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Re: Union Square - who named it and why?

[Post Followup] [San Francisco History Board]

Posted by Ron Filion on Sunday, June 03, 2007 at 15:26:16 :

In Reply to: Union Square - who named it and why? posted by Richard on Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at 17:36:24 :

: I've heard it had something to do with Starr King, or perhaps with a speech by Edward Baker in the civil war days.
: Anyone know anything specific?

According to "The Streets of San Francisco" by E.G. Fitzhamon, 1928:

"Colonel John White Geary, both Postmaster and Alcade of San Francisco in 1849, was the donor [of the property that is now Union Square]. He was Mayor in 1850.

"The deed of gift is dated January 3 of 1850. ...The little park itself is 2.60 acres.

"It is set forth in the deed that the city shall hold this plot in perpetuity for park purposes. It had no name then.

"Its naming is said to have been a patriotic tribute to the Union, to which California was admitted with Statehood in the autumn of that same year. However, it seems doubtful whether the name Union Square as conferred then. On maps made in the early fifties the vacant sand waste is merely marked 'Public Square'."

"There is a legend that 'Union Square' was conferred in 1860 because of numerous public meeting held there in support of the Union and to combat the secessionist movement. It became the recognized rallying ground of Unionists led by Thomas Starr King. Near the square's southeast corner was built the Thomas Starr King Church. ..."

For further information:

"The Streets of San Francisco, Union Square No. 1", San Francisco Chronicle, 18 September 1928, page 10.

"The Streets of San Francisco, Union Square No. 2", San Francisco Chronicle, 19 September 1928, page 7.

Argonaut, June 1958, page 17; August 1958, page 22; September 1958, pages 9, 25.

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