San Francisco Landmarks

Spreckels Temple of Music Spreckels Temple of Music
1 February 2012
(Click Photo to Zoom)
San Francisco Landmark #249
Music Concourse
Tea Garden Drive
Built 1896-1928

The Music Concourse is composed of many elements that were built according to a master plan, plus many other elements that were added by accretion. The concourse bowl, the streets and paths, all four of the pedestrian tunnels, the Spreckels Temple of Music, the London plane trees, the park benches, the hill behind the Temple of Music, and five of the concrete staircases were all built during 1896-1900 according to a plan devised in 1895. The three earliest statues or monuments were already in place by this time and can be considered to be part of this plan.

The remaining contributing elements were added by accretion from 1900 to 1928. No documentation has been found to explain why these elements were placed where they were, but in most cases their placement seems carefully considered. The Rideout and Page fountains occupy the nexus of major paths within the concourse bowl. These locations were the logical place for them. The Hearst fountain is logically placed where one of the 1896 staircases had been. The monuments that post-date 1900 were likely placed by John McLaren, the Park Superintendent. Thus, the Music Concourse is a designed landscape.

In 1899 the most important element of the new Music Concourse was built. This was the Spreckels Temple of Music, paid for by sugar magnate Claus Spreckels and designed by his architects, the Reid Brothers. Built in classical style of Colusa sandstone and monumental in scale, it was embellished with fine sculptural carvings by Robert I. Aitken.

Excerpted from San Francisco Planning Commission Resolution 16671 adopted 2 October 2003

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