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San Francisco Landmark #237: Colombo Building 25 August 2007
(Click Photo to Zoom)
San Francisco Landmark #237
Colombo Building
AKA Drexler Building
1-21 Columbus Ave. and 612-624 Washington
Built 1912

The Colombo Building is in the Jackson Square Historic District. It stands at the intersection of Columbus, Montgomery, and Washington Streets facing two other San Francisco landmarks, the Fugazi Bank Building and the Columbus Savings Bank. The Montgomery Block, California Landmark 80, also stood at this intersection, but it was demolished and replaced by the Transamerica Pyramid. The midrise building in the background of the photograph stands on the site of the historic International Hotel, also demolished.

The Colombo Building occupies the gore corner opposite the landmark old Transamerica Building and the new Transamerica Pyramid. The two old buildings together are the gateway to Columbus Avenue and North Beach.

A very pleasing design itself, the Classical Revival building built of reinforced concrete, takes on added significance from its architects, the Reid Brothers, who designed the California Pacific Building, the Call Building, and the Fairmont Hotel.

For the Colombo Building owner, Mrs. Elise Drexler, they also designed the Garfield Building at 938-940 Market Street. The Reid Brothers were among San Francisco's best architects, and the Colombo Building is the only structure in North Beach known to be totally designed by an architectural firm of that stature.

Early occupants of the building included E. Jacopelli and Sons, auto dealers; Italian-American Realty; Caeser Podoni & Co., insurance; and Joe Valvo, barber. The building reflected the settlement of North Beach as a predominantly Italian neighborhood.

Extracted from San Francisco Planning Commission Resolution 16363 dated 21 March 2002

The Colombo Building is also National Register Listing #07001469.

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