Four years after California became a state in 1850, the United States Treasury
erected the first branch mint in California to accommodate the gold
flowing in from the Sierra. Although today's waterfront
is more than a half mile east of this location, the mint originally stood only a few
feet from the San Francisco Bay and the Long Wharf.
The prospect from the
intersection of Commercial and Montgomery was a forest of masts rather than today's
bulwark of skyscrapers.
In 1875, the mint was moved to Fifth and Mission Streets
(California Landmark 875) and this
structure was rebuilt as a four-story, brick Subtreasury designed by William Appleton
Potter. The 1906 Earthquake and Fire gutted the building, which was once again
rebuilt, this time as a one-story, brick building.
The surviving structure was incorporated into the highrise Bank of Canton
as the Pacific Heritage Museum with exhibits devoted to the history of the building
and to the arts of Pacific Rim cultures.
To learn more about the colorful life of Count Agoston Haraszthy, the mint's first
assayer and Father of Modern Viticulture in California,
please see California Landmark 392,
Buena Vista Winery and Vineyards.
The structure is also designated as San Francisco Landmark 34.