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The Heineman Building, 130 Bush Street, San Francisco

The Heineman Building, 130 Bush Street, San Francisco
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From Curbed SF

While San Francisco has its fair share of iconic buildings—Transamerica Pyramid and Triple 5 are synonymous with the city—one high-rise has garnered a rabid and well-deserved cult following. That building is 130 Bush, the super-slender structure in the Financial District.

It’s easy to miss this downtown gem. Blocked from a clear view on Market Street by 1 Bush, a spectacular midcentury behemoth, passersby must veer up the start of Bush Street in order to see and appreciate it in all its trim glory.

Christened the Heineman building, 130 Bush began as a necktie, belt, and suspender factory. In fact, it was one of the first buildings in the area, opening in 1910, four years after the 1906 earthquake.

G.A. Applegath, a noted local architect, was commissioned by H.M. Heineman to create the factory in a space not much larger than an average house lot. The site measures a petite 20 feet by 80 feet deep. Applegath managed to build a 10-story factory in the slim space—and a gorgeous one at that.

Its appeal is highlighted by the eye-catching embossed line it creates between the Art Deco Shell building to the east and the brick Adam Grant building to the west.

“Building is much like toothpick,” read the headline of a 1909 issue of San Francisco Call.

L.G. Segedin’s 1996 book 130 Bush Street: An Illustrated Story About Four Buildings & a Monument in San Francisco (egregiously out of print, but available on Amazon), provides a rich history of the svelte structure:

The tall slender building was designed with a Gothic facade and faced with glazed terra cotta tiles. Each story was accentuated with hammered copper panels. Bowed windows with prisms directed the sunlight into the narrow spaces. The ten stories were equipped with over 100 interior ceiling light fixtures hung in oral reflectors. It was the brightest, busiest building in the neighborhood of garment manufactures and wholesalers.

During that time, horse-drawn wagons and motor trucks congested the street throughout the day hauling items such as lace, ribbons, velvets, silks, flannels, cottons, linens, underwear, and hosiery to the factory.

As the city grew, and the demand for office space increased in the downtown area, manufacturers moved to less populated parts of the city, like South of Market and Dogpatch. Almost 20 years after its birth, 130 Bush stopped manufacturing and was turned into office space.

During that time, two taller and brawnier buildings rose up next to the lanky structure—the zaftig, 14-story Adam Grant Building and the Gothic 28-story Shell Building:

With giants on both side, 130 Bush Street stood out more than ever. The bowed windows of the narrow building appeared to result from being squeezed by its neighbors.

The Iron Duke restaurant opened at 130 Bush in 1956. It featured a kitchen in the basement, an informal dining space at street level, and a formal dining room on the second floor.

One year later, demolition started on the triangle of land between Bush and Market for the Crown Zellerbach Corporation’s midcentury gem. Spectators were able to see the pinched building, and articles about the narrow beauty began to appear in local newspapers. It also helped the Iron Duke’s reservation book as the local eatery became popular with diners:

As construction continued on the Crown Zellerbach Building, 130 Bush’s popularity diminished. The noise was so great that the Iron Duke restaurant was forced to close during construction.

Today the building houses a Sushi Umi, a Japanese eatery popular for quick lunches, and tenants range from a criminal attorney’s office to a nail spa.

The Heineman building, as well as Adam Grant and the Shell Building, are all on San Francisco’s preservation list as category type one buildings for their architectural qualities and impact on the city.

Over a century later, in these days of the Apple UFO and Darth Vader-like tech headquarters, the Heineman building’s charm and pin-thin intricacy still excite passersby.
Date: 2018-10-05 07:30:47

Heineman San Francisco

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