Anne Evers Hitz

History buff and freelance writer Anne Evers Hitz is the author of San Francisco’s Ferry Building (2017) and Emporium Department Store (2014) (Arcadia Publishing). She is working on a book about San Francisco’s lost department stores, to be published in 2019. She is also a guide with City Guides.

For many years, visitors traveled to San Francisco via ferry, and the Ferry Building stood ready to welcome them. In the 1920s, the Ferry Building was the world’s second busiest transit terminal (after Charing Cross, London); more than 50,000 people passed through the building daily. By the late 1930s, commuting by car made ferryboats obsolete. In the ‘50s, the Embarcadero Freeway blocked the building; once that came down, the restored Ferry Building reopened in 2003 and is once again a beacon of civic pride.

For many years, visitors traveling to San Francisco came via ferry, and the Ferry Building, one of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks, stood ready to welcome them. In the 1920s, the Ferry Building was the world’s second busiest transit terminal (after Charing Cross, London), with more than 50,000 people a day passing through the elegant building, designed by architect A. Page Brown and opened in 1898. When the 1906 earthquake struck, and the ensuing fire was destroying the city, the venerable waterfront icon stood above the ruins, giving residents hope that the city would recover, and rise from the ashes. By 1939, when the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge were both open, ferry traffic fell off. By the late 1950s, ferry service ended altogether and the building’s beautiful facade was blocked by the double-decker Embarcadero Freeway. With the freeway’s demise after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the Ferry Building, was restored and reopened in 2003 and is once again a beacon of civic pride, a landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and a public space that anchors the San Francisco waterfront.

Anne Evers Hitz is a fifth-generation San Franciscan who remembers when the Ferry Building was a forlorn, forgotten architectural treasure on the waterfront, blocked by the Embarcadero Freeway. She feels lucky to have witnessed the building’s stunning renovation and role once again as the crown jewel of the waterfront.

A graduate of UC Berkeley, Hitz is a writer, editor, and project manager who has had her own communications consulting firm in San Francisco for almost 25 years. She has also worked as publicity director for the University of California Press and as editorial assistant at publishers Oxford University Press and Farrar, Straus & Giroux in New York.

Although most of her clients are financial services companies, Hitz has had a long interest in San Francisco history, its lore and legends. She is a volunteer guide at the Ferry Building for City Guides, a group of local volunteers who give free walking tours of San Francisco. She hopes that this work will bring back fond memories of the Ferry Building and the era before the two bridges across the Bay were built, when traveling across the Bay by ferry was a way of life.