Search Results : mcKinley

Spreckles Temple of Music

 Posted by on May 25, 2013
May 252013

Music Concourse
Golden Gate Park
Spreckels Temple of Music

Spreckels Temple of Music

This is the third bandstand to grace Golden Gate Park.  Claus Spreckels (The Sugar King) gave $75,000 towards the $78,810 cost of the building.  The shell is an Italian Renaissance style with an acoustically reflective coffered shell standing 70 feet high and covered in Colusa Sandstone.

 The Temple, dedicated on September 9, 1900, suffered damage in the 1906 earthquake (much of its Colusa sandstone cornices, balustrades and corners collapsed). It was further rattled by the region’s 1989 earthquake. This time the restoration was over seen by restoration architects Cary and Company.  Performers under the dome have ranged from John Philip Sousa to Pavarotti and the Grateful Dead.

The band shell is home the the Golden Gate Park Band, an institution since 1882.  They provide free concerts 25 Sundays each year.

Designed by Reid Brothers architects, it is similar to another structure designed by the Reid Brothers in Bellingham, Washington. There is an excellent history of the Reid Brothers by the San Francisco Examiner here.

Robert Aitken sculpture at Temple of Music

The two relief sculptures are by Robert Aitken.  The one on the left holds a lyre and the one on the right a trumpet.

Born in San Francisco, California, Robert Aitken became a noted sculptor who spent most of his career teaching at the National Academy of Design in New York City. He did numerous portraits, full size and bust, of well known figures.

For his early study he was a painting pupil of Arthur Mathews and Douglas Tilden at the Mark Hopkins Institute, San Francisco, and by the time he was age 18 he had his own studio. In 1897, he studied briefly in Paris, where influences turned him to sculpture.

He taught at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, University of California, from 1901 though 1904, and was awarded some of the premier sculpture commissions including monuments to the Navy and to President McKinley in Golden Gate Park. In 1904, he returned to Paris for three more years, and then settled in New York City where he was an instructor at the National Academy of Schools Sculpture Class, and at the Art Students League.

Robert Ingersoll Aitken Golden Gate Park



Union Square – Dewey Monument

 Posted by on March 26, 2012
Mar 262012
Union Square
Most everyone that visits San Francisco sees this piece of public art.  Two years before the Gold Rush, in 1847, Jasper O’Farrell, the first surveyor of San Francisco,  created a design for the city, with Union Square as a public plaza. By the 1880s, it was a fashionable residential district, and in 1903, this towering monument was added. A monument to Admiral George Dewey’s victory at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish American War. It also commemorates U.S. President William McKinley, who had been recently assassinated. The figurine at the top of the monument, “Winged Victory”, was modeled, reportedly, from the likeness of a local heiress, Alma de Bretteville Spreckels.
Designed by sculptor Robert I. Aitken and architect Newton J. Tharp, the Dewey Monument consisted of a 79-foot-tall granite shaft, surmounted by an 18-foot-high pedestal adorned with the bronzed figure “Winged Victory.” In one hand she bears a trident, the symbol of Poseidon and of naval victory, and in the other hand, a laurel wreath, also a symbol of victory.  Robert Aitken has been in this blog before.
Dedication of Dewey Monument by Teddy Roosevelt
Teddy Roosevelt dedicated the Dewey Monument in 1903 – Photo Courtesy of the Bancroft Library
A wonderfully detailed history of Union Square can be found here.

Golden Gate Park – William McKinely

 Posted by on March 18, 2012
Mar 182012
The Panhandle
Baker Street
Between Oak and Fell
William McKinely by Robert Ingersoll Aitken

The Panhandle is a park that forms a panhandle with Golden Gate Park. The Panhandle is near the geographic center of the city, and forms the southern boundary of the Western Addition neighborhood and the northern boundary of the Haight Ashbury.

The McKinley statue stands at the beginning of the Panhandle as you enter into Golden Gate Park. William McKinley was the 25th President who died on September 14, 1901 after being shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz. Just four months prior to his being shot he had a successful visit to San Francisco. When it was decided to create a monument, nine sculptors were invited to compete, and this competition was called the Spring Exhibition of the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art. The contest was won by Robert Ingersoll Aitken.

Born in San Francisco, California, Aitken studied at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art with Douglas Tilden. From 1901 until 1904 he was an instructor at the Institute. In 1904 he moved to Paris where he continued his studies. He returned to New York City after his sojourn in Paris and was employed as an instructor at the Art Students League.

Originally intended for the intersection of Van Ness and Market, the citizens of San Francisco were stuck with the moving bill of $30,000, when it was brought to the Panhandle outside of Golden Gate Park. Ironically, all of the presidents honored in the park are from Ohio, Garfield and Grant are the other two.

Ground for this statue was broken by Theodore Roosevelt. The spade that Roosevelt used to break ground for the monument was a copy that McKinley had used to break ground for the Dewey Monument in Union Square.

As a side note, this visit to San Francisco by Roosevelt included a four day camping trip with John Muir in Yosemite. This resulted in his expansion of federal protection for extraordinary land areas such as Yosemite.