Phelan Building

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Phelan Building
Phelan Building in San Francisco.JPG
A view of the Phelan Building from the Central Tower, 2014
Phelan Building is located in San Francisco County
Phelan Building
Location within San Francisco County
Phelan Building is located in California
Phelan Building
Phelan Building (California)
Phelan Building is located in the United States
Phelan Building
Phelan Building (the United States)
General information
TypeCommercial offices
Retail space
Location760 Market Street
San Francisco, California
Coordinates37°47′12″N 122°24′20″W / 37.7865828°N 122.4055023°W / 37.7865828; -122.4055023Coordinates: 37°47′12″N 122°24′20″W / 37.7865828°N 122.4055023°W / 37.7865828; -122.4055023
GroundbreakingOctober 7, 1907
Technical details
Floor count11
Floor area31,000 sq ft (2,900 m2)
Design and construction
ArchitectWilliam Curlett
DeveloperJames D. Phelan
Reference no.156

The Phelan Building is an 11-story office building located at 760 Market Street in the Financial District of San Francisco, California. It has a triangular shape reminiscent of the Flatiron Building in Manhattan, New York City, with its tip at the meeting point of Market Street, O’Farrell Street, and Grant Avenue. It is a San Francisco Designated Landmark.

The building was designed by William Curlett and built in 1908 by James D. Phelan on the place of the first, original Phelan Building, damaged by the 1906 earthquake and fire. It was once home to the George Haas and Sons Candy Store, marketed as the most beautiful candy shop in the country.[3] Their business also operated a tea room on the second floor.[4]

The original Phelan Building[edit]

The first Phelan Building was constructed in 1881 by James Phelan, the father of James D. Phelan. It was a 6-story, bay-windowed, mansard-roofed flatiron.[5] Despite being advertised as “thoroughly fire and earthquake proof”,[6] the building was badly damaged in the 1906 post-earthquake fire, and its ruins were subsequently dynamited on April 20, 1906.[7]

The second Phelan Building[edit]

Work on the new Phelan Building began on October 7, 1907 and was completed on September 1, 1908 for retail stores, and the first day of 1909 for offices.[8] It was one of the earliest office buildings to be rebuilt after the earthquake.

The building's exterior features metal windows and is clad in cream glazed terra-cotta. The original steel structure was designed to accommodate 13 floors; eventually eleven were completed.[9]

At its opening, the building featured an assembly hall on the 11th floor, arcade stores on the second floor, and a basement café.[8]

For many decades, the Phelan Building was a de facto center for jewelry, hosting dozens of jewelers and a jewelry school.[10]

The penthouse[edit]

The penthouse as of April 2014

An unusual feature of the building is a small penthouse. Originally adorned by a rooftop garden, it was used by James D. Phelan to entertain dignitaries. It has later served as a photography studio in the 1960s,[11] and was abandoned some time in the 1980s.

Major tenants[edit]


  1. ^ "City of San Francisco Designated Landmarks". City of San Francisco. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  2. ^ Phelan Building at Emporis
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "The Phelan Building History". Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  6. ^ Phelan Building advertisement, Fraternal Record, July 24, 1886
  7. ^ "1906 Earthquake: Fire Fighting - Presidio of San Francisco (U.S. National Park Service)". Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  8. ^ a b Phelan Building: An Entirely New Modern Class “A” Office Building and a San Francisco Landmark (brochure), 1908
  9. ^ Huge Phelan Building already is a landmark, San Francisco Call, December 29, 1907, p. 40
  10. ^ "The Phelan Building". Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  11. ^ Seidkin, Phyllis (August 25, 1963), High Life at O’Farrell and Market, The San Francisco Examiner, Pictorial Living, p. 10
  12. ^

External links[edit]