Photo of Lotta's Fountain, the oldest monument in San Francisco, California

Weekly Gem #67 A beacon among the rubble

Published 4/17/2016

Location:  This 'hidden gem' is located on the pedestrian island where Geary, Kearny, and Market streets converge in San Francisco, CA (see Clue Me! Map).  On April 18, 1906, this drinking fountain became the tallest structure around, and the only remaining neighborhood landmark, after 25,000 buildings on 490 city blocks were leveled by earthquake and fire. It's a good thing Lotta Crabtree built things to last. This gift she gave to San Francisco was made of cast iron, and installed on a massive cement block. While everything around fell or burned down, the fountain remained, and became a meeting place and message center as residents tried to find one another.

One day you're an intricate drinking fountain. The next you're a monument to human spirit.


Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.


The oldest monument in San Francisco is modeled after a lighthouse.


Lotta's Fountain

Why It's Interesting

Lotta Crabtree (said to have the most beautiful ankle in the world) was a famous entertainer in the west's mining towns. San Franciscans claimed her as their own so she dedicated this fountain to them in 1875. It was one of the only structures to survive the 1906 earthquake. Looking for something recognizable, survivors gathered at the fountain after the earthquake. It's tradition to meet at the fountain every April 18th at 5:52 a.m. commemorating the anniversary of the 1906 earthquake.

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