San Francisco Landmarks
The San Francisco Mining Exchange, the second oldest exchange in the United States after the New York Stock Exchange, was formed in 1862 to trade mining stocks.
In the 1880's, trading in mining stocks declined, but when trading surged in the early 1920s, the Mining Exchange hired the firm of Miller & Pflueger to design this Beaux Arts temple of commerce which closely resembles the New York Stock Exchange constructed twenty years earlier.
The building was a trading hall for mining commodities for only five years; the Mining Exchange relocated in 1928.
Subsequently the building was occupied by the San Francisco Curb Exchange (1928-1938), the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce (1938-1967), and Western Title Insurance (1967-1979).
The building has been vacant since 1979.
The following is adapted from the San Francisco City Planning Commission Resolution No. 8578 dated 1 May 1980:
This building is the last visible remnant of the San Francisco Mining Exchange which dissolved in 1967. The exchange was instrumental in making San Francisco the financial center of the West, and its capital was used to develop the mines and other industries of the entire western United States. Names associated with the Exchange include Coit, Sharon, Ralston, Mills, Hearst, Flood, Sutro, Hopkins and many more whose fortunes were founded or greatly augmented on the Exchange.
With the discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1859, the need for a central market for trading in mining stocks became apparent. In 1862, the San Francisco Stock and Exchange Board was organized, housed first in the Montgomery Block, then in the Merchant's Exchange.
By the middle of the 1870's, the Exchange dominated the Western financial world, with capital from the East Coast and Europe pushing its volume of sales over that of the New York Stock Exchange, helping to establish the California-Montgomery Street area as "Wall Street West".
By the early 1880's, the Comstock began its permanent decline, and the Exchange's specialization in mining stocks proved disastrous. In 1882, the rival San Francisco Stock and Bond Exchange, dealing in a wide range of commodities, was formed and prospered.
The silver discoveries in Tonopah, Nevada, in 1903 gave the Exchange new life, and in the 1920's it commissioned Miller and Pflueger to design a grand Beaux Arts trading hall at 350 Bush Street.
In 1929, the Exchange, hard hit by the Crash, entered its final decline, with a brief revival during the uranium boom of the 1950's. An investigation of irregularities in its operation by the Securities and Exchange Commission resulted in an order to close, and on August 15, 1967, after almost 105 years of existence, the Mining Exchange came to an end.