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Ferry Building

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Ferry Building


Structure in General

high-rise building
existing [completed]
beaux-arts / historism


mercantile office


  • Survived the 1906 earthquake with barely a scratch.
  • Inspired by La Giralda, bell tower of Seville Cathedral.
  • After the 1906 earthquake the clock remained stuck at 5:16 for a year.
  • Designed in late 1892 by A. Page Brown (1859-1896), graduate of Cornell University, not long after moving to San Francisco in 1889.
  • Once the transportation hub of San Francisco where 170 ferry boats a day brought commuters and transcontinental railroad passengers to the foot of Market Street where the city streetcar lines ended.
  • Built as the Union Depot and Ferry House.
  • The clock tower has a steel frame with self-supporting sandstone walls that was strengthened after the 1906 earthquake and reclad in reinforced concrete painted to match the sandstone base.
  • This structure was one of the first steel frame buildings in San Francisco.
  • Edward Swain supervised the completion of the Ferry Building after the architect was killed in an accident in January, 1896.
  • The second and third floors offer over 170,000 square feet of premium office space with dramatic views.
  • The clock, with its four 22-foot diameter clock faces, was officially re-started on June 17, 2003 at 12 noon by Mayor Willie Brown.
  • Designated City Landmark #90 on July 9, 1977.
  • Re-opened March 21, 2003 after US$75,000,000 restoration.
  • The completion of the Bay Bridge (1936) doomed the ferries and as a result the Ferry Building's role.
  • At one time the Ferry Building was one of the most used transportation halls in the world.
  • The Grand Nave of the Ferry Building is 660 feet long, 45 feet wide and fully skylit.
  • Designated as a landmark in 1977 by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

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More Information


31 The Embarcadero
One Ferry Building
San Francisco

Technical Data

245.00 ft

Involved Companies

A. Page Brown

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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
  • City landmark
  • National landmark
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