On June 15, 2011, the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) adopted its Landmark Designation Work Program. Since then, the Landmark Designation Work Program has grown to include 56 individual properties and six historic districts that are currently under consideration for landmark designation. As staff to the Historic Preservation Commission, the Planning Department is conducting additional research, documentation, and public outreach related to these proposed designations.
Landmarks and Landmark Districts are unique and irreplaceable assets to the city and its neighborhoods and provide examples of the physical surroundings in which past generations lived. The intent of Landmark designation is to protect, preserve, enhance and encourage continued utilization, rehabilitation and, where necessary, adaptive use of significant cultural resources.
To be recommended by the Historic Preservation Commission for landmark designation, buildings, districts, places, structures, or objects must demonstrate value as an example of city, state or national heritage such as: a site of a significant historic event, identification with a significant person, exemplary architecture, work of master architect or designer, representation of a significant theme, and a unique or distinctive visual feature. Included on the current Work Program are properties that address underrepresented Landmark property types including landscapes, buildings of Modern design, buildings located in geographically underrepresented areas, and properties with strong cultural or ethnic associations.
Formal initiation of properties on the Work Program will be considered at future public hearings after the additional research and public outreach has been completed. The landmark designation process includes a series of public hearings at the Historic Preservation Commission, the Planning Commission, and the Board of Supervisors – public comment opportunities are available at all hearings. Final approval of a Landmark or Landmark District requires a majority vote at the Board of Supervisors.
To learn more about existing or proposed Landmarks or Landmark Districts, contact Time Frye, Historic Preservation Officer at (415) 575-6822 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Proposed Landmark Districts
- Woodward Street Landmark District
- Rousseaus' Boulevard Tract Landmark District
- South End Extension Landmark District
- Haight-Ashbury Landmark District
- Golden Gate Park Landmark District
- 6th Street Lodging House Landmark District
Proposed Individual Landmarks
Cowell House, 171 San Marcos Avenue
Built in 1933, the Cowell House is the first known Modern residential building in San Francisco. It was designed by the architects Morrow (Irving) & Morrow (Gertrude), the designers of the Golden Gate Bridge. It reflects an early fusion of International Style, Streamline Moderne, and Second Bay Tradition. It was commissioned by Olive Thompson Cowell, founder of the International Relations Department at San Francisco State University. Henry Cowell, Olive's step-son and an innovative "ultra-modern" composer and pianist, played many concerts in the living room of the Cowell House.
At the July 15, 2015 hearing, the Historic Preservation Commission initiated designation of 171 San Marcos Avenue, the Cowell House as an individual landmark. The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the landmark designation on April 12, 2016. Click here to read more about San Francisco's 270th landmark: Cowell House Landmark Designation Report.
Sam Jordan's Bar, 4004 Third Street
Sam Jordan's Bar is significant due to its association with the late Sam Jordan, a prominent African American community leader, Golden Gloves champion, pioneering African American business owner along the Third Street corridor in the Bayview District, and the first African American candidate for Mayor of San Francisco (1963). In 1959, Mr. Jordan opened Sam Jordan's Bar in a c.1880's building that was originally constructed adjacent to the corrals, slaughterhouses, and tanneries associated with "Butchertown."
The bar is still in operation and is one of the oldest continuously operating African American businesses along the Third Street corridor. Sam Jordan's Bar was known as an organizing space and catalyst for community-based initiatives and was part of network of African American bars and restaurants that served dual roles as neighborhood-serving charitable and social organizations.
At the June 20, 2012 hearing, the Historic Preservation Commission initiated designation of 4004-4006 Third Street, Sam Jordan's Bar, as an individual landmark. The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the landmark designation in January 2013. Click here to read more about San Francisco's 263rd landmark: Sam Jordan's Bar Landmark Designation Report.
Russell House, 3778 Washington Street
Built in 1950, 3778 Washington Street is one of only two buildings in San Francisco designed by internally renowned master architect Erich Mendelsohn. It retains high integrity and reflects the influence of International Style and the Second Bay Tradition. It is one of Mendelsohn's final designs.
Sailors' Union of the Pacific, 434-450 Harrison Street
Built in 1950, the Sailors' Union of the Pacific Building was designed as the headquarters for the Sailors Union of the Pacific, as a center of community life, and as a monument to sailors. No other structure in San Francisco so effectively represents the status of seafaring and waterfront labor than the Sailors Union building. The building is significant due to its striking Moderne style and its cultural association with San Francisco's labor movement.
Congregation Emanu-El School Buildings
Two of the former school buildings associated with Congregation Emanu-El are under consideration for Landmark designation. The original school building at 1337 Sutter Street was constructed in 1910, while the adjacent school annex at 1335 Sutter Street was built in 1918. The annex later housed the Grabhorn Press, a significant printing house. Both buildings are significant for exceptional architecture and for strong cultural associations.
Sunshine School, 2728 Bryant Street
Built in 1937 as a Works Progress Administration project (WPA), the Sunshine School was originally constructed as a school for disabled children. It was designed by architects Martin Rist, Charles F. Strothoff, Smith O'Brien, and Albert Schroepfer in a Moorish-Byzantine inspired style. The school is significant for its architecture, its association with the WPA, and its association with Franklin Delano Roosevelt's schools for disabled children.
Samuel Gompers Trade School, 106 Bartlett Street
Built in 1937 as a Works Progress Administration project, the Samuel Gompers Trade School was designed in the Streamline Moderne style by architects Masten & Hurd. Influenced by the International Style, the school features striking glass brick-clad stairwell towers. It is currently part of the recently constructed City College Mission Campus complex.
2 Clarendon Avenue
Built in 1956, 2 Clarendon Avenue is a rare example of a single-family residential building designed by the local firm Anshen + Allen. The building, located in the Twin Peaks area, is an excellent and unique example of Modern residential design.
Doelger Homes Sales Office
Built in 1933 and added to in 1940, 320-326 Judah Street in the Sunset District is the former real estate sales office for residential tract developer Henry Doelger. The building's muscular and eye-catching Streamline Moderne design was an effective marketing tool in promoting Doelger's nearby tract developments.
At the September 19, 2012 hearing, the Historic Preservation Commission initiated designation of the Doelger Building, 320-326 Judah Street, as an individual landmark. The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the landmark designation in April 2013. Click here to read more about San Francisco's 265th landmark: Doelger Building Landmark Designation Report.
3655 Clay Street
Built in 1941, 3655 Clay Street is an early Second Bay Tradition design by William Wurster, a pioneer of the San Francisco Bay Area's regional Modernism. Its small-scale, rustic cladding, and minimalist detailing are hallmarks of Wurster's unpretentious Modern aesthetic.
Swedish American Hall, 2168 Market Street
Built in 1907, the Swedish American Hall was designed by master architect August Nordin. It continues to serve as a cultural center for the Swedish American community and is significant for its cultural history and chalet-inspired architectural design.
At its November 19, 2014 hearing, the Historic Preservation Commission initiated designation the Swedish American Hall as an individual landmark. The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the landmark designation on April 28, 2015. Click here to read more about San Francisco's 267th landmark: Swedish American Hall Landmark Designation Report.
Twin Peaks Tavern, 401 Castro Street
The Twin Peaks Tavern located at 401 Castro Street is associated with LGBT history. It is known as the first gay bar in San Francisco (opened in 1972) to feature large expanses of glass, which revealed rather than obscured the view of bar patrons. Housed in a remodeled turn-of-the-century building in the heart of the Castro, the bar retains its expansive windows and continues to serve the LGBT community.
At the September 19, 2012 hearing, the Historic Preservation Commission initiated designation of 401 Castro Street, Twin Peaks Tavern, as an individual landmark. The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the landmark designation in January 2013. Click here to read more about San Francisco's 264th landmark: Twin Peaks Tavern Landmark Designation Report.
New Era Hall, 2117 Market Street
Built in 1905, the New Era Hall served as a rental hall for fraternal organizations lacking their own meeting spaces. It was designed by master architect August Nordin and is an excellent example of a turn-of-the-century mixed-use building.
2173 15th Street
Built circa 1875, this Gothic-inspired single-family residential building is one of the earliest buildings constructed in the Market and Octavia area.
Marcus Books / Jimbo's Bop City, 1712-1716 Fillmore Street
Built in the 1880s, 1712-1716 Fillmore Street is significant for its association with Jimbo's Bop City – a legendary jazz club in the Fillmore District (1950-1965) – and Marcus Books, the oldest independent African American bookstore in the country. It represents a tangible connection to the post-war African American experience in the Fillmore, the black intellectualism associated with Marcus Books and the shifts in geography and demographics associated with redevelopment in the Western Addition.
At the September 18, 2013 hearing, the Historic Preservation Commission initiated designation of 1712-1716 Fillmore Street, Marcus Books/Jimbo's Bop City, as an individual landmark. The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the landmark designation on February 3, 2014. Click here to read more about San Francisco's 266th landmark: Marcus Books / Jimbo's Bop City Landmark Designation Report
Mothers Building and Fleishhacker Pool Bath House Building
Two buildings located in the San Francisco Zoo are proposed for Landmark Designation: the Mothers Building and the Fleishhacker Pool Bath House.
Each building was constructed in the 1920s adjacent to the Fleishhacker Pool, an enormous outdoor salt water swimming pool (filled in the 1970s) located in what is now the San Francisco Zoo.Update:
The Fleishhacker Pool Building was badly damaged in a fire on December 3, 2012. The building was identified as a life/safety hazard and demolished soon thereafter. It received HABS documentation prior to demolition.
Planters Hotel, 606 Folsom Street
The Planters Hotel was designed by Salfield and Kohlberg and constructed in 1906. The building is a rare example of commercial and hotel architecture in the South of Market district built immediately after the 1906 Earthquake and Fires. Its wood frame construction, and wood cladding, is also rare as such construction was disallowed in the aftermath of the fires.
Phillips & Van Orden Building, 234 First Street
Built in 1930, the Phillips & Van Orden Building was designed in the Art Deco style by architects Henry H. Meyers and George R. Klinkhardt. The building is significant for its architecture and for its association with the Phillips & Van Orden Company, an important publisher and printer in San Francisco, itself the most important publishing center in the West, which occupied the building from 1930 to 1947.
Bourdette Building, 90-92 Second Street
Built in 1903-1904, the Bourdette Building is a remarkable survivor of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. Among the more than 28,000 buildings that were destroyed during the disaster, it is the only building located within the burned districts to survive intact with no one inside or outside the building fighting to save it from the flames.
At the July 1, 2015 hearing, the Historic Preservation Commission initiated designation of 90-92 Second Street, the Bourdette Building, as an individual landmark. The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the landmark designation on May 10, 2016. Click here to read more about San Francisco's 271st landmark: Bourdette Building Landmark Designation Report.
Marine Firemen's Union Headquarters, 240 Second Street
Built in 1957, the Marine Firemen's Union Headquarters (Pacific Coast Marine Firemen, Oilers, Watertenders and Wipers Association) was designed in the Late Moderne style and includes significant interior and exterior murals. The building continues to serve as the administrative headquarters and hiring hall for the Marine Firemen's Union, which was founded in 1883 and reorganized in 1907, and is one of the oldest and most important maritime unions based in San Francisco.
Peace Pagoda and Plaza, Japantown
The Peace Pagoda and Plaza are iconic features of the Japantown neighborhood. Designed by Osaka architecture professor, Dr. Yoshiro Taniguchi, the Peace Pagoda was completed in 1968 as a gift to San Francisco from the people of the city of Osaka, Japan. As with the rest of the Japan Center, the architecture of the Pagoda is influenced by traditional Japanese designs interpreted in contemporary forms and materials. To learn more about this unique structure, click here.
Japantown YWCA/ Nihonmachi Little Friends, 1830 Sutter Street
The Japantown YWCA exemplifies the efforts of Japanese Americans to address social needs in their community. Barred by segregationist policies from using other YWCA facilities, the Japantown YWCA appears to be the only structure purpose-built by and for Issei women in the United States. It was designed by the renowned architect, Julia Morgan, and completed in 1932.
Kinmon Gakuen, 2031 Bush Street
Kinmon Gakuen (Golden Gate Institute) was created in 1911 by the Japantown community so that their children could study culturally relevant subjects, as well as the Japanese language. The current facility was completed in 1926, and during World War II was used as a processing center for Japanese Americans being sent to internment camps.
Alemany Emergency Hospital and Health Center, 35-45 Onondaga Avenue
The Alemany Emergency Hospital and Health Center were designed by City Architect, Charles H. Sawyer, and constructed in 1933. In addition to providing vital public health services for the Excelsior district, the Health Center contains two frescoes which were funded by the State Emergency Relief Administration and designed by the prominent artist, Bernard Zakheim.
At the February 17, 2016 hearing, the Historic Preservation Commission initiated designation of 35-45 Onondaga Avenue, the Alemany Emergency Hospital and Health Center, as an individual landmark. The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the landmark designation on June 7, 2016. Click here to read more about San Francisco's 272nd landmark: 35-45 Onondaga Avenue Landmark Designation Report
University Mound Old Ladies' Home, 350 University Street
With its front door accentuated by a broken pediment, recessed tetrastyle portico supported by tall slender columns, numerous fanlights and multi‐pane windows, and symmetrically composed façade, the University Mound Old Ladies' Home illustrates the distinctive characteristics of the Colonial Revival style that was popular following the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg in the late 1920s. Constructed in 1931‐1932, the building represents the work of two master architects, Martin J. Rist and Alfred I. Coffey, both separately and in partnership were well known for their designs of institutional buildings, such as schools and hospitals.
The University Mound Old Ladies' Home was founded in 1884 with a $100,000 bequest from James Lick, one of the wealthiest men in California at that time. It originally sat on 25 acres of land which was farmed to provide food for the elderly women of modest means who lived there. The University Mound Old Ladies' Home was in operation for 130 years until 2014 when it was sold to a new nursing home provider.
At the May 20, 2015 hearing, the Historic Preservation Commission initiated designation of 350 University Street, University Mound Old Ladies' Home as an individual landmark. The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the landmark designation in November 2015. Click here to read more about San Francisco's 269th landmark: University Mound Old Ladies' Home Landmark Designation Report.
V. C. Morris Gift Shop, 140 Maiden Lane
Frank Lloyd Wright's 140 Maiden Lane was designated as Landmark No. 72 in 1975. At that time, only the exterior features of the building were designated. In November 2016 the landmark designation was amended to include the double-height, mezzanine-ringed, top-lit circular interior space. Frank Lloyd Wright is by far the most well-know and influential American architect. Although Wright produced several designs for other buildings in San Francisco, the V. C. Morris Gift Shop is the only one that was realized. The V. C. Morris Gift Shop is significant as a rare extant Modern building designed by the master architect.
At the July 1, 2016 hearing, the Historic Preservation Commission initiated designation amendment. The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the landmark designation amendment on November 15, 2016. Click here to read more about the amended designation of San Francisco's 272nd landmark: V. C. Morris Gift Shop Landmark Designation Report.
Ingleside Presbyterian Church and the Great Cloud of Witnesses, 1345 Ocean Avenue
With its tripartite composition, symmetrically composed façade, dentiled cornice, and centrally located, full-height portico capped with a pediment and supported by Ionic columns and pilasters, the Ingleside Presbyterian Church illustrates the distinctive characteristics of the Neoclassical style as designed by master Architect Joseph Leonard. The interior of the church houses a collage-mural entitled The Great Cloud of Witnesses,
which consists of newspaper and magazine clippings, posters, framed prints, and painted murals that have been pasted to the walls of all three levels. What began as Reverend Gordon's simple mission to provide images of role models to the community's youth has resulted in an awe-inspiring Folk Artist Environment that greatly contributes to the body of American and African American Folk Art and serves as an extraordinary, unparalleled visual documentation of national and San-Francisco-specific African American history.
Work Program Outreach
The Department notified owners of all properties under consideration for inclusion on the Work Program of the June 15, 2011 HPC hearing. In addition, the Department notified residential tenants of buildings located within the proposed Duboce Park Landmark Historic District and commercial tenants of all mixed-use and commercial properties. The Department also conducted door-to-door outreach to the commercial tenants of the eight buildings that comprise the proposed discontiguous Market Street Masonry Landmark District. Mailings and door-to-door-outreach included the following materials:
- Notice of Public Hearing
- Landmark Designation FAQ
- Existing Landmark Districts brochure
- Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR)-523B form for each individual commercial building (when applicable)
Additional notifications were mailed to the Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission, city agencies, neighborhood groups and individuals on the neighborhood 311 notification lists, and the preservation community notification list.
Planning Department staff is currently tasked with conducting the required additional research, documentation, and public outreach related to the proposed Landmark designations.
This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Department of the Interior.