Best Street Name - 2005
West of Sansome between Clay and Washington
Mark Twain was not only a towering influence in the development of our native literature, one of the country's sharpest and most astute social critics, and the author of what is arguably the Greatest American Novel, but he also nurtured his talents and earliest successes right here in San Francisco. In the space of 2 1/2 years, from the spring of 1864 to the autumn of 1866, Twain worked as a reporter for the city's Daily Morning Call, covering everything from opium smugglers to opera openings; contributed to the Golden Era literary magazine; took an office in the fabled Montgomery Block, sharing space with one Tom Sawyer (Twain dedicated his first book to him); delivered his first public lecture, a popular success in a medium he continued to mine throughout his life; and, after a gold-panning expedition to the Tuolomne River, wrote "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," his first national triumph. He left S.F. on the cusp of worldwide fame, remembering our town as "the most cordial and sociable city in the Union." Twain's plaza is a handsomely flanked and paved courtyard near his favorite stomping grounds.