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There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a downloadable walking tour is ready to explore when you are.

Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.

In 1906, a devastating earthquake and subsequent fires decimated San Francisco, destroying more than 28,000 buildings, including the landmark City Hall which had been conceived in 1872 and not fully completed until 1899. To rebuild, city planners embraced the City Beautiful Movement then in vogue that advocated the construction of monumental, classically inspired buildings. Advocates of the philosophy believed that such beautification could promote moral and civic virtue among increasingly diverse populations and create a harmonious social order that would better the quality of life.

To design its City Beautiful plan San Francisco went right to the source - Daniel Burnham of Chicago. Burnham planned and executed the successful World Columbian Exposition in 1893. With a rebuilt City Hall as its centerpiece the Civic Center would gather the San Francisco’s major government and cultural institutions in orderly, symmetrical buildings grouped around open plazas.

It would take three decades for the original plan for the Civic Center to be fully realized. When it was complete, San Francisco boasted one of the most successful renderings of the City Beautiful Movement in the United States. The San Francisco Civic Center was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. If you were strolling through the Civic Center 75 years ago you would recognize most of it today so let’s get our tour started and take a look...

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