Union Square

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Dedication of Dewey Monument, Union Square, May 14, 1903

President Roosevelt dedicated the Dewey Monument to honor the victory of Admiral George Dewey and the American fleet over Spanish forces at Manila Bay, the Philippines in 1898, during the Spanish-American War. The monument is also a tribute to the sailors of the U.S. Navy.

The Monument commemorates the victory of Admiral George Dewey and the American fleet over Spanish forces at Manila Bay, the Philippines, on May 1, 1898, during the Spanish-American War. The monument is also a tribute to the sailors of the U.S. Navy. Ground was broken for the monument by President McKinley, Roosevelt's predecessor, on May 12, 1901. The dedication of the monument was President Roosevelt's last official act before leaving San Francisco.

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Dewey Monument, Union Square viewing North, c 1905

Union Square, the center of the City in pioneer days, was deeded for public use on January 3, 1850 during the administration of John White Geary, first mayor and postmaster. The 97-foot Corinthian column, topped by a figure representing Victory, survived the 1906 Earthquake.


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Christmas Tree ornamentation surounding the Dewey Monument in the center of Union Square, circa 1920


Every year since 1880 a magnificent tree has stood in Union Square, the tradition supposedly started by decree of the City's great eccentric, Emperor Norton. Originally a tall sand dune, the square was set aside as a public park in 1850. The origins of the Square's name relate to the pro-Union rallies held there on the eve of the Civil War. The Saint Francis Hotel, which opened in 1904, stands behind the Square.

Source: OPL

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