Photographer Arnold Genthe, who was famous for his photos of the San Francisco 1906 earthquake, wrote about his stay at the Hotel Rafael in his autobiography. He came to San Francisco in 1895 from Germany at the request of Baron Heinrich von Schroeder who was the proprietor of the Hotel Rafael. After some research I found out that: "The Hotel Rafael opened in 1888 and was the first luxury hotel in Marin County. It cost approximately $200,000 to build and occupied 21 acres in San Rafael, California. The hotel had 100 rooms, multiple dining rooms, an observation tower, plus gardens, tennis courts and stables. The warm climate of San Rafael attracted many San Francisco vacationers across the foggy San Francisco Bay. A fire started on the top floor and burned the hotel to the ground on July 29, 1928, despite the local fire department's best efforts. In 1939, the land was sold at auction and subdivided into smaller lots on which private homes were built. Part of the original gates are still visible at Belle Avenue and Rafael Drive in San Rafael, California." .....so I went to the intersection and found the gates buried in the foliage and shrubs. Here are some shots of the gates today along with postcards from 1900 and 1905.
© Joseph Greco