BACKSTORY: From The Westin St. Francis website: At the turn of the century, the guardians of the Charles Crocker family announced plans to build The Westin St. Francis. Their vision was to make San Francisco the "Paris of the West," and their stunning Union Square historic hotel would be their flagship. After studying all of Europe's grand hotels - from those in Berlin, Vienna, and Monaco to Claridge's in London and The Ritz in Paris - construction on the original St. Francis began. Two years and $2.5 million later, on March 21, 1904, the doors of The St. Francis opened. By seven o'clock that evening, a line of carriages and automobiles stretching three blocks waited to approach her brightly lit towers. The hotel became so popular that within six months, the owners announced plans to add a third wing, two floors of apartments, and a ballroom. In the years since, our San Francisco historic hotel has become the center of the city's social, literary, and artistic life.
After the Great Earthquake of 1906, the square was dubbed "Little St. Francis" because of the temporary shelter erected for residents of The St. Francis.
Documented records of the opening were lost in the fire that destroyed the interior of the hotel's original 250 rooms following the earthquake.
Within 40 days of the inferno, a temporary hotel of 110 rooms was erected in a court around the Dewey Monument in Union Square, and The St. Francis continued as a focal point of the city. The hotel refurbished its interior and re-opened late in 1907, with 450 guest rooms.
A third wing opened in 1908, and further additions followed on Post Street - making The St. Francis the largest hotel on the Pacific Coast.
Construction of the 32-story Pacific Tower began early in 1969 - opened in 1971 - adding a vast new complex of guest rooms, suites, and venues and banquet facilities.