Every year on the anniversary of the Great 1906 Earthquake, the heroic fire hydrant at 20th and Church Streets that saved the Mission District is honored with a ceremonial wreath-laying and a fresh coat of gold paint. This year however, on the 106th anniversary of the city-leveling quake, the little hydrant that could got painted a slightly less heroic color, apparently due to a Rust-Oleum mix-up at a local Lowe's Hardware Store.
According to the San Francisco History Association's Facebook page, the group's president and founder Ron Ross thought he had purchased three cans of gold spray paint to freshen the hydrant's topcoat during the early morning celebration. It wasn't until sunrise that Ross and others noticed the mistake in the early morning light. Or as one member of the History Association put it, "3 cans of spray paint with GOLD caps. 0 with gold paint. painting SF icon FAIL."
Fail indeed. No word yet on whether the SFHA will be asking for a refund from Lowes or repainting the regal hydrant.
Update: Although noted Castro District hardware store, Cliff's Variety generously offered to donate three cans of gold paint to correct the metallic mistake, the History Association notes on their Facebook page that good samaritan Scott Sherman repainted the hydrant this morning. Thanks, Scott! You're a true San Francisco hero.