AKA: Bethlehem Pacific Coast Steel Corporation, Building 101, San Francisco, CA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Meyer, Frederick Herman, Architect (firm); Frederick Herman Meyer (architect)

Dates: constructed 1916-1917

3 stories, total floor area: 56,268 sq. ft.

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20th Street and Illinois Streets
Central Waterfront, San Francisco, CA 94107

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The Bethlehem Steel West Coast Shipbuilding Division offices were located on the northeast corner of 20th Street and Illinois Street.


San Francisco architect Frederick H. Meyer designed this Neo-Classical, unreinforced masonry and steel building erected during the buildup to America's entry into World War I. The building served the expanding operations of the Bethlehem Steel's West Coast Shipbuilding Division that were focused in three facilities in the San Francisco Bay area, the former Union Iron Works, San Francisco, CA, (owned between 1905 and 1941), Hunters Point Drydocks, Hunters Point, San Francisco, CA, (1908–1920) and Alameda Works Shipyard, Alameda, CA, (1916–1956). Bethlehem Steel was headquartered in Bethlehem, PA, and its shipbuilding division in Quincy, MA, for much of the twentieth century.

Building History

A gradual build-up of military-industrial building preceded America's delayed entry in World War I, this building being part of the process of developing defense plants on the West Coast. Bethlehem Steel's Shipbuilding Division saw greatly increased activity at both its San Francisco (Pier 70) and Alameda port facilities. The Port of San Francisco said on a web site about this building: "Building 101 was designed as a new main office building in 1917, to accommodate the 'enormously increased business of the Potrero plant and its branch across the bay,' in Alameda, according to the San Francisco Chronicle." (See Port of San Francisco.com, "Pier 70 Area: Bethlehem Steel Office Building - Building 101," accessed 10/08/2018.) The destruction of the Russian Pacific Fleet at Tsushima (05/27-28/1905) and the subsequent rise of the Japanese Imperial Navy during the 1900s-1910s, made the growth of facilities serving US Naval power on the West Coast more urgent. As noted in a Harvard Business School, Baker Library, web page article on Bethlehem Steel: "The company thrived during World War I, producing warships, guns and munitions, armor, and ordnance for the Allied forces." (See Harvard University, Business School, Baker Library.edu. "Bethlehem Steel Corp.," accessed 10/08/2018.)

PCAD id: 22442