Urban Scenes Series – San Francisco
Views: 567 05/25/2011
Columbus Tower, also known as the Sentinel Building is a mixed-used building in San Francisco, California completed in 1907. The distinctive copper-green Flatiron style structure is bounded by Columbus Avenue, Kearny Street and Jackson Street, straddling the North Beach-, Chinatown-, and Financial-districts of the city. It is designated landmark number 33.
Despite the 1907 finish, building work had begun before the San Francisco Earthquake the previous year, but extensive damage to the building site, and the rest of the city, slowed down the construction considerably. For a relatively small building such as Columbus tower, with the extensive workforce available in San Francisco at that time, taking more than a year to complete the building was slightly longer than would have been expected.
The top floor initially housed the headquarters of the notorious Abe Ruef, a local political figure at the time. Also featuring early in the building’s history is the restaurant ’Caesar’s’, which is the restaurant widely credited with the creation of the popular Caesar Salad. Despite its flourishing business, the restaurant was closed down during prohibition under the Eighteenth Amendment. The Kingston Trio owned the building and used it as their corporate headquarters during the 1960s. They built a recording studio in the basement which they used themselves and for many other artists including the We Five.
By the early 1970s the building was falling gradually into a state of mild disrepair. The film director Francis Ford Coppola chose then to purchase the building, and renovate it into the building that can be seen today. Coppola then set up his own business in the building, and remains there to this day.