clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Then & Now: Hallidie Building

Public spaces change fast here in San Francisco, and for better or worse, it can be pretty crazy when you see what the City used to look like. Every week, we'll bring you Then & Now, a comparison of historic photos of the Bay Area with current views from the same perspective. Have a suggestion for a photo comparison that looks totally different (or shockingly the same)? Drop us a tip in the Curbed Inbox or leave a comment after the jump.

Quick note: See that vertical green bar in the middle of the then and now photos? You can move it horizontally to see the photos side by side.

[Then photo: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY/ Now photo: Alex Bevk] The Hallidie Building at 150 Sutter, designed by Willis Polk in 1917, was the first use of glass curtain wall construction in America (that's when the glass wall is hung beyond the actual structure of the building). Even though it would become synonymous with super Modern minimalist design, the curtain wall on the Halladie Building was jazzed up with a Gothic cornice and Art Nouveau fire escapes and railings. The building was built as an investment property by the UC Regents (originally the ironwork was painted in the university colors of blue and gold), and named for regent Andrew Hallidie, the inventor of the cable car.

The first tenant in the building was old school clothiers Robert Atkins, who merged with Roos Brothers in 1957. Roos-Atkins existed as a chain of high-end men's clothing stores and expanded to include locations throughout Northern California, but by the early 1990s all locations had been closed or sold.

In 1993 the building was converted to offices, and in 2011 a massive restoration effort began. Flaws in the design allowed rainwater to collect and corrode the ornamental metal on the exterior, so crews are still working to restore the local landmark to its former glory.

[Photo via Jim Malone]

· San Francisco Landmark #37 [SF Planning]
· FiDi's Hallidie Building Upgrades Get Approved [Curbed SF]

The Hallidie Building

130 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA