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Tuesday, March 24, 2020


American author Robert Louis Stevenson is remembered in San Francisco’s Portsmouth Square with a fountain.  The author (Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) spent a few years in the City at 608 Bush Street, above the Stockton Street tunnel near downtown.

The monument was erected in 1897 at Portsmouth Square, where it stands to this day.  Famed architect of the day Willis Polk was one of its designers.  The statue’s champion Bruce Porter, San Francisco’s version of Gertrude Stein, was the other.  Sculptor George Piper designed the bronze Treasure Island ship.

During the great pandemic of 1918-19 the plaza next to the Stevenson memorial was used as an open air court house.  It was believed fresh air was one way to keep the Spanish Flu at bay.
In 1897, City fathers decided Portsmouth Square would be the ideal location for the Stevenson Memorial, because the site and much of Stevenson's writings championed the downtrodden.

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