National Register #71000186
Jackson Square Historic District
AKA Barbary Coast
Bounded By Broadway, Sansome, Washington and Columbus
Built 1851 and After
Jackson Square contains buildings which are the sole survivors of the early central business district of San
Francisco. They are the only physical reminders of the city's beginnings as a great port and mercantile center.
Jackson Square, hastily developed in Gold Rush days as an extension of the original commercial center at
Portsmouth Plaza, was in fact built on fill, including abandoned ships
[for example Niantic and Apollo] which still underlie some of the buildings.
During the 1850's this newly filled area which directly adjoined the piers to the east was dominated by merchants, banks, professional and government offices,
assembly halls and places of entertainment. The wares sold included books, crockery, glassware, stoves, plumbing materials and the like.
During the 1850's and 1860's, Montgomery Street was the principal thoroughfare of the young city, but only a few buildings in the
700 and 800 blocks survived the fires of the 1850's and after and the major earthquakes that struck the city between 1868 and 1906.
After 1870, as the business district moved south and west, many buildings lost their more distinguished
occupants. From professional and retail, there was a change to manufacturing and wholesaling: liquor and tobacco dealers,
cigar factories, leather works and later printing and paper warehousing.
This trend continued through the early decades of the 1900's. The great depression of the 1930's further weakened both the
industrial and commercial bases of the Jackson Square area and many buildings became vacant.
Starting in the early 1950's, the historical and architectural merit of the area was rediscovered by the growing new wholesale furnishings
and decorators industry. The attention recently lavished on these old structures well illustrates the primary lesson of Jackson Square's history
— its proven adaptability to changing uses without losing its essential historic form.
(Source: adapted from the NRHP Nomination submitted in 1971.)
The Barbary Coast
Another side of this area's history marks San Francisco's legendary appeal to pleasure-seekers as well as goldhunters. For if the
buildings on Montgomery and Jackson Streets are the oldest, those on Pacific Avenue too embody a story, and represent institutions,
equally old and unique in reputation.
From the 1850's on, the area to the south of Telegraph Hill, especially Broadway and Pacific Avenue, had an unsavory
but international reputation, for the harboring, of lawbreakers.
By the 1880's, when the phrase Barbary Coast arose, the foundations had been well set: for half a century lodging houses, saloons,
dance halls, cheap shows and related establishments were to dominate the scene, largely populated by sailors, pimps and prostitutes. Almost wholly destroyed in
the Earthquake and Fire of 1906, the buildings were rebuilt to substantially the same scale, appearance and uses as before.
The Barbary Coast enjoyed its peculiar reputation until the First World War; but police raids, Prohibition and
finally the depression dealt it a series of crushing blows.
The 1939 World's Fair brought a brief revival, when enterprising promoters took advantage of the tourist trade to reopen the
old deadfalls with less dangerous, though perhaps more expensive, night-clubs and saloons, dubbed collectively the
By the early 1950's, the buildings on Pacific Avenue, like those on Jackson, Montgomery and elsewhere in the area, stood largely idle and vacant.
During the revival started then by the decorators and wholesale furnishers, the Barbary Coast benefited equally with
its older and more sober neighbors to the south. There has been a coalescence of two sub-areas different in origin and
development but substantially united in scale, basic character and present use.
(Source: adapted from the NRHP Nomination submitted in 1971.)
Contributing Buildings Sequenced By Address
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Click here for a printer friendly table.
|Building at 56 Gold Street||1906||56 Gold Street||This building and the Moulinie Building directly across Gold Street were acquired by a French sea captain during a voyage to California after the Gold Rush. The two buildings were owned by his family for over a century. The building has been home to Four Monks Winery, a cooperage, a truck storage depot, a gay bar named "Gold Street," and since 1988 the bar and restaurant "Bix." |
(SF Landmark 11)||1870||32 Hotaling Place|
(SF Landmark 27)||1906||400 Jackson Street|
|Regency House / Ghirardelli Annex
(SF Landmark 16)||1860||407 Jackson Street|
(SF Landmark 15)||1853||415 Jackson Street|
(SF Landmark 24)||1906||432 Jackson Street||This 1906 post-Fire building stands on the site of the Tremont Hotel built in 1855, and incorporates portions of that early building. The present building is typical of the architecture of the 1850's.|
|Presidio and Ferries Railroad Car Barn||1891||440 Jackson Street|
|Medico-Dental Building (San Francisco Landmark 14)||1861||441 Jackson Street|
|Hotaling Annex East (San Francisco Landmark 13)||1860||445 Jackson Street|
|Hotaling Building (San Francisco Landmark 12)||1866||451 Jackson Street|
|Moulinie Building (San Francisco Landmark 25)||1852||458-460 Jackson Street|
|Hotaling Annex West (San Francisco Landmark 20)||1860||463-473 Jackson Street|
|Solari Building East / Larco's Building (San Francisco Landmark 22)||1852||470 Jackson Street|
|Solari Building West / Old French Consulate (San Francisco Landmark 23)||1852||472 Jackson Street||Originally occupied by C. Lagauterie, first of many wine and liquor merchants to occupy the building. From 1864-65 to 1876 the building also served as the Consulate of France. It is an interesting example of mid-nineteenth century brick and timber construction and is exceptionally well-preserved in basement and walls, which show the original construction seemingly unaltered.|
|Columbus Savings Bank (San Francisco Landmark 212)||1904||700 Montgomery Street|
|Fugazi Bank Building (San Francisco Landmark 52)||1909||700 Montgomery Street (4 Columbus Avenue)|
|Building at 712-720 Montgomery||1880||712-720 Montgomery Street||This merged structure served as stores, plumber's shop and printing office, and later provided artists' studios during the period when the Montgomery Block flourished. Part of the building was constructed upon timbers from one of the ships abandoned in this area during Gold Rush days when the Bay came up to Montgomery Street. The most likely supposition is that the Georgian, known to lie between Washington and Jackson Streets although generally placed eastward of this location, is the ship in question.|
|Belli Building / Langerman's Building (San Francisco Landmark 9)||1851||722 Montgomery Street|
|Genella Building / Belli Annex (San Francisco Landmark 10)||1854||728 Montgomery|
|Golden Era Building (San Francisco Landmark 19)||1852||732 Montgomery Street|
|Bank of Lucas, Turner and Company (San Francisco Landmark 26)||1854||800 Montgomery Street|
|Old Livery Stable (Four Monks Winery)||1910||814 Montgomery Street|
|Building at 438 Pacific Avenue||1910||438 Pacific Avenue||Originally a Barbary Coast saloon and later a Chinese fortune cookie factory.
|Building at 440 Pacific Avenue||1911||440 Pacific Avenue||Probably built as a house of pleasure, this spacious building became a transient lodging house after the decline of the Barbary Coast. |
|Old Fire House||1908||449 Pacific Avenue||Erected in 1908 to house Engine Company Number One. A previous engine house, completed on the site in 1872, had been completely demolished in the 1906 Fire and Earthquake. Engine Company Number One is the lineal descendant of Empire Engine Company Number One of the old volunteer Fire Department organized in 1850, of which David Broderick, later U. S. Senator, was captain.|
|Kentucky Stables Building||1906||450 Pacific Avenue||Constructed shortly before the 1906 Fire and Earthquake, this building survived that catastrophe with no major damage. Its original and long time function was as a carriage house, livery stables, and associated uses. The upper story was a Chinese cigar factory. The side of the building evidences its previous usage - the windows through which hay and grain for horse feed were transferred being apparent.|
|Barbary Coast Building||1907||470 Pacific Avenue||Built after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, the ground floor housed a saloon, a dance hall and a wine warehouse. The upper floor housed transient lodgings. |
|Little Fox||1907||529 Pacific Avenue||Originally a saloon, dance hall and lodging house. Altered in the 1940's when the old Barbary Coast was revived as the International Settlement. Altered again around 1970 for use as a theatre using many ornate decorative features from the demolished Fox Theatre on Market Street. I vaguely recall a stage production of One Flew Over the Cuckcoo's Nest here with Johnny Weissmuller, Jr., playing the role of Chief Bromden.|
|Old Hippodrome||1907||551 Pacific Avenue||Reconstructed in 1907, following the general outlines of the previous dance hall and saloon, one of the most notorious of the Barbary Coast. Designed to lure sailors and gay blades into the dance hall, it boasted a well-recessed exterior foyer with a continuous facade of double swinging doors leading to the interior. It underwent a revival during the International Settlement days of the 1940's, when restoration was carefully and gaudily carried out.|
|Building at 560 Pacific Avenue||1910||560 Pacific Avenue||This building, which was originally a saloon, has housed a night club, an art gallery, and a space for public assemblies. It once had a stage at the rear.|
|Spider Kelly's||570 Pacific Avenue||Built a pre-Fire structure, this building originally housed two hotels, the Pacific and the Nottingham, then the Seattle Hotel. It also included Spider Kelly's Bar and Dance Hall on the ground floor - one of the infamous sailors' hangouts of the Barbary Coast - when Pacific was known as "Terrific Pacific Street". Like the rest of the street it was forced into decline by the closing of the Barbary Coast about 1917 and Prohibition in 1920. |
|Brighton Express||1907||580 Pacific Avenue||Constructed on a site formerly occupied by Diana's saloon, this small survivor of the Barbary Coast, with its double swinging doors and stained glass windows, has a saloon appearance largely unchanged since the palmy days before Prohibition.|
|Ghirardelli Annex||1867||617 Sansome Street||Built here around 1867 and rebuilt after the 1906 disaster, this building was first the place of business for Sabatie and Maubec, early grocers and wine merchants, and leadres in the French colony. Between 1894 and 1904, it was the retail establishment of Ghirardelli and Company; it later housed industrial firms and lodgings.|
|Burr Building||1859||530 Washington Street||Constructed by E. Willard Burr, financier and Mayor of San Francisco 1856-1859. From 1874 t0 1900, it was the site of an extensive pioneeer effort at promotion of a new California product - the manufacture of champagne. Isadore Landsberger and Arpad Harazsthy, son of Count Harazsthy who had introduced commerial vitivulture to California, in 1866 formed a company to make champagne and deal in local wines. Subsequently, the famed "Eclipse" brand of champagne was made here.|