MARCH, 2009, NEWSLETTER
and NOTICE of March 26th Board of Directors & Members Meeting
NEXT TOUR and MEETING:
THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 2009:
3:30 PM TOUR OF THE NORTH WATERFRONT:
Meet promptly at the corner of Bay & Kearny Streets.
4:30 PM MEETING: Meet promptly
at the offices of our host, RON KAUFMAN, NO. 1 LOMBARD Street,
Suite 201 (intersection of Battery & Lombard Sts. on the Embarcadero,
San Francisco. The building
at No. 1 Lombard stands out as it is entirely made of brick (circa 1895).
If you are not taking the walking tour and only attending our meeting,
please arrive promptly at 4:30 PM, as Mr. Kaufman will be taking
us to a nearby location for our meeting.
parking on both sides of Bay Street (2 hr. limit); also metered parking
near and around No. 1 Lombard (you may need to feed your meter as it
is most likely 1 or 2 hour parking until 7 PM); Parking garage:
turn into Kearny off Bay St., proceed to 80 Francisco St. or Parking
lot (pay machine) at the foot of Bay & the Embarcadero.
- Bill Applegate:
Dear CHC Colleagues:
We are in for a real treat March 26 when we go on a walking tour of
the North Waterfront, thanks to Neil Malloch, and of course to our gracious
host, Ron Kauffman, the masterful author of the magnificently restored
and well preserved North Waterfront. The following is a condensation
of an article that was featured in the The Barbary Coast News March
It captures the spirit of a special neighborhood and a man of great
vision and determination. A tough area, a difficult era, and a remarkable
turnaround story ...a solid lesson in the success that comes from vision,
passion, focus and perseverance....virtues I trust will see us all through
the coming months and years. I look forward to seeing you all at 3:30
PM on the 26th of March at the corner of Bay and Kearny Streets.
On our special neighborhood:
THE MAN WHO SAVED THE
Ron Kaufman and the amazing
work he’s done to save many historic, beautiful old buildings in the
North Waterfront section of the Barbary Coast is almost legendary.
To many, his name is synonymous with the North Waterfront itself.
B.R. (Before Ron)
Before Kaufman arrived on the scene, the worn down warehouses dotting
the flat land beneath Telegraph Hill—land we now know as North Waterfront—was
considered a blighted area. From the mid-1800s, the warehouses on Green,
Union, Battery, Vallejo and Chestnut Streets served the needs of San
Francisco’s burgeoning population as well as provided supplies for
gold miners heading up to the Sierras.
Robert Courtland’s book The Old North Waterfront describes the North
Waterfront in the 1950s as “crumbling buildings bounded by streets
still paved with 19th century paving stones.” There were no trees.
Trucks, rather than people, filled the sidewalks. And, after dark, night
descended upon the streets and left the area desolate.
Courtland’s account of general attitudes at the time his book was
published states: “The prevailing thought in 1960 was that older neighborhoods
had to be completely leveled and rebuilt from scratch.” San Francisco’s
City Fathers were of the same mind. And one by one, the old warehouses
were being torn down.
Enter Ron Kaufman
Early on he had a vision of what the North Waterfront might look like
if only someone cared enough—and could find the funds—to rescue
these magnificent old brick buildings.
In 1959 Kaufman, then a young real estate broker, was working with National Ice and
Cold Storage on Union Street to relocate their business to larger facilities.
National Ice asked Kaufman to “do something” with their Union Street
historic building. About the same time, a real estate investor, Leonard
Cahn, joined Kauffman,,who had a background in art, architectural history
and urban land economics, and the two men formed NWA, North Waterfront
Associates. Two buildings housing the old Ice & Cold Storage Company
became the first example of their creative union. That project was,
for Kaufman, the beginning of his life’s work: the restoration of
the North Waterfront.
Over the years, Kaufman, who was known for his imaginative use of space
and light, would rehabilitate 25 buildings and bring many of them national
attention as Historic Landmarks.
Kaufman continues his work in real estate development, specializing
in preservation. Today, his company, Ron Kaufman Companies, is an asset
(real estate) management company with its offices in the historic One
Lombard Building. His passion remains in the economic growth and maintenance
of the distinctive character of the North Waterfront. “This is a very
special neighborhood,” he says as he gazes out the window, over rooftops
toward the Bay. “Here we have less pollution, less traffic, and more
open space than in the Financial District.”
This is a special man, and we owe him thanks for his vision, imagination
and dogged determination to save the North Waterfront for all of us.
Editor’s Note: You may enjoy reading "The Old
North Waterfront" by Robert Courland. The book is available through
William Stout Architectural Books, 804 Montgomery Street. Price: $45.
RON KAUFMAN’S NORTH WATERFRONT
101 Vallejo (Daniel Gibb Warehouse/MVB
50 Green Street (W. P. Fuller Glass Warehouse/Landor Associates)
151 Union (National Ice & Cold Storage/Williams-Sonoma Corp. Headquarters)
1050 Battery (Armour & Company Pork Packers/ Ketchum Communications)
One Lombard (Merchants’ Ice & Cold Storage/ SF Bay Club)
1725 Montgomery Street (Globe Mills Annex/ offices)
140 Chestnut Street (Globe Mills / offices)
150 Chestnut Street (Globe Mills/ EDAW)
55 Francisco (Fibreboard Building/offices)
Chair of the Board Remarks
- John Hodges:
Last month we sent along information
about our upcoming trip to Grass Valley scheduled for April 24-26. This
month I want to give information about our trip to the Empire Mine and
give you some additional information about the Bourn family.
Those of you who have signed
up for this visit will receive a separate mailing about directions and
details for the field trip. But for all CHC members, let me detail some
facts about two of the last bonanza kings.
While the great mining bonanzas
of the 19th-century West made eastern California and Nevada the subject
of legend, much of the wealth from the mines flowed to San Francisco
and made possible the growth of the city and personal fortunes. Among
the wealthiest and most powerful of the Bonanza Kings was William Bowers
Bourn I and his son and successor, William Bowers Bourn II. Let me tell
you about these remarkable people.
The elder Bourn, descendant
of an early New England family, arrived in San Francisco shortly after
the discovery of gold in the Sierra foothills. Although he eventually
invested heavily in mines in Grass Valley and on the Comstock, his initial
success was as a businessman in the booming port city. After his tragic
death in 1874, the family's many business interests were taken over
by Bourn's young son, William II.
The younger Bourn built upon
his father's success, expanding the Empire Mine in Grass Valley into
the largest, most productive and technologically advanced hard rock
gold mine in the West, acquiring additional mining properties on the
Comstock and on Treasure Hill in eastern Nevada, and developing a range
of business ventures, including a vast water system that was to become
the basis for San Francisco's present water supply. The Bourn family
loved the Napa Valley and grape farming and built Greystone Cellar.
Like many other wealthy men
of his generation, William Bourn II was a generous donor to worthy causes
and an enthusiastic patron of the arts, supporting such projects as
the SF Symphony, the Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915,
the construction of the present quarters of the Pacific Union Club,
and the creation of his own final home, Filoli, a vast Italianate estate
on the Peninsula south of San Francisco. Will Bourn and his wife Agnes
are buried there.
They passed quietly into California's
history, unlike so many of the Bonanza Kings. but they wanted it that
way. Very interesting people, and more about them on our field trip.
Minutes of the February
26, 2009 Board of Directors and Members’
Meeting. The meeting came to order at 4:00 PM at the CHC offices
in the Presidio of San Francisco. Ex. Vice President, Chris Layton,
presiding. Directors present: Winchell Hayward,
John Hodges, Redmond Kernan, Herb Konkoff, Christopher & Adele Layton,
Mai Kai Lee, Jules Levaggi, Bill Betty Ann Prien, Dianne Rowe, Susan
Walima, Gary Widman.
Presidio Update -
Gary Widman & Redmond Kernan: The new “preferred alternative design”
for the Fisher Museum, Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement,
and Section 106 documents are just becoming available from the Trust.
The Presidio Historical Association is opposed to the new design.
There will be a 45-day comment period. CHC will write a
comment letter and we urge all to attend the public meetings when those
dates are announced. (See calendar of events below.) There
are grounds for a lawsuit if the Trust proceeds with placing the museum
on the Main Post parade grounds.
Grass Valley/Nevada City
trip April 25-26 : John Hodges will be sending maps
and a complete itinerary of activities closer to the date. We
will be visiting the Northstar Mine and a Julia Morgan home on Sunday.
The Charles Krug Winery was nominated by Chris Layton. Richard
Torney presented a completed nomination form for The West Point Inn,
located on Mt. Tamalpais, Mill Valley. It is owned by the Marin
Municipal Water District and operated by the West Point Inn Assoc.
It dates to 1904 and is the sole surviving structure of Mt. Tamalpais’
once famous scenic railway. It is still in operation as a hostel.
Fred Runner, author & historian, of The Crookedest Railroad
in the World spoke about the history of “West Point.”
Tony Aguirre visited the gardens at the Carolans in Hillsborough with
the San Mateo Historical Assoc. He suggested contacting the owners
with a request for our group to visit and hold our May meeting there.
He is willing to draft a letter and follow up with a telephone call
to the owners.
Gold Bear: We are still waiting for a quote from Farmer’s
Insurance. Yusuf Uraiqat and Dianne Rowe had an appointment with
Keith Weisbeck, the Service Manger at the Wells Fargo Branch.
Due to an emergency, this meeting had to be postponed and a new
meeting date is being arranged.
California Cable Car
Line: Winchell Hayward advised that he rented a metal
detector and, from the results, believes the California Street cable
car tracks are still there. After discussion, approval was given
to Winchell to draft a letter to the City suggesting they extend the
California Street cable car line along its original route.
Christopher Layton read President Bill Applegate’s appointments to
the Executive Committee: They are: Bill Applegate, Christopher
Layton, Yusuf Uraiqat, Winchell Hayward, Dianne Rowe, Betty Ann Prien
Marsha Calegari, John Hodges ex- officio.
CALENDAR OF FUTURE MEETINGS
& EVENTS (Please mark your calendar):
April 25-26: CHC Trip to Grass Valley/Nevada
May 28: CHC Board of Directors and
Membership Meeting. Location pending.
June 25: Annual Awards Dinner.
Jefferson Street Mansion
in Benicia, CA