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Mayor Lee Announces Civic Celebration of City Hall Centennial

Public Invited to Celebrate City Hall’s Centennial with Family Friendly, Free Event on Friday, June 19th at 6 p.m. in Civic Center Plaza

Mayor Edwin M. Lee and City Administrator Naomi Kelly together with Honorary Co-Chairs United States Senator Dianne Feinstein, former Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.  and San Francisco Chief of Protocol Charlotte Mailliard Shultz today announced The City Hall Centennial Celebration, a civic celebration honoring the 100th anniversary of San Francisco’s City Hall with a kickoff event to be held on Friday, June 19th at 6 p.m. in Civic Center Plaza. The civic celebration coincides with Mayor Lee’s hosting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 83rd Annual Meeting, which will bring 450 Mayors from across the country to San Francisco.

“San Francisco City Hall is a world-class landmark with a storied history for trailblazing policies that have had a global impact,” said Mayor Lee. “The investment we are making 100 years later is making history again – City Hall is the oldest U.S. building to achieve LEED EBOM Platinum Certification – the hallmark of sustainable building design. This historic centennial celebration provides us with an opportunity to come together as a City to remember how resilient San Franciscans have been through the past 100 years and helps us reflect on what tremendous support we have given one another during times of need, and we continue supporting one another for generations to come. I can’t wait to join residents from all over San Francisco and Mayors from across the country to switch on our new lights for City Hall and celebrate our City.”

“Over the past century, City Hall has been the site of great triumphs and tragedies. During my nine years as mayor I saw both,” said Senator Feinstein. “Built after the devastating 1906 earthquake, the building is a symbol of the City’s ability to rise from the ashes, like the mythical phoenix, even stronger than before. It will be a special day to celebrate the centennial as well as San Francisco’s public servants who have been privileged to serve in its halls.”

Following the devastating 1906 Great Earthquake and Fire, San Francisco’s City Hall was rebuilt and reopened by Mayor “Sunny” Jim Rolph in December 1915. Mayor Rolph is noted for saying that the citizens of the City needed to build City Hall as a palace not for a king or queen, a prince or princess, but for the people of San Francisco.  The principal architect was Arthur Brown, Jr., of Bakewell and Brown.

City Hall is the oldest building in the United States to receive LEED Platinum Certification for Building Operations and Maintenance in Existing Buildings (LEED - EBOM). This LEED classification highlights the potential for significant water and energy savings.

Platinum Certification of San Francisco’s 100-year-old City Hall is the culmination of a multi-year water and energy retrofit partnership between the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the City Administrator’s Office. With a 100 percent greenhouse gas-free electricity supply from the SFPUC’s Hetch Hetchy Power System, City Hall was already one of the greenest, most sustainable historic buildings in the country. These improvements will only serve to further reduce the environmental footprint of the building. Overall, the SFPUC’s energy efficiency improvements at City Hall will reduce consumption by approximately 20 percent, helping to make City Hall one of the more energy efficient buildings in the country. The water efficiency upgrades are estimated to save approximately 825,000 gallons of drinking water per year.                                                                                                            

The civic celebration will include unveiling of two new lighting advances for City Hall. First, a permanent installation of LED fixtures that will light the exterior of City Hall for years to come allowing, at the strike of a key, a limitless array of lighting combinations.  Second, and the feature attraction, the unveiling of an extraordinary and permanent multi-media projection system – designed by San Francisco-based Obscura Digital – which will project lights and images on the façade of City Hall and help bring this iconic building into the 21st Century.

“Leading up to the celebration of City Hall’s centennial has given us the perfect opportunity to incorporate new capital improvements to our historic building with upgrades like the permanent installation of LED lighting fixtures, to help make City Hall more energy efficient and also help reduce our operating costs.   The public private partnerships we have developed has enabled City Hall to continue to be the treasured “People’s Palace” for another century,” said City Administrator Naomi Kelly.  

“It is important for us to take a moment and reflect on what this magnificent building has meant to not only San Franciscans but also to visitors from around the world,” said Honorary Co-Chair former Mayor Brown.

“That’s right, whether it is a dignitary from France, a tourist from China, or an engaged couple from Colorado choosing to wed at San Francisco’s City Hall, the impact this treasured building has had on everyone these last 100 years is profound,” said Honorary Co-Chair Chief of Protocol Shultz.

The City Hall Centennial Celebration is organized by the Centennial Planning Committee, which is co-chaired by Tanya and Rich Peterson.  They and their committee are raising $2,200,000 in private dollars to join with $1,800,000 in approved city capital spending to support the overall effort.

“This is a momentous occasion, and so much more than simply celebrating this magnificent building.  It’s what the place represents: the resilience after major disasters, the struggles and the celebrations, and in so many ways, the rebirth of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake,” said Rich Peterson.

Stephen Revetria, General Manager of San Francisco Giants Enterprises and Mick and Sabrina Hellman will co-chair the June 19th centennial celebration at Civic Center Plaza. The Giants have partnered with the City in the past to host civic celebrations following the three Giants World Series Championships in 2010, 2012, and 2014.  The Hellman family, greatly appreciated for carrying on the legacy of Warren Hellman’s beloved Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, continues to supports arts, culture and philanthropy in San Francisco.

In addition to the captivating public light display, the civic celebration on June 19, 2015 is scheduled from 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. and will feature live entertainment by local artists performing hits from different eras throughout the past century. The Hellman family is generously funding and curating the talent for the musical performances.

The Hellman Family is beyond thrilled to play its part in supporting the 100th birthday of the People’s Palace!” said Mick Hellman.

The June 19th event in Civic Center Plaza will be just one component of the campaign to commemorate the 100th anniversary of City Hall. In November, KQED will release a documentary titled, “The People’s Palace”, on the history of City Hall and its importance to the rebirth of San Francisco following the earthquake that is produced and directed by Jim Yager.  City Hall will also host a series of public tours and showings of the documentary later this year as part of the centennial campaign.

For more information regarding the public centennial celebration, tours of City Hall and the KQED documentary trailer, go to: