San Francisco Landmarks

San Francisco Landmark 289: Toland Hall Frescoes Courtesy San Francisco Chronicle (June 12, 2020)
(Click Photo to Enlarge)

San Francisco Landmark 289
Toland Hall Frescoes
University of California, San Francisco
533 Parnassus Avenue
Created 1936-1938

The History of Medicine in California is a suite of ten frescoes created in situ by Bernard Zakheim and his assistant Phyllis Wrightson. The project was funded by the Works Project Administration Federal Art Project. The frescoes contain images of doctors, lab scientists, and other medical professionals, as well as suffering and recovered patients.

The murals were wallpapered over in the 1940s and later uncovered.

Source: Adapted from San Francisco Landmark Designation Application for Toland Hall Frescoes, 20 November 2020.


Toland Hall will be demolished during a modernization of the Parnassus campus.

The frescoes were removed and placed in storage. Because frescoes are painted with pigment applied to wet plaster, they could not be peeled off. Instead, the plaster wall behind each panel was cut out, wrapped in fabric, then packed with a layer of foam and a layer of Masonite. A steel frame was built around the whole package.


Works Project Administration frescoes and murals in San Francisco:

Allegory of California by Diego Rivera
Beach Chalet
Coit Tower
History of Medicine in California by Bernard Zakheim
Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City by Diego Rivera
Rincon Annex Post Office

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