Memorial To All Who Served

Ken Maley Collection
Photo: Ken Maley Collection

San Francisco’s civic leaders, led by war Veteran Charles Kendrick, initiated a campaign in 1920 to erect a War Memorial across from City Hall “to all who served.


San Franciscans rallied to the War Memorial proposal, pledging over two million dollars. A Bond issue was needed and approved to complete the funding. Final cost for the War Memorial was nearly $6 million in 1930 dollars – $90 million in 2018 dollars.

L-R: War Memorial Archives, Francisco Public Library, War Memorial Archives

Groundbreaking for the War Memorial was held on 11 November 1926, the eighth anniversary of the signing of the Armistice. Construction did not begin until spring, 1929, the year that “The Great Depression” began.

San Francisco Public Library
Photo: San Francisco Public Library

The War Memorial Veterans Building and Opera House dedication, looking west through the courtyard to Fulton Street from Van Ness Avenue, 9 September 1932.






War Memorial Archive
Photo: War Memorial Archive

The War Memorial Complex

  • Veterans Building is now home to the American Legion Posts, Green Room, Herbst Theatre, Taube Atrium Theater, and the Dianne B. Wilsey Center for Opera (right)
  • Opera House (center)
  • Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall (left) added in 1980.



The War Memorial Veterans Building and Opera House have hosted important historic events: the signing of the United Nations Charter on 26 June 1945, and The Japanese Peace Treaty signed by representatives of 48 nations on 8 September 1951.

L-R: Photo San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco Chronicle Library, San Francisco Public Library



A Memorial To All Who Served Banner on view in the Veterans Building Lobby