Mark Hopkins mansion top of Nob Hill

Mark Hopkins mansion top of Nob Hill

Nob Hill, also known as Snob Hill, is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California, centered on the intersection of California Street and Powell Street. It is one of San Francisco’s 44 hills, and one of its original “Seven Hills.” Prior to the 1850s, Nob Hill was called California Hill (after California Street, which climbs its steep eastern face). It was renamed after the Central Pacific Railroad’s Big Four — called the Nobs — built mansions there. The British slang nob is a disparaging term for newly rich, derived from the Mughal India/Bengali word nawab that refers to an upper-class individual.

Mark Hopkins (September 1, 1813-March 29, 1878), an entrepreneur, was one of four principal investors who formed the Central Pacific Railroad along with Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, and Collis Huntington in 1861.  Hopkins built an ornate mansion at the top of Nob Hill in San Francisco, California, close to the mansions of other Central Pacific Founders. The architects were the prominent San Francisco firm of Wright and Sanders. Hopkins was never going to see his mansion completed. He was having health problems, and died aboard a company train near Yuma, Arizona. The mansion, eventually finished and occupied by his wife Mary, burned to the ground in a fire caused by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The neighborhood was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire, except for the granite walls surrounding the Stanford, Crocker, Huntington and Hopkins mansions. Those walls remain and you can see black scars caused by smoke from the intense fires that burned after the quake.

Mark Hopkins Hotel, built in 1926, renovated 2009

Mark Hopkins Hotel, built in 1926, renovated 2009

The Mark Hopkins Hotel (currently InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco) was built in its place in 1926.

In one of my lifetimes, I was privileged to be a guest at this magnificent, now four star, hotel and dine at the top of the mark. Walking down the hill and up were both challenging. Nob Hill, San Francisco (Looking west up California Street, Nob Hill district, San Francisco) - Photo by Dave Glass (, February 14, 2009San_Francisco_Street_on_Nob_Hill wild-parrots-of-telegraph-hill biker-steep-san-francisco-hill

Cable cars are the way up to Nob Hill and down to Union Square.

Is San Francisco a favorite city? Have you been to Scoma’s on Fisherman’s Wharf? Have you seen Seal rock?

The wild parrots in the image here are perched on branches on Telegraph Hill.

How would you like to bike there?

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