The Legion of Honor was the gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, wife of the sugar magnate and thoroughbred racehorse owner/breeder Adolph B. Spreckels The building is a three-quarter-scale version of the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur also known as the Hôtel de Salm in Paris by George Applegarth and H. Guillaume. It was completed in 1924.
The Legion of Honor displays a collection spanning more than 6,000 years of ancient and European art and houses the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts in a neoclassical building overlooking Lincoln Park and the Golden Gate Bridge.
The museum building occupies an elevated site in Lincoln Park in the northwest of the city, with views over the Golden Gate Bridge. Most of the surrounding Lincoln Park Golf Course is on the site of a potter’s field called the “Golden Gate Cemetery” that the City had bought in 1867. The cemetery was closed in 1908 and the bodies were relocated to Colma. During seismic retrofitting in the 1990s, however, coffins and skeletal remains were unearthed.
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