It was something old and something new today in San Francisco as I explored my hotel, the Fairmont and its surroundings in Nob Hill. The Fairmont is among the oldest buildings in the city and I can say that with certainty since it's one of the few buildings to have survived the earthquake of 1906. In fact, work on the Fairmont was completed and the hotel was preparing for a grand opening just days before the earthquake struck. The building emerged relatively unscathed from the earthquake, but much of the interior was destroyed 24-hours later when fires ravaged the city.
I found this rare photograph in the basement of the hotel, taken just days after the earthquake. In it you can see how devastated the city was and just how miraculous it was that the hotel remained standing. The Fairmont sits, then as now, at the top of the hill, rising above the city like the Parthenon. Aside from natural disasters, I guess the only thing the folks at the Fairmont have to worry about these days is an attack from Hansel and Gretel. Sitting in the lobby, just steps from the reception desk, is the world's largest Gingerbread House. It's two stories high and is made of 7,500 gingerbread sticks, 1,200 pounds of chocolate icing, and 650 pounds of candy ...!