New and Venerable Institutions: Key to the City

Continuing Tradition: This Key to the City was presented by Mayor George Christopher to ad man Robert Prikitin.

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.

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Heart of the City 09/23/03

Copyright 2004 Hank Donat home