History Mark Hopkins
Mark Hopkins Mansion around 1900

Mark Hopkins

Mark Hopkins, one of the founders of the Central Pacific Railroad, chose the southeastern peak of Nob Hill as the site for a dream home for his wife, Mary. The mansion was completed in 1878, after his death.
The Mark Hopkins mansion survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, however, it was destroyed in the three-day fire that followed the earthquake. Mining engineer and hotel investor George D. Smith purchased the Nob Hill site, removed the Art Association building, and began construction of a luxury hotel. In 1926 the hotel opened.
In 1961, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev stayed in this 17th-floor suite. The suite was outfitted with a direct line to The Kremlin. Russian security guards periodically swept the rooms with Geiger counters, looking for sources of radiation. In 1973, then-owner Louis Lurie turned management over to the InterContinental Hotels Corporation, which maintains the property today. Mick Jagger, the rest of the Rolling Stones and their large entourage rented two whole floors of the Mark Hopkins during a 1975 tour.

mark hopkins Mark Hopkins, one of the founders of the Central Pacific Railroad, chose the southeastern peak of Nob Hill as the site for a dream home for his wife, Mary. The mansion was completed in 1878, after his death.
Mary Sherwood Hopkins at the age of seventy-three, on her death in 1891, left the Nob Hill mansion and a $70-million estate to her second husband, Edward Francis Searles. In 1893, Searles donated the building and grounds to the San Francisco Art Association (now San Francisco Art Institute), for use as a school and museum.

markhopkins_earthquakeThe Mark Hopkins mansion survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, however, it was destroyed in the three-day fire that followed the earthquake.
Only afterwards, combing through the rubble, did survivors come upon a 500,000 gallon water reserve. The San Francisco Art Institute, who had received the mansion from Searles, erected a modest building in its place.
An ambitious young mining engineer and hotel investor, George D. Smith, who saw potential in the site, promptly purchased the building and tore it down in preparation for something much grander. The San Francisco architectural firm Weeks and Day designed the 19-story hotel, a combination of French château and Spanish ornamentation.
In 1926, the luxurious 19-story Mark Hopkins Hotel opened its doors.
Today the hotel is owned by InterContinental Hotels and, after a recent renovation, the original details and terracotta ornaments of the French and Spanish renaissance façade looks as dramatic now as when Smith first installed them. Three black-carpeted staircases lead up to three entrances, and uniformed doormen leap to open cab doors for the businessmen and women who populate the hotel.
In the lobby, the plush furniture, tasseled pillows, fresh flowers and enormous crystal chandeliers recall the rowdy, slightly over-the-top opulence reminiscent of the wild days when this stretch of California was known as the Barbary Coast. Of the 380 guest rooms, 39 are suites, five of which are "luxury" suites--but every room feels luxurious, with the help of Frette bedding and bathrobes, dark wooden furniture, bathrooms done in black and yellow Italian marble and hypnotic views of San Francisco's bays, bridges and skyline, including the triangular TransAmerica building, the Bank of America building and Alcatraz.
One of the banquet areas, "The Room of The Dons", contains a piece of California history. Nine seven-foot-high panels painted by artists Maynard Dixon and Frank Von Sloun in 1926 for the hotel's opening decorate the upper walls. One panel shows Queen Califia and her Amazons set against a gold leaf sky.
During World War II, the Top Of The Mark lounge was a favored place for Pacific bound servicemen and their sweethearts to meet before being deployed.
In 1962 the hotel was sold by the original owner George D. Smith to San Francisco financier Louis Lurie. In 1973 Lurie's heirs signed a long-term management contract for the Mark Hopkins with InterContinental Hotels Corporation.
A bronze plaque installed by the California State Park Commission, designating the site California Historical Landmark #754, was commissioned October 20, 1961. It is a recognition of the fact that a place acquired some special significance beyond its geographical location—that it has become exceptional.

A Soviet Visit

In 1961, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev stayed in this 17th-floor suite. The suite was outfitted with a direct line to The Kremlin. Russian security guards periodically swept the rooms with Geiger counters, looking for sources of radiation.

Mick Jagger, the rest of the Rolling Stones and their large entourage rented two whole floors of the Mark Hopkins during a 1975 tour.

Managed by: InterContinental
380 Rooms
32 Suites
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