Now is the perfect time to poke your head inside one of San Francisco's loveliest time capsule buildings.
Flood Building 870 Market St, San Francisco.
There's usually a steady stream of people coming in and out of the Flood Building. Tenants, like its many lawyers, clients, and a handful of tourists peeking into the lobby. But unless you've had a specific reason to drop by the Flood Building, there's a chance, like many locals, you've never stepped inside.
Now's the perfect time to poke your head inside one of San Francisco's loveliest time capsule buildings. During the holidays, the lobby gets a Christmas makeover. Balustrades are draped in lights and the whole entryway twinkles. A big, decorated Christmas tree watches over the comings and goings.
But don't stop at the lobby. Marvel at the bank of wonderfully old-fashioned elevators in a neat row. When one becomes available, a light goes on above the elevator about to open. Up the floors are pretty, if slightly austere, hallways of offices and rooms. Don't miss the gold-colored chutes where tenants could drop their mail down to the mailroom below. The presence of modern-day UPS delivery people sadly shows the system is now defunct.
Walking the halls, it's easy to imagine when the Pinkertons, America's most famous private detectives, had their offices here on the third floor; detective novelist Dashiell Hammett worked there for a time.
When the Flood Building opened in 1904, it was part of a massive building spree across town. As San Francisco grew and expanded, it ran out of office space. With its 12 floors of office and retail space, the Flood Building, named for the Comstock Lode originator James Clair Flood, helped solve that problem. Upon its opening, it was the largest building in the city.
Rent started at $20 per month and janitorial services came free. The Flood Building is located at 870 Market Street near the Powell Street cable-car turnaround. It's open to the public, free of charge.
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