace

The year 2015 marked the 100th Anniversary of the completion, dedication and opening of San Francisco's spectacular new City Hall. For this occassion, a half-hour documentary film was produced to showcase City Hall throughout the last one hundred years.
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Docent Tour Program

In 1999, then Mayor Willie Brown created the Docent Program to guide members of the public through the restored magnificence of City Hall.

Helen Schumer

Ellen Schumer, the Docent Tour Program Manager, will escort you and your group through this historic landmark.



Ms. Schumer hosts a short video about City Hall. Play Button

The New City Hall

After the Earthquake and Fire of 1906 destroyed most of San Francisco, a temporary seat of government was established in the nearby Hotel Whitcomb, where the plans for a new City Hall were conceived.

City Hall Construction

Construction began in 1913, and on December 28th, 1915, Mayor James Rolph dedicated the new City Hall as a living monument to the strength, resilience and determination of all San Franciscans.

City Hall Architects


To build the new City Hall, a competition was held among practicing San Francisco architects. John R. Bakewell, Jr. (left) and Arthur Brown, Jr. were chosen from among 72 applicants. Their first sketches of the new building were done on the application envelope.

Bakewell was the general executive partner who oversaw specifications and construction, and Brown was in charge of the overall design. Their associate, Jean Louis Bourgeois, was largely responsible for the beautiful interior design details.

Bakewell and Brown first met at UC Berkeley, and later studied together at the École de Beaux-Arts in Paris. San Francisco City Hall is an elegant example of the Beaux-Arts style, which merges elements of French, Roman and Greek design.

Jean Louis Bourgeois

Jean Louis Bourgeois

Jean Louis Bourgeois was an artist of great talent and remarkable taste. Many of the most beautiful details of the City Hall are the product of his imagination.

Lantern Drawing

Born at Autun, France, in 1876, he was a pupil of Moyaux and Laloux at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, where he had a brilliant academic career. He was appointed Government Architect by the Shah of Persia, where he worked from 1906 to 1908. He went to San Francisco in 1908, leaving to join the designing force of D. H. Burnham & Co., Chicago. He returned to San Francisco in 1912 to assist Bakewell and Brown in the working out of the final designs for the San Francisco City Hall.

After the outbreak of the First World War, Bourgeois left his work in San Francisco and enlisted in the French army. He was killed on February 26th, 1915, while fighting for his native country.

Henri Crenier

Henri Crenier

The most renowned of all the artists who were commissioned to contribute to the new City Hall was certainly Henri Crenier.

Working variously in carved granite, cast plaster and cement, Crenier's achievements include two large tympanums, the "Father Time" sculpture, the rotunda medallions, four magnificent telamones (one is pictured below), as well as numerous friezes, bas reliefs and other motifs that decorate both the inside and the outside of the building.


Crenier was born in Paris in 1873 where he attended the same École de Beaux-Arts as did the two City Hall architects, Bakewell and Brown. He emigrated to the United States in 1902, became a citizen in 1911, and died in Westchester, New York in 1948.

City Hall Renovation

City Hall was badly damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Soon afterwords, the State of California enacted a massive retrofit program to repair the structure and protect it against damage from future earthquakes.

Earthquake Response
before restoration.

Fixed base response

Click to play larger.

The two-block-long building was cut from its foundation and now "floats" on 530 elastomeric bearings or shock absorbers designed to dissipate earthquake motion and allow the building to sway horizontally up to 26 inches.

To install the isolators, engineers jacked up the supporting columns of the building one at a time, cut the columns, positioned the isolators under them and then restored the building's weight to the structural members.

Superstructure strengthening included a new ground floor constructed above the isolators, concrete shear walls around the Light Courts, steel collectors to deliver seismic forces to the new shear walls, reinforcement of the Rotunda tower walls, and installation of steel braces and shotcrete walls at various levels of the Dome.

The Dome itself was reinforced with 1,200 tons of steel to prevent a repeat of the four inch "corkscrew" twist it received in the 1989 quake.

Earthquake Response after restoration.

Floating base response

Click to play larger.

Cutaway of building

Seismic Monitors

During the renovation, the California Department of Conservation installed 18 seismic sensors throughout City Hall as part of the Strong Motion Instrumentation Program. These "accelerometers" provide valuable data about earthquake shaking and the building's response.

Seismic Sensor

Sensors such as this one mounted just beneath the Dome's Lantern Structure send data to the Center for Engineering Strong Motion Data , a joint center of the U. S. Geological Survey and the California Geological Survey.

Modern Technology

Room 93

State of the art technology was utilized and installed during the restoration of City Hall.


Fiber-optic technology allowed many existing conduits to be used instead of changing the historic building.

City Hall Today

City Hall Today

Badly damaged by the 1989 Loma-Prieta earthquake, San Francisco City Hall was closed to the public throughout the 1990's. After being restored and extensively renovated,
it re-opened for business on January 5th, 1999.

City Hall Size

Aerial of City Hall

San Francisco City Hall is a huge structure, occupying two city blocks.  It contains over 550,000 square feet of space.

City Hall Dome

City Hall Dome

The Dome of San Francisco City Hall is the tallest in the United States.

U.S. Capitol

Eastern face of U. S. Capitol building

At 301 feet, 5½ inches, the top of the dome's Lantern structure is 13 feet higher than the top of the Statue of Freedom on the dome of the U. S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.


Press to begin a Virtual Tour of the Dome.

Central Rotunda


Within the magnificent Central Rotunda, the principal feature is a Grand Staircase facing the eastern entrance. Rising to the second story, it leads to the Chamber of the Board of Supervisors. The columns and walls of the rotunda are finished in Indiana limestone and Madera County granite from the nearby Sierra-Nevada mountains. Between the columns, a classical balustrade surrounds the rotunda at each of the upper floors. Doors, wainscotting, mouldings and other interior finish are of Manchurian or Siberian oak. The stairs and the floor, which features an intricate design, are made out of Tennessee pink marble.

Nava Dance Collective

The Central Rotunda is often the scene of ceremonies and events, ranging from inaugurations and receptions for visiting dignitaries to state funerals and memorial services, weddings, dances, musical performances, film production and exhibits.

The Rotunda Dance Series presents the Nava Dance Collective in a performance at City Hall.

Rotunda Medallions

Four Medallions

The interior design of the Rotunda features four large round Medallions created by the famous sculptor Henri Crenier. Each medallion is incorporated into a pendentive at the top of a massive, three-story-high tower or pier located at each of the four corners of the Rotunda.

The fine detail of the Medallions can be seen best from the Fourth Floor Gallery.

Medallion of Equality

Medallion of Equality

The Medallion of Equality presents a cloaked female figure holding an equilateral triangle.


The figure in the background is believed to represent the 1st Century Roman rhetorician and philospher, Quintilian, who wrote that the perfect orator must remain true to a message that is "just and honorable." If one cannot be a genuinely good man, he reasoned, then one cannot be a good speaker for the people. Centuries later, Quintilian's work provided the inspiration for a new humanistic philosophy in education, music and the arts in Europe.

Medallion of Liberty

Medallion of Liberty

The Medallion of Liberty is extending an olive branch in a gesture of peace and liberty to all people of the world.

Medallion of Strength

Medallion of Strength

The Medallion of Strength represents the power of our legislative system. The sword-wielding figure in the Medallion looks toward the Chamber of the Board of Supervisors.

Medallion of Learning

Medallion of Learning

The Medallion of Learning represents the importance of education. The Medallion depicts a teacher imparting the skill of reading to a group of small children. The children represent our future.

Rotunda Embellishments

Mythological Face

There are many special embellishments throughout the Rotunda.  Greek mythological faces surround the first level of the Rotunda.

Grand Staircase

Grand Staircase

The Grand Staircase leads from the Rotunda floor up to the Ceremonial Rotunda. Beyond that are the doorways to the Chamber of the Board of Supervisors.

Charlotte Maillard Schultz

In December of 2010, a plaque was unveiled that dedicated this staircase to Charlotte Maillard Shultz in honor of her service as Chief of Protocol for San Francisco.

Board of Supervisors

The Board of Supervisors consists of eleven representatives, elected from each District of the City.

20220315 Inauguration Photo

Board of Supervisors Inauguration Photo, March 15th, 2022

From left to right:

Angela Calvillo (Clerk), Dean Preston, Ahsha Safai, Catherine Stefani,
Aaron Peskin (President of the Board), Connie Chan, Shamann Walton,
Myrna Melgar, Hillary Ronen, Gordon Mar, Rafael Mandelman,
Matt Haney

separator Matt Dorsey

On May 9th, 2022, Mayor London Breed appointed Matt Dorsey as District 6 Supervisor. He will complete the remainder of the term vacated by Matt Haney, who was elected to the California State Assembly.

Mr. Dorsey, 57, was the S.F. Police Department’s director of strategic communications. He received a B.S. in Speech, cum laude, from Emerson College in Boston, MA in 1989. He is a longtime parishioner at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood.

Joel Engardio

Joel Engardio was elected November 08, 2022 to replace Gordon Mar as supervisor for District 4.

Joel Engardio was raised by a single mom in Saginaw, Michigan. He earned a degree in history and journalism from Michigan State University and a masters in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. In 1998, he moved to San Francisco to work as a journalist. Here he met his husband Lionel Hsu. They were married in 2015.

Joel is a lifelong Democrat who supports transparency and fiscal responsibility in government, collective bargaining for workers and their right to strike.

Supervisors' Chamber

Chamber Dedication

In this photograph, the magnificent Chamber of the Board of Supervisors is shown after its renovation in 1999.
The chamber is located in Room 250.


This rare photograph is of the Supervisors' room in the old San Francisco City Hall before it was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire.

Old City Hall Chamber

Chamber Dedication

Chamber Dedication

Near the entrance to the Chamber of the Board of Supervisors, this large format photograph depicts the chamber's dedication ceremony on October 9th, 1916.

Dedication Trio

At the center, U. S. Senator and former mayor James B. Phelan, Mayor James Rolph and his wife,
Annie, are seated at the President's Dias.

separator G.W. Blum

The photo was created by famed San Francisco Police Photographer, George W. Blum.

Ornate Wood Paneling

Oak Panel 1

The wood paneling in the Board Chamber is Manchurian Oak.

Oak Panel 2

Manchurian Oak is softer and easier to carve than California Oak.

There are no more forests of Manchurian Oak left in the world. These carvings cannot be recreated.

Public Seating

Wooden Benches

The benches, railings and desks in the Chamber are made of a harder California Oak.

Ceiling Design

Plaster Ceiling

The ceiling in the Board Chamber looks like wood but is actually cast plaster, enhanced to show off the magnificent detail.

San Carlos

San Carlos

In the center of the ceiling, the image of a ship is visible. This was the San Carlos, which on August 5th, 1775, under the command of Juan Manuel de Ayala, became the first European vessel known to enter and explore San Francisco Bay.

Four Demons


The plaster work above the public speaking area includes four demon heads.  The legend is that this was done because the public always makes trouble for the elected officials.

Floor Covering

Carpet Design

The original floor covering in the Board Chamber was Portuguese cork parquet. The cork wood was replaced with carpeting during the 1990's renovation.

The pattern in the carpeting features the Dahlia. In 1926 Mayor James Rolph declared the Dahlia to be the official flower of San Francisco.

Dahlia Flower

The earliest Western record of the flower was made in the 1570's by the Spanish Renaissance physician Francisco Hernández de Toledo who described it during his seven-year study of New World flora. The Dahlia is also the national flower of Mexico.

Window Coverings

Window Covering

The window coverings in the Board Chamber incorporate unique decorative gold borders known as soutache.

Ceremonial Rotunda

Ceremonial Rotunda

The Ceremonial Rotunda is where many vows of marriage and domestic partnership are solemnized.

Joe and Marilyn

Perhaps the most famous City Hall wedding was that of Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe. They were married on January 14th, 1954 by Municipal Judge Charles S. Peery in his courtroom on the third floor.  Today, the old courtrooms are used for office space. Volunteer Marriage Commissioners, deputized by the County Clerk's office, solemnize most City Hall marriages.

Harvey Milk


Harvey Bernard Milk became the first openly gay elected official in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He served on the Board from January, 1978 until his assassination on November 27th of that same year.

This 24 inch bronze bust and its unique 56 inch granite pedestal are the work of the Daub, Firmin and Hendrickson Sculpture Group. It was installed in the Ceremonial Rotunda near the entrance to the Board Chamber in May, 2008.

John Taylor Room

Room 263 John Taylor

In 1998, the Board of Supervisors Committee Meeting Room was named to honor John L. Taylor for his 16 years of service as Clerk of the Board. It is located in Room 263.

Mayor's Balcony

Mayors Balcony from below

The Mayor's Balcony and East Wall as seen from the floor of the Rotunda.

The Mayor's Balcony is used for special occasions such as swearing in City Commissioners or welcoming Consular Officials and other dignitaries. It is also a favored location for larger wedding ceremonies.

Mayors Balcony

Looking west from the steps of the Mayor's Ceremonial Rotunda, the floor and railing of the Mayor's Balcony are in the foreground.

Father Time

Father Time

High above the Mayor's Balcony, on the east side of the Central Rotunda, the figure of Father Time is realized by the sculptor Henri Crenier. Father Time holds an hourglass and, while pointing back toward History, depicted as a scribe seated behind him, he looks ahead to a radiant Future, bearing the Torch of Progress.

Cloaked Figure

On the right and in the background, mysterious cloaked figures of a woman and her child appear to flee the stern gaze of Father Time. Some suggest they symbolize the Fleeing Hours of the Day; or they may personify a popular sundial motto from an 18th Century hymn by Isaac Watts that says:

"Time, like an ever rolling stream, bears all its sons away."

Father Time Inscription


There is an inscription directly beneath Father Time, written by Mayor Edward Robeson Taylor:


Dedication to Mayor Rolph


A dedication to Mayor James Rolph, Jr. is carved into the granite below the “Father Time” frieze and the inscription by Mayor Robeson Taylor. Mayor Rolph was the visionary who insisted that the City of San Francisco build this magnificent structure.

Beneath the dedication to Mayor Rolph is a large, historic clock face designed by local jeweler, watchmaker and Austrian immigrant Albert Samuels, founder of the Albert S. Samuels Co. The hands and numerals of the clock are finished in gold.

Mayor's Office

Mayors Office Door

The Mayor's Office is located in City Hall Room 200. Seen from the Mayor's Balcony and across the Ceremonial Rotunda, the flags of the United States and of San Francisco stand on either side of the entrance doors.

Mayor's Reception

Mayors Reception Area

Members of the public and official visitors are first welcomed to the Mayor's Office in the Reception Area of Room 200.

International Room

International Room

The International Room is the site of many high level meetings and receptions.

Hallway of Alcaldes

Hallway of Alcaldes

The hallway leading to the Mayor's office is lined with images of former San Francisco Mayors and Spanish Alcaldes. This area is not usually open to the public.

John Geary

After the defeat of Mexico in 1848, the U. S. military governors of California left the Alcalde system intact until it was superseded by a new state constitution. On May 1st, 1850, John W. Geary, the last Alcalde of San Francisco, was elected as the city's first mayor.

Mayor's Desk

Mayors Desk

Since 1915, every mayor has used this historic desk and the original office furnishings of this room. However, each new mayor will arrange and decorate the office in their own unique style to reflect their personal history, taste and the manner in which they intend to conduct the city's business.

Citywide Communication

Mayors Phones

Near the Mayor's desk are the phones used to contact and direct all City emergency officials.

City Hall Mementos

Herb Caen

The Mayor's Office of Protocol recognizes Herb Caen as someone who epitomized the spirit of San Francisco. He is honored with a display in this office.

Mayor's Rotunda

City Motto


"Gold in Peace / Iron in War"

The motto of San Francisco is inscribed inside the Mayor's Ceremonial Rotunda above the entrance to the Mayor's Balcony.

George R. Moscone

Moscone Bust

Supervisor and State Senator George Richard Moscone served as the 37th Mayor of San Francisco from 1972 until the moment of his assassination on November 27th, 1978.

This larger than life-size cast bronze sculpture was created by Spero Anargyros and is located in the Mayor's Ceremonial Rotunda on the second floor. A twin of this casting is on display at the nearby Moscone Convention Center.

A plaque on the pedestal includes a famous quote from the Mayor about the city he loved:

"San Francisco is an extraordinary city, because its people have learned to live together with one another, to respect each other, and to work with each other for the future of their community. That's the strength and the beauty of this city --- and it's the reason why the citizens who live here are the luckiest people in the world."

Dianne Feinstein

Feinstein Bust

U. S. Senator Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein was President of the Board of Supervisors when she succeeded Mayor George Moscone to become the 38th Mayor of San Francisco. The first woman to hold the position, she was formally elected one year later, and then re-elected to a second full term after that. She served as mayor from 1978 to 1988.

Sen. Feinstein, a native San Franciscan, graduated from Convent of the Sacred Heart High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from Stanford University. Throughout her distinguished career, she has received several honorary degrees and awards including one of France’s highest honors, the Légion d’Honneur, bestowed on her in 1984 by French president François Mitterrand.

Feinstein Ring

Including its marble base, the bronze sculpture stands almost seven feet tall. It was created in 1996 by Lisa Reinertson and is located on the 2nd Floor in the Mayor's Ceremonial Rotunda.

Senator Feinstein's engagement ring has become highly polished from the touch of her many visitors.

Willie L. Brown, Jr.

Brown Bust

Speaker of the California State Assembly, criminal defense attorney, and eternal champion of civil rights, Willie Lewis Brown, Jr. served as the 41st and first African-American Mayor of San Francisco from 1996 to 2004.

In recognition of his tireless efforts in the restoration of City Hall, this bronze sculpture was created by California artist Richard MacDonald. It was donated to the City and dedicated on January 5, 2004. It is installed in the Mayor's Ceremonial Rotunda on the second floor.

Gavin C. Newsom

Newsom Bust

California Governor Gavin Christopher Newsom brought national attention to the issue of same-sex marriage when, on February 12th, 2004, just one month into his first term as mayor, he directed San Francisco's County Clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in violation of then-current California state law. This unexpected act of civil disobedience led to the 2015 Supreme Court decision that struck down bans on same-sex marriage throughout the United States.

Born in October, 1967, Gavin Newsom was first appointed to the Board of Supervisors by then Mayor Willie Brown in 1997. Subsequently winning election as supervisor in 1998 and re-election twice more, in January, 2004, Gavin Newsom became the youngest person ever to be elected as Mayor of San Francisco.

Wolfe Working

This likeness of Mayor Newsom was installed in City Hall on June 24th, 2018. The bust is mounted on a freestanding stone base that holds a bronze dedication plaque. The sculpture was created by Bruce Wolfe, who lives and works at his home in nearby Piedmont, Califorrnia.

Historic Elevators

Elevator interior

In 1916, City Hall elevators were known affectionately as “birdcages” and were operated by white-gloved attendants.  Passengers could view other elevators going up and down through the metal bars.

Today all but three have been replaced by modern elevators,

Elevator operator

A City Hall elevator
is decorated for
St. Patricks Day, 1953.

Elevator Designs

Elevator floor

The magnificent, vertical grain, red oak hardwood floors of the elevators are inlaid with the monogram of San Francisco in brass. Here the entwined letters "SF" are crowned by a delicate, horseshoe shaped wreath of laurel leaves, a feature of Beaux-Arts architecture, encircled by a slender ring.

Window Design

Window Design

Along the fourth floor gallery, another image of Ayala's ship, the San Carlos, is incorporated into the design of the leaded glass windows.


City Hall is completely ADA accessible.


Ramps were added during the renovation to make access across the Rotunda possible.


The original ironwork designs that encircle the Rotunda and the Main Staircase are replicated in the new railings.

Light Court Skylights

South Light Court Skylight

During the 1990's renovation, a covering was removed that had been put over the light court skylights during an earlier expansion of office space.  This allowed natural light to properly illuminate the main floor of City Hall once again.

South Light Court

South Lightcourt

The South Light Court houses rotating exhibits that chronicle significant events in San Francisco history.

Ceremonial Silver Shovel

Silver Shovel

One exhibit in the South Light Court features a ceremonial Silver Shovel used by Mayor Jim Rolph to raise the first shovel of dirt for construction of the new City Hall on April 5th, 1913.


City Treasury Vault

Vault Door

In the South Light Court is one of the original vaults for the City and County Treasury. It was designed and built by the Herring Hall Marvin Safe Co. of Hamilton, Ohio.

Gold Bullion

In 1916, the entire cash
reserves of San Francisco,
including almost two tons
of gold dust, coins and
bars were displayed
in the new vault.

Goddess of Progress

Goddess of Progress

On display in the South Light Court is all that remains of the twenty foot tall Goddess of Progress that once stood atop the dome of old City Hall.

Sculpted in 1896 by Francis Marion Wells, the statue was cast in a semi-bronze metal alloy and weighed several tons. Modeled after the artist's wife, it held a torch aloft and was said to look extremely poised and graceful. The head, some 48 inches from crown to base, is adorned with a peaked Phrygian cap and a wreath whose thick leaves provided sockets for recently introduced electrical light bulbs.

Return of Goddess

After removal from the ruins in 1909, the statue's head was given to the family of William Irvine, and eventually ended up in the basement of his business at 1066 Mission St. There, in 1949, he asked Jack Shannon, the chauffeur of Mayor Elmer Robinson, if the City would like to have it back. Mr. Shannon said he would ask the mayor. On April 19th, 1950, the head was ceremoniously returned to the city to be placed in the new City Hall.

City Hall Clocks

South Lightcourt Clock

Originally there were more than 100 clocks in City Hall, all synchronized to a single master clock in the office of the Building Engineer. After the restoration, only 39 remain, including this one in the South Light Court.

Designed by Albert S. Samuels, a San Francisco jeweler, and built by the Mayer Brothers of Seattle, this clock and its twin in the North Light Court have two faces. The hands on either side turn in opposite directions.

In keeping with tradition, the number 4 is rendered in Roman numerals as “IIII” instead of the more common “IV”. Some feel that this creates a more balanced and pleasing design.

Infantry Flags Exhibit

Flag Display

A permanent exhibit in the South Light Court honors San Francisco's own 363rd Infantry Regiment, the “Golden West Regiment.” The exhibit commemorates their combat action at the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne.

363rd in Calgary

The 363rd was formed at Camp Lewis, Washington, on September 5, 1917, as part of the 91st “Wild West” Division. The regiment shipped out to the war in France on May 6, 1918, traveling through Canada on their way. Final demobilization was conducted at the Presidio of San Francisco on May 2, 1919.

North Light Court

North Light Court

A variety of Civic and private events are hosted in the North Light Court.

Michael O'Shaughnessy


In September, 1912, then Mayor Rolph persuaded Michael Maurice O'Shaughnessy to become San Francisco's Chief Engineer.

O'Shaughnessy supervised the construction of the Twin Peaks Reservoir, the Stockton Street Tunnel, the Twin Peaks Tunnel, the Municipal Railway System, service to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a high-pressure water system for fighting fires and many new sewers and streets.

By far his most controversial achievement was the completion of a dam on the Tuolumne River, flooding the entire Hetch Hetchy Valley in the northwestern part of Yosemite National Park.

This bust, a gift of his daughter, Elizabeth, was created by the Irish artist, Don Cronin. A twin casting of the bronze sculpture is installed in the rotunda of the Califonia State Library & Courts Building II in Sacramento, which is dedicated in honor of the famed San Francisco City Engineer.

Adolph Sutro

Adolph Sutro

Adolph Heinrich Joseph Sutro, was the 24th and first openly Jewish Mayor of San Francisco. He served from 1895 to 1897.

Prussian-born, Sutro was an engineer, hydrologist and entrepreneur who conceived and built a much needed drainage and ventilation tunnel under the notorious Comstock silver lode. Sutro increased his considerable wealth with large investments in San Francisco real estate. Today, he is best remembered for the many landmarks that still bear his name, including Mt. Sutro and the famous Sutro Baths.

This bronze bust on a granite pedestal was designed by Jonah Hendrickson with consultant-advisor Inna Polnar. A gift of the United Humanitarian Mission, it was unveiled on April 29, 2013, and installed on the first floor near the Van Ness Avenue entrance.

Angelo Rossi


President of the Board of Supervisors Angelo Joseph Rossi became San Francisco's 31st mayor when Mayor Rolph resigned to become Governor of California. Subsequently elected and then re-elected, Mayor Rossi served from 1931 to 1944.

Mayor Rossi was a proponent of the New Deal and worked hard to bring Federal Government money and programs to San Francisco to create jobs and modernize the City.

Mayor Rossi presided over the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1936 and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in 1937. He led the groundbreaking ceremonies for San Francisco City College in April 1937, and he presided over the building of Treasure Island and the Golden Gate International Exposition (World's Fair) of 1939.

His statue is located on the first floor in the lobby of the Van Ness Avenue entrance.

Edward Robeson Taylor


Doctor, lawyer, teacher and poet, Mayor Taylor brought order and stability during a turbulent time. Like a wise elder statesman, he presided over a city shattered by the elemental forces of nature, and filled with scandal and corruption.

Appointed by the Board of Supervisors, he served as San Francisco's 28th mayor for only three years, from 1907 to 1910. He never sought to be elected.

This bronze bust on a granite base was sculpted by Haig Patigian, and it is located near the Van Ness Avenue entrance on the first floor.

Frederick Funston


Maj. Gen. Frederick N. Funston and his men acted heroically during the 1906 earthquake and fire to protect the City and preserve order.

This bust of Gen. Funston is located in the lobby of the Van Ness Avenue entrance on the first floor.



His funeral in 1917 was the first to be held in the Main Rotunda of the new City Hall. He is buried in the National Cemetery at the Presidio of San Francisco.

John Shelley


Congressman John Francis "Jack" Shelley served as the 35th Mayor of San Francisco from 1964 to 1968. He was the first Democrat to be elected in 50 years, and began a line of Democratic mayors unbroken to this day. He was a strong proponent of civil rights throughout his career.

This bronze bust was executed in 1992 by sculptor Lisa Reinertson. It is located in the lobby of the Goodlett Way entrance on the first floor.

George Christopher


Former Supervisor and Board President, George Christopher served two terms as the 34th Mayor of San Francisco from 1956 to 1964. He was the first Greek-American mayor of any major American city.

Born in Arcadia, Greece, his family came to San Francisco when he was only two years old. His childhood experience of anti-Greek sentiment informed his strong stand on civil rights.

Mayor Christopher helped bring the Giants baseball team from New York in 1958 and secure the funding to build Candlestick Park. He oversaw the redevelopment of many city districts including the Embarcadero Center, Japantown and the Fillmore. His administration is credited with building Brooks Hall, twelve new schools, seventeen firehouses, six public swimming pools and two public parking garages.

This bust of Mayor Christopher is located in the Goodlett Way entrance on the first floor.

James D. Phelan


U.S. Senator James Duval Phelan was Mayor of San Francisco from 1897 - 1902. As mayor, he promoted bond issues for a new sewer system, city hospital, parks, and schools. He was a tireless advocate for the government operation of essential utilities, and played an important role in bringing the Hetch Hetchy Project to reality.

As a private citizen, he incorporated the Municipal Street Railways of San Francisco and later transferred them to the City. He was a leader of the City Beautiful Movement and a proponent of the famous Burnham Plan of 1905.

His bust is located on the first floor near the Goodlett Street entrance.

James Rolph, Jr.


Born and raised in San Francisco, shipping magnate and California Governor James Rolph, Jr. was the City's 30th and longest serving mayor. During his campaign, he promised not only honesty and clean government, but to be "mayor of all the people." With his dapper appearance, exceptional memory and genuine affection for people, he was known as “Sunny Jim.”

During his fifth term, he successfully ran for Governor of California. After nineteen years as mayor, he resigned on the day of his inauguration, January 6th, 1931. He died in office only three years later. His body was brought back to San Francisco to lie in state in the Main Rotunda of City Hall.

This bronze bust on a tall granite base was executed in 1936 by sculptor Haig Patigian and installed here in 1937. It was created as a companion piece to the statue of Mayor Phelan that is directly across from it at the Goodlett Street entrance.

Edmond Godchaux


State Assemblyman, Health Board Secretary, businessman and self-described 'permanent bachelor,' Edmond Godchaux was first elected to the Office of Recorder in 1899. He brought many cost saving innovations to the Office such as numbered records and the typewriter. His three decades in that position are the longest continuous service of any elected official in San Francisco history.

The sculptor Ralph Stackpole created this granite bust, which was donated to the City by the Godchaux family in 1939. It is located just inside the entrance to the Assessor Recorder's Office.

Hall of Records Sign

After the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906, Edmond Godchaux rescued these letters from the rubble of the old City Hall, and had them installed here in the new Recorder's Office. They are made out of Babbitt metal and are heavily encrusted with gold.

James Seawell


Judge James M. Seawell was born in 1836 at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, where his father, an army captain, was stationed. He graduated Harvard University in 1855, and the University of Kentucky law school in 1857. He came to San Francisco in 1861, and was elected as a judge of the Superior Court in 1892, where he remained a highly regarded member until his death in 1917.

His is the only statue on the 4th floor, where former courtrooms are now used by various civic commissions.

The bust is the work of sculptor Ralph Ward Stackpole, the leading San Francisco artist of the 1920's and 30's. The pedestal was designed by Arthur Brown, one of the architects of City Hall. The statue was a gift of the San Francisco Bar Association.

City Hall Art

Heavens Balcony

Heaven's Balcony by Jeffrey K. Bedrick

City Hall displays works of art in the South Light Court and in a public gallery on the Ground Floor level.

Ground Floor Art Gallery

City Hall in the Movies

San Francisco City Hall has often served as a location for major motion pictures. Clearly recognizable in films like the 1971 drama "Dirty Harry," the 1978 thriller "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" or the 2008 biography "Milk," City Hall shows up less obviously, often surprisingly, in many others, such as the 2010 animated feature "Megamind."


On occasion, City Hall will stand in for a university, a library, a museum or some other generically imposing edifice as in the 1981 adventure "Raiders of the Lost Ark," seen below.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Several well-known movies that feature City Hall include:
Magnum Force (1973) • The Towerring Inferno (1974) • Foul Play (1978) • A View to a Kill (1985) • Jagged Edge (1985) • Class Action (1991) • Final Analysis (1992) • Murder in the First (1995) • The Rock (1996) • Dr. Dolittle (1998) • Bicentennial Man (1999) • Bedazzled (2000) • Boys and Girls (2000) • The Wedding Planner (2001) • High Crimes (2002) • Twisted (2004) • Contagion (2011) • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014).

City Hall Events

City Hall Event

City Hall hosts many civic and private events, which often support services and functions for the people and the City of San Francisco.

San Francisco City Hall

Restored to its former glory and updated to meet the needs of the future, San Francisco City Hall is truly the people's palace, and the crown jewel of San Francisco.

Rotunda Ceiling

Photo by Robert Canfield - Architectural Photography

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