Surrounded by a cluster of 60s-era apartments, the center of San Francisco is both a letdown and a strangely appropriate monument to the city.
Originally installed by Adolph Sutro in 1887, it has become a strange relic: deprecated and inaccurate. To start with, it’s not the geographical center of San Francisco – though, prior to bay-fill it was probably a lot closer.
The statue “The Triumph of Light” was a copy of a Belgian statue depicting the triumph of Lady Liberty over Despotism. and the hill itself was known as Mount Olympus. However as time went on this “Goddess of Liberty” was forgotten, vandalized and by the 1940’s was literally crumbling away.
Today, the statue itself is gone, what remained of it – torsos and legs mostly – having mysteriously vanished in the 50’s. Only the pediment remains. Even the plaque has been weathered away completely, leaving only a blank monument to lost grandeur.
Know Before You Go
Take the steps from 17th at Clayton, or from Upper Terrace (off Clifford).