26.10.08

F I R S TP R E V875NEXTLAST

Old Halls of Power, The Merchants Exchange
if you want to catch a glimpse of early San Francisco's opulent past just step into Merchant's Exchange Building on California Street. Built in 1903 and still standing today it was one of the city's early centers of power. Designed by the legendary Willis Polk for the city's business elite, this grey, granite skyscraper features a tall roof-top tower to provide views of incoming ships. It was originally the trading hall of the Chamber of Commerce's marine department and was built with the grand opulence of that era.

The Merchant's Exchange is decorated by massive paintings of arriving ships painted by W.A. Coulter and also features an opulent Julia Morgan ballroom. The early power brokers that walked these marble and gilded halls had the ability to shape San Francisco's destiny. When the city wanted to show the world its restored glory from the Great Earthquake and Fire by hosting the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition, the entire $4 million cost was raised here in just two hours.
[ MAP F-16 ]


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