Palace Hotel

San Francisco, California | C.1909

Photo Credit: Stephen Morin

Certain structures are so significant that even an earthquake can’t shake their legacy. That was the case for the luxurious San Francisco’s Palace Hotel that was rebuilt after the infamous 1906 earthquake that destroyed the original building. Today, the nine-story, century-old Palace Hotel is considered a historic landmark of the city.

Originally built in 1875, the Hotel, known locally as the Bonanza Inn, was renowned for both its grandeur and modern advancements. Standing 120 feet high and with 755 guest rooms, it was the largest in the Western United States at the time, and was lauded for its intercom system and oversized hydraulic elevators. Its most notable feature was the Grand Court that also served as an entry area for horse-drawn carriages.

The morning of April 18, 1906 would shatter the Palace’s opulence when a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck San Francisco, igniting widespread fires that destroyed most of the city, including the Hotel. As the city recovered from the massive quake, ownership began planning the reconstruction and within three years, the “new” Palace Hotel was built.

The new Hotel embraced all the elegance and prestige of its predecessor, hosting grand city dinners, events and even Presidents. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson hosted a dinner in the Garden Court in support of the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations. Years later, President Harding would unexpectedly end his term when he passed away at the Palace Hotel in Room 8064.

The Hotel has since undergone renovations to its guest rooms, indoor pool, lobby, promenade and The Garden Court. In 2016, Historic Hotels of America recognized the Palace as one of the Best Historic Hotels.

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