AKA: Selby Smelting Company, Factory and Shot Tower, San Francisco, CA

Structure Type: built works - industrial buildings - factories

Designers: Williams, Stephen H., Architect (firm); Stephen Hedden Williams Sr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1864-1865

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1st Street and Howard Street
South of Market, San Francisco, CA 94105

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Thomas Henry Selby (1820-1875) opened this large-scale lead smelting facility at 1st and Howard Streets in 1865. A main feature of the three-story factory was a 200-foot shot tower, in which lead balls for rifles were produced. The Selby complex was damaged significantly in the San Francisco Earthquake of 04/18/1906; the tower was subsequently razed and the factory rebuilt for use as a warehouse.

Building Notes

An article in the Russian River Flag newspaper, discussed the supply chain bringing lead to the Selby Shot Tower in 1869: "Much of the lead which is received at the San Francisco shot tower, by Thomas H. Selby & Co., arrives in the form of metal from San Pedro, to which point it is brought by teams across the country from Owens River, in Inyo county. Argentiferous galena is mined in the Inyo and Lone Pine District by two parties who have reducing works near by. The ore carries a good deal of silver--from $20 to $30 to the ton. So abundant is the lead ore of Owen's River that one party expects to reduce from one to two tons per day during the coming winter. Lead ore is towed down in barges from the upper Colorado River to a shipping point in the Gulf of California, the greater part coming from the silver and copper district of Castle Dome. A shot tower ought to be profitable, when working the lead ore yielding such a percentage of silver as above." (See "Lead from Inyo and the Colorado River," Russian River Flag, vol 1, no. 8, 01/07/1869, p. 3.)

Selby became San Francisco's 10th Mayor, serving from 07/1869 until 07/1871.

PCAD id: 20474