After the Fire, famous photographer Arnold Genthe stood in the middle of California Street near the top of Taylor and took a photo of the destroyed City Hall Building through the burned-out Towne mansion’s marble doorway. The photo became a sensation and eventually one of the iconic views of the 1906 event.  A poem was written about the doorway view called A Portal of the Past.

Like a phantom doorway, giving
On the Hall of Memory,
Stands the broken portal---living
Threshold of the Used-to-be.
Naught but space beyond—below it
Debris of the mansion’s fall
At its side, pathetic, clinging
Remnants of the shattered wall.
Gone the wealth of pomp and splendor,
Treasures of the brush and loom;
Artistry of the smith and builder,
Mingled in their ashen doom.

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