Thomas Starr King Sarcophagus, Frankin and Geary
Located at the busy intersection of Franklin and Geary is the sarcophagus of Thomas Starr King, "the orator who saved the nation" and one of California's most charismatic men. King, a young, inexperienced Unitarian minister, came to San Francisco in 1860 when the state was undergoing an intense political struggle to determine which side of the Civil War it would follow. In public speeches, up and down the state, King rallied against slavery and secession. Through his eloquence and the sheer strength of personality he is credited with shifting the balance and making California a Unionist state. In his oratories King prodded Abraham Lincoln to issue an emancipation proclamation well before it was actually enacted.

During the Civil War, King turned his energy to raising funds for the United States Sanitary Commission, which cared for wounded soldiers and was the predecessor to the American Red Cross. King personally raised over $1.5 million, one-fifth of the total contributions from all the states in the Union. Exhausted from his campaigning Thomas Starr King died in 1864 of pneumonia and diphtheria. He never lived to see the end of the war or the Union re-established. Today Union Square is still named for the pro-Union, abolitionist speeches that he delivered on that site.
[ MAP G-12 ]