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Book Tour Underway for Jim Haas’ Landmark New Book

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Book Tour Underway for Jim Haas’ Landmark New Book
from the University of Nevada Press
The San Francisco Civic Center:
A History of the Design, Controversies, and Realization of a City Beautiful Masterpiece

June 10 – Commonwealth Club of California
June 19 – San Francisco Main Public Library
June 26 – San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
August 8 – San Francisco Mechanic’s Institute
September 10 – Institute of Classical Architecture and Art  (San Francisco)
September 12 – California State Library (Sacramento)

10 June 2019 – San Francisco, CA: Beginning tonight at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, and continuing through the summer, author, historian and attorney Jim Haas is on a mission: promoting the unique place in architectural history held by San Francisco’s landmark governmental heart as chronicled in his new book from the University of Nevada PressThe San Francisco Civic Center: A History of the Design, Controversies, and Realization of a City Beautiful Masterpiece.

“I’ve often felt like a voice crying alone in the desert,” laughs Haas, who after tonight’s appearance at the Commonwealth Club will continue with appearances at the San Francisco Main Public Library (June 19), the SF Chamber of Commerce (June 26), the San Francisco Mechanic’s Institute (August 8), the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art in San Francisco (September 10) and the California State Library in Sacramento (September 12). “It’s taken seven mayors and four decades, but finally, the public – and public officials – are taking note of the unique national treasure that is San Francisco City Hall and the surrounding Civic Center.”

Haas is an author, attorney, and expert on San Francisco’s Civic Center history and politics. He has lived in San Francisco most of his life and spent more than forty years engaged in civic projects, including the restoration and completion of San Francisco’s Civic Center.

San Francisco is known and loved around the world for its iconic man-made structures, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and Transamerica Pyramid. Yet its Civic Center, with the grandest collection of monumental municipal buildings in the United States, is often overlooked, drawing less global and local interest, despite its being an urban planning marvel featuring thirteen government offices and cultural buildings. In The San Francisco Civic Center: A History of the Design, Controversies, and Realization of a City Beautiful Masterpiece, Haas tells the complete story of the Civic Center and how it became one of the most complete developments envisioned by any American city. Originally planned and designed by John Galen Howard in 1912, San Francisco’s Civic Center is considered in both design and materials one of the finest achievements of the American reformist City Beautiful movement, an urban design movement that began more than a century ago.

“Ever since I first met Jim Haas during my earliest days on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, he has demonstrated a consistent and admirable commitment to the well being of our city,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein in a forward to to the book. “Though his advocacy and leadership over the years has proven essential to a number of projects and issues, Jim will long be remembered for his thirty-year commitment to the completion and improvement of the city’s Civic Center.  This book will help people understand and appreciate what a magnificent treasure we in San Francisco have with our Civic Center and why we must continue to work to preserve and enhance it. I urge everyone to read it.”

The San Francisco Civic Center is a grouping of monumental publically-owned buildings that are clustered between Market, McAllister, Hayes and Franklin Streets about two miles up Market Street from the Ferry Building. The area today contains thirteen government office and cultural buildings, among them City Hall, the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library, the Asian Art Museum, the War Memorial Opera House and Veterans Building, Davies Symphony Hall, Department of Public Health, the Supreme Court and State offices, the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, the federal office building at United Nations Plaza, and the headquarters for the city’s Public Utilities Commission. It is located in the nerve center of San Francisco’s major streets grid with the domed City Hall anchoring the area. The area is classified as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been the central site of San Francisco’s government for more than a century, and the civic and architectural philosophies undergirding its design have been a driving force in San Francisco’s urban design since the time the 1906 earthquake forever altered San Francisco’s city planning. Because of its long and central history in San Francisco, and its extraordinary architectural heritage, the Civic Center has been discussed as a possible candidate for consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

For more information or to purchase a copy of The San Francisco Civic Center: A History of the Design, Controversies, and Realization of a City Beautiful Masterpiece go to
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Critical Praise for Jim Haas’ The San Francisco Civic Center: A History of the Design, Controversies, and Realization of a City Beautiful Landmark:

“Nobody in San Francisco knows Civic Center and its maddening saga—a strange mix of triumphs and pratfalls at urban scale—better than James Haas. This new book makes that history available to all of us, a spirited resource that provides context for whatever might come next.”
—John King, Urban Design Critic, San Francisco Chronicle

“That notoriously Victorian city, San Francisco, does occasionally surprise with moments of unbounded classicism: Its City Hall represents one of the best and most beautiful expressions of the style. Happily, James Haas has done the buildings justice in his thorough and exhilarating book, which I consider a must-read for any devotee of Classical Architecture, or any architecture for that matter!”
—Peter Lyden, President, Institute of Classical Architecture and Art

“San Francisco’s remarkable Civic Center comes alive in this book. Not only is it a comprehensive history of the Civic Center, it is an extremely thoughtful reminder of how public spaces and public buildings can be monuments of democracy and design.”
—William Deverell, Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West
“We’re often strangely drawn to love affairs. I deeply admire Jim Haas’ passion and persistence in pursuit of his love for San Francisco’s Civic Center. This exquisite book invites us to eavesdrop on and understand why our thoughtful author has stayed so loyal to this urban architecture love affair.”
—Chip Conley, hospitality entrepreneur and bestselling author

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Full Schedule of Readings / Signings by Jim Haas for
The San Francisco Civic Center: A History of the Design, Controversies, and Realization of a City Beautiful Landmark:

Monday, June 10: 6pm
The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium / San Francisco

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Wednesday, June 19: 6pm – 7:30pm
San Francisco Main Public Library
100 Larkin Street

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Wednesday, June 26: 6pm -7:30pm
San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Boardroom
235 Montgomery Street, Suite 760 / San Francisco

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Thursday, August 8: 6:30pm
A Conversation between Jim Haas and John King / SF Chronicle
The Mechanic’s Institute
57 Post St., Suite 504 / San Francisco

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Tuesday, September 10: 6pm – 8pm
Institute of Classical Architecture and Art
The James L. Flood Mansion
2222 Broadway / San Francisco

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Thursday, September 12: 6pm – 8pm
“A Night at the State Library”       
Stanley Mosk Library & Courts Building
914 Capitol Mall / Sacramento