San Francisco Landmarks
Independent Wood Company, a two-story 1907 brick building, stands at the base of a six-story brick structure built in 1982 for Levi Strauss & Co. The newer building was designed by Hellmuth, Obata & Kassalbaum as a visual transition between the 19th Century brick warehouses of the old San Francisco waterfront at the base of Telegraph Hill and the 20th Century moderne residences on the steep hillside. (See California Landmark 941 for a photograph of some Telegraph Hill residences, and see San Francisco Landmarks 91 and 92 for photographs of other brick warehouses in the vicinity.)
The old San Francisco waterfront was lined with many buildings like the Independent Wood Company which had commercial ground floors and one floor above for lodging seamen.
A witty, hand-painted sign used to remind passersby of Independent Wood's history. A square-rigger sailed down a flooded Battery Street directly in front of the building. The Transamerica Pyramid loomed anachronistically like a feature of the natural landscape, San Francisco's Half Dome or El Capitan. Fog - or smoke - billowed ominously. But, alas, the sign is gone.