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Portals Of The Past

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By chateaugrief   |   
© 2017 - 2020 chateaugrief

This is the Portals of the Past monument in Golden Gate Part, San Francisco.  It’s actually the front door portico of a Mr. A.M. Towne, who had a house on the famed Nob Hill, site of some of the worst devastation during the 1906 earthquake and subsequent great fire of San Francisco.  The portico attracted a lot of attention even before the earthquake, and the San Francisco News Letter saw fit to make a special note of the local materials and workmanship of the stone: 

“The portico of highly polished California marble is worthy of special mention, not only for its intrinsic beauty, but from the fact that it is the first work of the kind ever executed of native material, as well as probably the finest in detail. The columns and balcony are of grey marble from Colton, Cal., and was furnished by the California Marble and Building Stone Co. The same company furnished the beautiful green marble which forms the rich wainscoting of the interior of the portico. This vividly tinted green variety comes from near Mojave, Cal., and has thus far never been produced in so large a quantity.”San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser  May 9, 1891…

Because the 1906 quake was so strong, no seismograph in the area survived to record an accurate record, so there is much debate about the actual strength of the earthquake. The ground rupture of the 1906 quake was 296 miles long, compared to the 1989 Loma Prieta quake rupture of 25 miles. A surface horizontal offset of 20 feet and vertical offset of 24 feet was observed at Point Reyes.  The 1906 quake released about 16 times the energy of the Loma Prieta quake.  That’s a big big earthquake.   After the earthquake, all the gas mains in the city had been broken and were leaking, and also all the water mains were broken.  Then the fire started…it burned for four days. Here’s a great link to more history on the brutal  1906 Earthquake with lots of pictures…

After the fire, nothing remained of Towne’s house but this stone portico.  A local photographer, Arnold Genthe, who was journaling the damage, took a famous photo of the smoldering ruins of San Francisco, framed through this portico. Here is the photo:…  

The portico was donated the the city of San Francisco in 1909 by Mrs. Towne, after Mr. Towne had died and the mayor of SF, James Phelan pawned it off on Golden Gate Park Superintendent John McLaren, and it was placed by the edge of Lloyd Lake in 1909.  I have to say, this is probably the most striking monument in Golden Gate Park, perfect to sit by and contemplate the future and the past.  


Legend has it that if you step through the arch while shouting 'Free the Eynhallow Inmates', Xander will teleport you to Eynhallow to explain your ridiculous behavior to him personally.  

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Image size
4000x2667px 1.97 MB
Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 (Macintosh)
anonymous's avatar
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Robot58-Mech's avatar

Beautiful and Full of Knowledge :).

12/10 for a wonderful history lesson, moral, and picture :D.

Keep up the impressive artwork and outstanding effort ;).

whatwtf's avatar
whatwtfStudent General Artist
this looks so peaceful!
Mystic-Markellen's avatar
I would read a book there, sitting on a bench. ;)
Ivseese's avatar
This is wonderful !!!
CrimsonSunset218's avatar
*gape*  I thought this was a japanese garden at first.  It's in AMERICA?!  Wow...
chateaugrief's avatar
chateaugriefProfessional Digital Artist
Golden Gate Park has a whole Japanese garden section, I've got a couple of nice spots lined up to do paintings of in the future.  Really lovely place!
CrimsonSunset218's avatar
Really?!  That's awesome!!  I can't wait to see what you do!
AsMyWorldDivides's avatar
Super beautiful!! ;w; 
Chowkeyo's avatar
ChowkeyoHobbyist General Artist
Good lord I love your work!F2U Kaomoji | Lying Down _(:3J L)_ | iikao #1 
model88's avatar
model88Hobbyist General Artist
Again, thank you so much for sharing this!
Pugataur's avatar
PugataurHobbyist Filmographer
Looks heavenly!! Floating Love Beautiful!  
Tiffli's avatar
lovley - like all these you made - thank you ^^!
Morphona's avatar
Morphona Digital Artist
This is too beautiful <3
MiaSkyePie's avatar
Love the lighting in this one Heart  
Darkarchangel96's avatar
Darkarchangel96 General Artist
I love the light andthe reflections. Amazing!!!
StarProjectCreation's avatar
StarProjectCreationProfessional Digital Artist
Wow, *echo* amazing!.... amazing!... amazing! La race 
Ivladislaw's avatar
IvladislawHobbyist Digital Artist
Nice work :) 
sunlake3's avatar
sunlake3Hobbyist General Artist
The light coming through the columns is beautiful. I love how it seems to come from nowhere. The reflection of the pond is wonderful, too. It looks so realistic. Great job!
chateaugrief's avatar
chateaugriefProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you!  Glad you liked it!
sunlake3's avatar
sunlake3Hobbyist General Artist
It's really good. Also, thank you for the llama!
MiyaYoshi's avatar
MiyaYoshiHobbyist Digital Artist
Damn, Genthe's photo is some bleak-looking shiz--and also plays with scale. I can't tell how massive that portico is supposed to be! I guess that's what that lil' picket bench does, there.

That light beaming through looks gorgeous in this painting! I love how it touches the water and surrounding bushes.
chateaugrief's avatar
chateaugriefProfessional Digital Artist
It looks to me about a 10' door in a casing about 12-14'?  There wasn't much left of San Francisco to photograph after those four days.  They were fighting fire with dynamite because it's all they had left.   Glad you liked the painting!
Ladesire's avatar
LadesireHobbyist Digital Artist
Awesome work)) Very beautiful))
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