The Rock is more myth than reality. Still, the former federal penitentiary attracts more than 1 million visitors annually as a museum. Some of the country’s most notorious criminals were incarcerated on The Rock at one time or another. Several tried to escape, but none were successful. Or, were they? Even though the prison closed in the 1960s, its stories about remain legendary to this day.
The San Francisco Cable Car Museum on Mason Street in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood is the perfect museum for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of the city’s unique attraction. The museum includes a number of old cable cars and exhibits about how they operate. Visitors can also see the powerhouse and the actual cables that pull cars up and down the city’s many hills.
Two days after the massive earthquake of April 18, 1906, ruptured gas lines caused much of San Francisco to burn. Firefighters in many instances were unable to extinguish flames as fire hydrants had no water. However, firefighters vowed to make a stand at the intersection of Church and 20th streets. Miraculously, water flowed from a fire hydrant near the intersection and every April 18, the fire hydrant receives a new coat of gold paint.
The Golden Gate Bridge is an icon of San Francisco. The famed bridge opened on May 27, 1937. To experience the bridge’s magnitude, head to Fort Point. This well-preserved Civil War era post is located on the southern side of the Golden Gate strait at the entrance of San Francisco Bay.
Carl Henry is often said to have proposed turning a section of Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth streets in the Russian Hill section of town into the series of switchbacks that it is today. While the street’s title of “World’s Crookedest Street” may be open to debate (see Vermont Street elsewhere in town), its popularity as a tourist attraction hasn’t waned in the roughly eight decades since the street was reconfigured to its current design.