Continuing Tradition: Mayor Gavin
Newsom presents the Key to the City to King Abdullah II of Jordan on April
The centuries-old act of presenting
visiting dignitaries with a Key to the City
is also a venerable tradition in San Francisco, dating back to the 1910s.
The 9-1/4 inch key in Smyth's illustration was introduced
by the Schlage Lock Co. in 1965. At that time, the nickel-plated keys
cost the City around $10 each. Gene
Autrey, Wilt Chamberlain, Connee Boswell,
and Rudy Vallee were all honored, as were mayors of London, Osaka, Haifa,
and San Antonio. Voluminous lists of
some of the men and women who received the Key to the City during the
20th Century and other documents related to the key are kept on file at
the San Francisco History Room in the Main Library.
These records are available for perusal by anyone who visits there.
of the City 09/23/03