George Christopher: Mayor of San Francisco (born: 1907 - died: 2000) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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George Christopher
Mayor of San Francisco

George Christopher

George Christopher
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Mayor of San Francisco
Was Politician
From United States of America
Field Politics
Gender male
Birth 8 December 1907, Arcadia Prefecture, Peloponnese Region, Greece
Death 14 September 2000, San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, USA (aged 92 years)
Star sign Sagittarius
Politics Republican Party
Golden Gate University
The details (from wikipedia)


George Christopher (born George Christopheles; December 8, 1907 – September 14, 2000) was a Greek-American politician who served as the 34th mayor of San Francisco from 1956 to 1964. He is the most recent Republican to be elected mayor of San Francisco.

Early years

Born George Christopheles in Arcadia, Greece, the son of James and Mary (née Koines) Christopheles. He and his family emigrated to the United States in 1910 and settled in San Francisco's South of Market Street neighborhood, then known as "Greektown", when Christopher was two years old. Christopher left school at the age of fourteen when his father James became seriously ill, and he became sole support of his family. He sold newspapers and became a copy boy at the San Francisco Examiner. While working, he also attended night classes at Golden Gate College and earned a bachelor's degree in accounting. After becoming a citizen of the United States in 1930, Christopheles changed his last name to Christopher.

In 1935, he married Tula Sarantitis.


After college, Christopher worked for numerous small firms keeping their accounts and eventually bought out a small dairy on Fillmore Street, which became the Christopher Dairy. Berkeley Farms bought the business in 1970.

San Francisco City Government

Regarded as a moderate Republican, Christopher began his political career in 1945 when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors; on re-election, he became board president. Christopher ran for mayor in 1951 and lost by fewer than 3,000 votes to incumbent mayor Elmer Robinson. In November 1955, Christopher again sought the post of mayor. He won in a landslide over Democrat George Reilly. During his administration, San Francisco hosted the 1956 Republican National Convention at the Cow Palace, in which the party renominated incumbent president Dwight D. Eisenhower as its candidate in the upcoming presidential election. Christopher was re-elected in 1959 for a second term.

Christopher was instrumental in bringing the New York Giants baseball team to San Francisco in 1958 (where they became the San Francisco Giants) and in securing the funding to build Candlestick Park on the abandoned lands of Sunset Scavenger on Candlestick Point; the ballpark opened for the Giants 1960 season. His administration has been credited with the building of the Brooks Hall, twelve new schools, seventeen firehouses, six public swimming pools, the five-story Fifth and Mission and the underground Civic Center garages.

Christopher was known for his strong stand on civil rights. He gained worldwide headlines offering his home to Willie Mays after it was reported that a Forest Hill realtor had refused to sell to Mays. Christopher also lobbied and succeeded in opening mental health and alcohol treatment centers under city funding.

Christopher presided over the redevelopment of major portions of city and private lands, labeled slums, some not without controversy; Embarcadero Center and Golden Gateway, displacing the old wholesale produce market from the filled land southeast of Telegraph Hill to the Alemany location where it remains, Japantown and the Fillmore urban renewal that displaced the African-American and the remnants of the Jewish Community for concrete high rises, the new Hall of Justice and the opening of the Embarcadero Freeway, which blocked the Embarcadero and Ferry Building from the city, spawning the first Freeway Revolt.

Another controversial issue was the loss of the historic Fox Theatre movie palace on Market Street at Polk Street. In early 1963, the owners of the Fox closed the theatre, and offered it for sale to the city of San Francisco for $1,050,000. Mayor Christopher turned this down, and demolition of the Fox proceeded; by August, the theatre was gone. Theatre historians worldwide agree that the San Francisco Fox was one of the most magnificent movie palaces ever constructed. Movie palace fans still mourn the theatre's loss over a half century later, longer than the building actually existed.

In Christopher's second term, the House Subcommittee on Un-American Activities held hearings in the City Hall supervisor's chambers. A large group of students and active citizens were fire-hosed down the marble steps inside City Hall rotunda by the San Francisco Police Department when they protested their exclusion from admission to committee hearings. Christopher later told the Federal Government they were no longer welcome in city buildings, but he sided with the committee and spoke for the propaganda newsreel-style film made by the committee about the event titled, Operation Abolition, that blamed Communists for the so-called City Hall riot of May 13, 1960. Christopher was criticized for endorsing the film while saying that "at least 90% of the students were not organized by the Communists."

Other elections

In 1958, Christopher was defeated in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate by Governor Goodwin Knight. In 1962, when Richard Nixon ran for governor, Christopher ran for lieutenant governor, losing to incumbent Democrat Glenn M. Anderson. He lost the June 8, 1966 Republican primary for Governor of California to former actor and conservative icon Ronald Reagan, who won with 77 percent of the vote. Historian Geoffrey Kabaservice points out that a Drew Pearson column that highlighted a 1940 arrest of Christopher for buying and selling underpriced milk, a story fed to Pearson by the staff of incumbent governor Pat Brown, and Christopher's underwhelming response to that column contributed to the loss.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 08 Dec 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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