AKA: New Music Hall, Financial District, San Francisco, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - concert halls; built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1860-1860, demolished 1890

3 stories

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216 Montgomery Street
Financial District, San Francisco, CA 94104

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Platt's Hall, known in its earliest days as the "New Music Hall," was a performance venue in early San Francisco, CA. Henry B. Platt erected the assembly space and opened it on 08/06/1860. Henry Platt lived very close to his music hall, residing at 204 Montgomery in 1869. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1869, p. 503.) It was a prime musical performance space in early San Francisco, as well as an important assembly hall for a range of organizations. According to a newspaper report announcing its destruction in 1890: "Its walls often echoed to the eloquence of prominent divines and famous orators, wore the gay decorations of merry parties and was the scene of bright carnivals, balls and social events. It has done its part in the cause of charity, for many a fancy fair or church bazaae was held undr its hospitable roof while thousands of persons passed through the doors." (See "Platt's Hall, San Francisco Call, 09/06/1890, p. 3.)

Building History

Opened in 1860 by building contractor Henry B. Platt (c.1822-04/28/1884), Platt's Hall was a capacious and vital assembly space for entertainers, lecturers, mystics, musical performers, fraternal societies, ethnically-based organizations, and political parties during the period 1860-1890. "[Platt] "He leased the 50-vara lot on the corner from January 1, 1860, from James Cunningham for a term of fifteen years. Shortly after the present building was erected...which brought in $600 a month." (See "Platt's Hall, San Francisco Call, 09/06/1890, p. 3.)

In 1884, for example, the Daily Alta California newspaper reported that the "The Loring Club will give one of their pleasing concerts at Platt's Hall on Wednesday evening, May 7th." (See "General Notes," Daily Alta California, vol. 36, no. 12429, 04/27/1884, p. 8.) Another aricle reviewed the activities of a local Knights of Pythias chapter made up primarlly of French emigres: "Bayard Lodge, No.53, Knights of Pythias, gave a ball on Saturday evening at Platt's Hall. Conspicuous among the decorations was a liberal display of French and Union flags. Suspend in gilt lettersover the state in French, was the motto of the lodge, "Without Fear, Without Reproach." A programme of twenty-four dances was enjoyably carried out, A. Bonnetti acting as floor manager. This Lodge was organized in 1879, and numbers 161 members. It is one of the few French Lodges in existence on this coast." (See "Bayard Lodge," Daily Alta California, vol. 36, no. 12430, 04/28/1884, p. 7.)

The San Francisco Call noted its demolition in 1890 eulogizing the hall: "During the great floods of 1860-1861 it was the headquarters for supplies, and sufferers from the river were taken there for temporary relief. In war time it was used as a rendezvous for the Union party, and in the hall ex-President Lincoln's nomination was ratified. Ole Bull appeared there in 1864. In 1866 the hall was used for the Dickens Carnival and Tableaux Vivants for the benefit of the Clay-street Female Hospital, under the auspices of the Episcopal Church. In later years six-days' walking matches, dime museums, and Dr. Tanner's forty days' fast added to the attractions, and there were several successful series of society balls. Jim McClellan and Mike Donovan fought in a ring upon the stage in small gloves, but their fight ended in a draw at 4 o'clock in the morning. From Platt's Hall stage Schuyler Colfax, Vice-President of the United States, addressed thousands; so did ex-Governor Bross, Newton Booth, the silver-tongued Tom Fitch and many others. Soon a trace of the old place will not be left by the wreckers." (See "Platt's Hall, San Francisco Call, 09/06/1890, p. 3.)

Building Notes

On 02/24/1864, German citizens of San Francisco met at Platt's Hall to discuss the conflict between Denmark and Prussia/Austria over Schleswig-Holstein during the Second Schleswig War. (See Virtual Museum of San Francisco, "Events of 1864," accessed 11/16/2017/)

In 1869, the firm of Siegfried and Lohse managed the hall. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1869, p. 503.)

The Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) gave four lectures at Platt's Hall in San Francisco in March and April 1882. Wilde delivered his first lecture on Monday, 03/27/1882, entitled "The English Renaissance." His second occurred two days later on 03/29/1882, called “Art Decoration! Being the Practical and Application of the Esthetic Theory to Everyday Home Life and Art Ornamentation!” The third happened at Platt's Hall on 04/01/1882, (“The House Beautiful and the Decorative Arts”), and the fourth on 04/05/1882 (“Irish Poets And Poetry Of The Nineteenth Century”). (See John Cooper, "Oscar Wilde in America," accessed 05/05/2021. He toured the Bay Area between 03/26/1882 and 04/08/1882, staying at the Palace Hotel.


Platt's Hall was razed in 09/1890 to make way for the D.O. Mills Building. The building had been mostly demolished by 09/06/1890. (See "Platt's Hall,"San Francisco Call, 09/06/1890, p. 3.)

PCAD id: 20674