This is an oddity:
Plan of San Francisco, showing system of circuit and radial arteries, and its communication with San Mateo County. (By Daniel H. Burnham. Assisted by Edward H. Bennett. 1905)
This is a map of the Burnham Plan of 1905. Robert Cherny’s historical essay is a good summary. On the creator:
Daniel Burnham, the most prominent city planner of the day, made his first reputation with the development of the Chicago skyscraper.
On the design:
His plan for San Francisco was, by Burnham’s own admission, primarily a plan for streets and parks. “A city must ever deal mainly with the direction and width of its streets,” he said, and his plan for San Francisco revealed an infatuation with redrawing streets and creating new diagonals and circular intersections, with the basic patterns borrowed from Pierre L’Enfant’s plan for Washington, which Burnham had refurbished shortly before, and from Paris.
On the plan’s emphasis and shortcomings:
He planned parks on the assumption that San Francisco would eventually have two million residents, but said little about planning housing. “The residential districts,” he noted cavalierly, “develop as necessity demands.”
(Note that San Francisco’s current population is nearer 800,000.)
All in all, his master plan was not economically feasible, not practical, not even very original. Monumental in its assumptions and objectives, however, it may be best understood as a lesson in both beauty and order.
The entire post is well worth a read, and the additional illustrations are interesting, such as the monumental staircase up Twin Peaks.
Further reading: SF Chronicle, with a redrawn version of the design; Invisible SF, noting the Mission would have become an arcade; part of an online exhibit at the Bancroft Library on the plan; and Rex Bell’s detailed look at what might have been. That contains the best epitaph for the scheme that I’ve seen:
On April 18, 1906, a powerful earthquake literally shook The City to its foundations. The subsequent fire destroyed Burnham’s original plans and drawings, which were stored at City Hall. Daniel Burnham’s dream and vision for San Francisco, which had come close to being realized, perished that day.