Probably no area of San Francisco has changed as much over time as the eastern waterfront — the original entrance to the city of San Francisco. This is what it looked like just before the Gold Rush:

 

 

During the Gold Rush years, the real estate closest to the center of town (Portsmouth Plaza) was the most desirable; and one way to secure such a location was to put new buildings on piers that extended farther and farther out into the bay.


 

In later years, this waterfront was the focal point of fishing and shipping industry, as well as the embarkation site for new immigrants coming from all parts of the world to San Francisco. This wooden structure was the first ferry building constructed on the present site:

 

First Ferry Building, constructed in 1875

First Ferry Building, constructed in 1875

 

 

The current Ferry Building was built in 1896 and rebuilt after the 1906 disaster. The architect, Arthur Paige Brown, originally planned for a much grander setting for the new Ferry Building:

 

Much of the extension of San Francisco into the bay was haphazard, without any planning or thought as to the consequence of building on land once under water. But even today, when the boundary to the bay seems pretty well fixed, visionary artists have imagined even grander plans for the eastern edge of the city.

Here’s one more imaginative design to supplement the two given on the main page of “Visionary San Francisco”: a proposed new stadium, extending into the bay from an area south of the Bay Bridge piers, for the Golden State Warriors:

Rendering by steelblue (2013)

Rendering by steelblue (2013)