Pacific Heights – SF City Guides Tour

We’ve become San Francisco City Guides addicts! The third, free, guided tour we have attended in as many weeks was with Steve Wille who takes groups around Pacific Heights on a reconnoiter of the mansions. Steve told some funny jokes.   One of them involved appearing to be delving into his folder for a photo that he promised would show us just how the wealthy people who lived around here had a good time: “This will really show you how they partied,” said Steve and we all eagerly anticipated him showing us the photo.  He finally found it, held it up and we crowded in to take a look.  It showed two rather stuffy looking, elderly people who would have had trouble taking tea let alone partying, posing in their elegant front room.  Like his fellow guides, Steve also told numerous fascinating tales.  On Jackson Street, along Alta Plaza Park, the beautiful sandstone building in an Italianate Style with a colonnaded entrance-way used to be the Japanese Consulate.  On December 6th, 1941 smoke was noticed coming from the building and concerned neighbours decided to call the fire brigade.  Apparently consular officials had been getting rid of incriminating documents – it was the night before the attack on Pearl Harbor!  Near the north-eastern corner of the park, the apartments in that large, stately looking white block are a little out of our price range. The flats occupy entire floors! One of Steve’s tales involved the lift-man.  Apparently when President Clinton visited, the lift man warned his security outfit that the lift wouldn’t be able to take them all up in one go.  They ignored him, squeezed in and the lift got stuck!  Apparently it’s a bit of a Democrat hangout, Obama has stayed there too.   We probably wouldn’t be allowed in but we can rest assured the lift man remains refreshingly non-bending to authority. Or perhaps he’s just a Republican.

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