San Francisco Landmarks

San Francisco Landmark #212: Columbus Savings Bank 19 October 2002
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San Francisco Landmark #212
Columbus Savings Bank
700 Montgomery Street At Washington
Built 1904

This Classical Revival building was designed by Meyer and O'Brien and built of Colusa sandstone in 1904-1905. It is the oldest of four buildings that represent the beginning of Italian banking in San Francisco. The others are the Italian-American Bank, the Bank of Italy, and the Italian Popular Bank.

Prior to 1893, Italians in San Francisco generally avoided banks or deposited their savings in a French bank located close to North Beach. Italians seeking loans had even fewer options. The Italian newspaper L'Italia noted in 1893: American banks seem to have serious misgivings about the reliability of Italians in financial matters. Italians were also reluctant to join forces because they avoided Italians from regions other than their own. The establishment of four Italian-owned banks during the period 1893-1906 did much to change this state of affairs.

The Columbus Savings and Loan Society remained at 700 Montgomery Street until 1923, when it merged with Sbarboro's Italian-American Bank. This, in turn, merged with Giannini's Bank of Italy in 1927, whereupon 700 Montgomery became, for two years, the Columbus Branch of the Bank of Italy.

Occupants of the building over the subsequent decade are unknown. From 1939 to 1953 the ground floor was occupied by the Pisani Printing and Publishing Company. The upper floor was occupied by a variety of attorneys, importers, and organizations, including the Italian consulate (1948-1951) and the Indonesian consulate (1954-1956}.

The Law Offices of Mayor Joseph L. Alioto and Angela Alioto are currently located in the building.

Adapted from City Planning Commission Resolution 15089 dated June 1, 2000.

The Columbus Savings Bank Building is in the Jackson Square Historic District.

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