San Francisco Landmarks

San Francisco Landmark #141: Home Telephone Company 20 February 2012
San Francisco Landmark #141
Home Telephone Company
333 Grant Avenue Between Sutter and Bush
Built 1908

The Home Telephone Company building, designed by Coxhead & Coxhead in the Mannerist style, epitomizes a manipulation of classical vocabulary which is uniquely San Franciscan. The intricate complexities resulting from the exaggerated, overscaled use of the classical orders juxtaposed against traditionally scaled elements results in an extraordinary and highly successful design.

The tripartite composition reflects the various functions of this utility headquarters: the ground floor contained a public lobby (likened to a banking hall} with phone booths for the convenience of subscribers, floors 2 and 3 were occupied by administrative offices, and citywide phone service was provided by the operating exchange on floors 4-7.

Just as the architectural ornamentation is used in an eccentric manner, the history of the building is somewhat risque. Home Telephone Company figured prominently in the Abe "Boss" Ruef scandal which rocked City Hall in 1908.

This building is also remarkable as a pioneer installation of the telephone exchange system.

Source: Planning Commission Resolution No. 9111 dated 21 August 1981.

The building was converted to condominiums in the 1990s.

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