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Crystal Palace Public Market was the Big Box Store of its Day

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Welcome to Curbed's ongoing series titled Hidden History, where Curbed highlights a Bay Area location with a secret past. Maybe it's no longer there, maybe it's been converted into something else, but each spot holds a place in Bay Area history - even if not many people know it. Have a suggestion or know a place with a secret history? The tipline's always open or you can leave a comment after the jump.


Crystal Palace Market, 1954 [Photo: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY]
Now home to the Trinity Plaza development project, the lot at 8th and Market once held a baseball stadium, but more more recently was home to the massive shopping bazaar known as the Crystal Palace Market. Opened in 1922, the Crystal Palace was the Target of its day - selling everything from produce to sporting goods, shoe repair to locksmith services - all beneath its glass-latticed dome.

[All photos via SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY]

The 71,000 sq.ft. public market was started by brothers Oliver and Arthur Rosseau. Named for the historic Crystal Palace in London's Hyde Park, the market featured 22 entrances on five different streets with free parking for 4,350 cars and a special Market Street shoppers shuttle. The massive shopping center was steel-frame with a skylight dome.

[All photos via SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY]

At the time, most shopping was done at small independent shops, so a huge central market was a groundbreaking idea - hard to imagine in today's Big Box world. It's location at 8th and Market was far from the traditional shopping center downtown, hence the thousands of parking spots. The store was popular for decades, until post-WWII saw the move of many families to the suburbs. The market struggled, and eventually closed in 1959. It was demolished to make way for the Del Webb Towne House motel, later converted to the Trinity Place apartments. Today construction is underway on the new 1,900-unit Trinity Place apartment project.

· Crystal Palace Market [Found SF]
· Crystal Palace Market, San Francisco, CA [Pacific Coast Architecture Database]
· Previous Coverage of Trinity Place [Curbed SF]

Trinity Place

1188 Mission St, San Francisco, CA