National Register of Historic Places in San Francisco

National Register #79000537: Rincon Annex Post Office Spear Street Façade

Rincon Annex Post Office Panel 4: Conquistadores Discover the Pacific Panel 4: Conquistadores Discover the Pacific

Rincon Annex Post Office Panel 8: Hardships of the Emigrant Trail Panel 8: Hardships of the Emigrant Trail

Rincon Annex Post Office Panel 10: Raising the Bear Flag Panel 10: Raising the Bear Flag

Rincon Annex Post Office Panel 12: Miners Panning Gold Panel 12: Miners Panning Gold

All Photos 10 January 2020
(Click Photos to Zoom)
National Register #79000537
Rincon Annex Post Office
101-199 Mission Street
Bounded by Mission, Spear, Howard, Steuart
Built 1940

The Rincon Annex to the United States Post Office was designed by Gilbert S. Underwood in the Streamline Moderne style and sponsored by the New Deal Work Projects Administration.

From 1941 to 1948, painter Anton Refregier decorated the lobby with twenty-seven murals depicting the history of California. Refregier, an immigrant from Russia, was influenced by the social realism of Diego Rivera. Like Rivera, he was suspected of being a Communist Party fellow traveler.

Refregier chose to depict the hardships and struggles of the early settlers realistically rather than romantically, a deviation from the accepted view of history that led to much dispute.

The series consists of the following twenty-seven panels:

  1. A California Indian Creates
  2. Indians by the Golden Gate
  3. Sir Francis Drake
  4. Conquistadores Discover the Pacific
  5. Monks Building the Missions
  6. Preaching and Farming at Mission Dolores
  7. Fort Ross-Russian Trade Post
  8. Hardships of the Emigrant Trail
  9. An Early Newspaper Office
  10. Raising the Bear Flag
  11. Finding Gold at Sutter's Mill
  12. Miners Panning Gold
  13. Arrival by Ship
  14. Torchlight Parade
  15. Pioneers Receiving Mail
  16. Building the Railroad
  17. Vigilante Days
  18. Civil War Issues
  19. The Sand Lot Riots of 1870
  20. San Francisco as a Cultural Center
  21. Earthquake and Fire of 1906
  22. Reconstruction After the Fire
  23. The Mooney Case
  24. The Waterfront-1934
  25. Building the Golden Gate Bridge
  26. Shipyards During the War
  27. War and Peace

The National Register listing resulted largely from the significance of these murals. In fact, the National Park Service waived the Fifty-Year Rule.

Source: Adapted from the NRHP nomination submitted in 1979.

The United States Postal Service retired Rincon Annex in 1985 and leased it to private developers. Along with two new buildings, it was incorporated into Rincon Center, a full city block of apartments, stores, offices, and restaurants.

The Rincon Annex Post Office is also San Francisco Landmark 107.

National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933

President Franklin Roosevelt came into office during the worst depression the nation had ever known. Fulfilling a campaign promise to put people to work, he instituted the New Deal to bring economic recovery to the depression-wrought country.

The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) of 1933 authorized the Public Works Administration (PWA) to provide jobs, stimulate business activity, and increase purchasing power through the construction of permanent and socially useful public works. The Federal Government and local city, county and state governments formed a working partnership resulting in the greatest single construction program in history.

PWA construction projects, in addition to providing employment for the skilled, generated a volume of jobs for the unskilled. The PWA provided loans and grants up to forty percent of the total cost of the project to states, and many other public bodies, including schools.

From 1933-1935, the PWA underwrote projects in 3,040 of the 3,073 counties in all forty-eight states. Of the 3.76 billion dollars of the NIRA fund, 2.56 billion dollars was spent on 19,004 construction projects.

Narrative adapted in part from the NRHP nomination for Tulare Union High School Auditorium and Administration Building dated 16 November 1999.

Many buildings funded by the PWA have been recognized for their historic significance and architectural excellence. Among them are:


Adobe Chapel of the Immaculate Conception in San Diego
Aquatic Park in San Francisco
Beach Chalet Murals in San Francisco
Big Basin Redwood State Park Headquarters Building
Big Creek Bridge in Big Sur
Feather River Scenic Byway Tunnels

Federal Building in Merced
Federal Writers and Artists Projects in San Francisco
Gasquet Ranger Station
Mariposa County High School Auditorium
McClatchy Senior High School in Sacramento
Monterey County Courthouse in Salinas

Mountain View Adobe
Police Headquarters, Jail & Courts in San Diego
Rincon Annex Post Office in San Francisco
Sacramento Junior College
San Francisco State Teachers College
Sitka Main Post Office and Court House in Alaska

Sonora Youth Center
Stanislaus Forest Experiment Station
The Fort in Taft
Theodore Judah School in Sacramento
Tulare Union High School


Carson City Civic Auditorium
Hoover Dam
Southside School in Reno
Tonopah Main Post Office
USO Building in Hawthorne
Yerington Main Post Office

New Mexico

National Park Service Southwest Regional Office in Santa Fe
New Mexico School for the Deaf Building 2 in Santa Fe
New Mexico School for the Deaf Hospital in Santa Fe
New Mexico Supreme Court in Santa Fe


Butte Falls Ranger Station in Butte Falls
Dead Indian Soda Springs Shelter in Rogue River National Forest
Fish Lake Shelter in Rogue River National Forest
Gold Beach Ranger Station
Lake of the Woods Ranger Station in Fremont-Winema National Forest
Lithia Park in Ashland

McKee Bridge Campground in Rogue River National Forest
Wrangle Gap Shelter in Rogue River National Forest

Bryce Canyon Airport
Dalton Wells Civilian Conservation Corps
Minersville City Hall
Rock House in Arches National Park

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