The San Francisco Republican Party has a long and storied history, beginning with its founding in 1856.
The San Francisco Republican Party was founded in January 1856 at Butler's Hatter shop off Portsmouth Square. Four months later, in April, the California Republican Party held its first convention in Sacramento.
From 1912 until 1964, for fifty-two years, there were five Republican Mayors of San Francisco in a row, including “Sunny Jim” Rolph, Angelo Rossi, Roger Lapham, Elmer Robinson, and George Christopher.
These mayors rebuilt San Francisco and cleaned up the mess at City Hall in the aftermath of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire and the subsequent unearthing of major scandals, corruption, and mismanagement in the Mayor’s office and the Board of Supervisors.
Mayors Rolph, Rossi, Lapham, Robinson, and Christopher, and their Republican colleagues on the Board of Supervisors were responsible for building the infrastructure San Franciscans today take for granted -- an infrastructure which revitalized the City’s economy, attracted major National and Multi-National Corporate Headquarters to San Francisco, and made San Francisco into a culturally diverse World Class City.
Their forward- looking vision built Civic Center, the iconic Palace of Fine Arts and Legion of Honor, formation of the Municipal Railway system and construction of the tunnels connecting the western and eastern sides of the City, and built the Hetch Hetchy water and power system, most of our public schools buildings -- K-12 and the City College of San Francisco still in use, SFO, the SF Zoo, Stern Grove, Kezar Stadium, and Candlestick Park.
Additionally, under Republican leadership, the City hosted the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915), the World’s Fair at Treasure Island (1939-1940), and the 1956 and 1964 Republican National Conventions at the Cow Palace.
San Francisco’s last Republican Mayor, George Christopher, brought the New York Giants to San Francisco in 1958 and set the groundwork for the development of Diamond Heights. The neighborhood’s Christopher playground is named after the Mayor.
Throughout the years, the SFGOP has been a proud partner in helping to elect Republican Presidents to the White House and Republican Governors to Sacramento.
History compiled by Christopher L. Bowman. Photos courtesy San Francisco Public Library.