In 1906, the Golden Hydrant at 20th and Church Street helped save parts of the Mission District after fires broke out following the Great Quake. Awarded the SF Weekly Best-Of prize in 2007, the gilded fire plug deserves your respect. Here's why:
It isn't often that a city recognizes a lowly fire hydrant as a significant historical landmark, but this one near the southwest corner of Mission Dolores Park has earned the props. In the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake and fire, it was here that a handful of exhausted firemen and throngs of volunteer citizens made a valiant (and successful) stand against the approaching conflagration that — except for the water that gushed from the hydrant, after many other hydrants had gone dry — would have surely further devastated the Mission District. (The newer houses on the north side of 20th provide a stark reminder of where the fire line was drawn.) Each April 18, on the anniversary of the great disaster, volunteers give the heralded fire plug a fresh coat of gold paint. A sidewalk plaque commemorates the heroics. Note to dogs: Step back.
Each year, just before the anniversary of the disaster, the Golden Hydrant is given a fresh coast of paint. Thanks, San Francisco History Association!