1906 San Francisco Plan
In response to the overcrowded, disorderly conditions of San Francisco, James Duval Phelan, former mayor and president of the Association for the Improvement and Adornment of San Francisco, invited Burnham to draft a plan for San Francisco in 1904. Burnham arrived in San Francisco that September, with his associate Edward Bennett, taking up residence in a bungalow overlooking the city on Twin Peaks.
Their plan for San Francisco, presented to the board of supervisors in 1905, proposed a new civic center complex at Market and Van Ness from which would radiate grand boulevards. A landscaped park would begin at the Civic Center and extend to the Golden Gate Park panhandle, and Twin Peaks would be crowned with a neo-classical library, or Athenaeum, overlooking the Pacific. On April 18, 1906 an earthquake and resulting fire decimated much of the city, providing a perfect chance to implement Burnham’s plan.