AKA: Lick Monument, Civic Center, San Francisco, CA

Structure Type: built works - social and civic buildings - monuments

Designers: Frank H. Happersberger (sculptor)

Dates: constructed 1894

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San Francisco, CA

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Sculptor Frank H. Happersberger (1859-1932) created the final design for the monument in 1894, a female figure symbolizing California with her shield and spear atop a round, columnar pedestal. In the middle of the shaft were bas reliefs of historic scenes, and, under these, small bas relief busts depicted Sir Francis Drake and John Sutter, Lick and others, and below these names of other Euro-American pioneers ringed the drum. At the four compass points surrounding the central column, symbolic sculptural groups, set beneath the personification of California, depicted "the Early Days," "In '49," and two other scenes. The monument was designed to be seen in front of the City Hall, which fell in the Great Earthquake of 04/18/1906.

A competition to design a memorial for James Lick (1796-1876), a piano-maker/farmer/distiller who accumulated great wealth in business and real estate, occurred in San Francisco, CA, in 1887. Lick was honored for his extensive philanthropy, as he, late in his life, donated money to build public baths in San Francisco, to found the California School of Mechanical Arts and to erect the University of California's Lick Observatory. After his death, he left an astounding $2,930,654 for various projects, including this memorial. The American Architect and Building News described the monument's location: "The site is one seldom found in our cities, being a plat about seventy-five by two hundred feet, having streets on all four sides, and the new City-Hall as a background, so that the group should be designed to be seen from all points." The article outlined the competition program: "With the site, the sum ($100,000), and last, but not least, the subjects to be represented, namely, the three decades of history of the State: discovery and settlement; from then to advent of agriculture as the great industry of the State; lastly, the period of general industries up to the date 1874." The magazine's writer reviewed the 23 entries and declared them all unsuitable. (See "The Competition for Lick Memorial, San Francisco, California," American Architect and Building News, vol. XXII, no, 625, 12/17/1887, p. 294.) It took another 7 years for the monument to be completed.

PCAD id: 17410