“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Francisco in San Francisco City and County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

California Electric Building

166-178 Townsend Street


—Percy and Hamilton, Architects, 1888/1906 —

California Electric Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, March 9, 2013
1. California Electric Building Marker
Inscription. A contributory building within the South End Historic District, designated by the City and County of San Francisco in 1990. The warehouse and industrial buildings from the District's period of significance (1867-1935) reflect the City's preeminence during that time as an international port and the center of Pacific Coast commerce. This building served as an electric generating plant through 1895. It survived the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906, and has had a variety of uses since then. The 140 foot octagonal brick smokestack served as a visual landmark of the historic district until 1995 when seismic safety required its removal.
Location. 37° 46.767′ N, 122° 23.534′ W. Marker is in San Francisco, California, in San Francisco City and County. Marker is at the intersection of Townsend and Clarence Place, on the left when traveling east on Townsend. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 178 Townsend Street, San Francisco CA 94107, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Southbeach Shoreline – 1852 (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Garcia and Maggini Warehouse (about 500 feet away); Steamboat Point (about 500 feet away); Jack London
California Electric Building and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, March 9, 2013
2. California Electric Building and Marker
The buiding was built in 1888 to supply electricity (DC current) to the city for arc lighting. A remodeling of the building, completed in 2012, peeled back the roof and added more than 90 loft-style apartments on top of the facility. In between, the building also served as a hay barn, warehouse, and repair shop.
(about 500 feet away); King Street (about 700 feet away); Rammaytush (approx. 0.2 miles away); Chutchui and Sitlintac (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Hawley Terminal Building (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in San Francisco.
More about this marker. The marker is set in brick on the front of the building between the Clarence Street side doorway and the middle doorway.
Also see . . .  A mere veneer of history / There's an art to converting an old building while keeping its soul. John King, Urban Design Critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, discusses why some renovations of historic buildings succeed, while others fail, using the California Electric Building as an example of success in design. (Submitted on March 20, 2013.) 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 245 times since then and 51 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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