Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - markets

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1922-1923

1 story, total floor area: 71,000 sq. ft.

Market Street and 8th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

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The site on which the Crystal Palace stood had several other previous inhabitants. The Mechanics Institute Pavilion occupied the space for 7 years between 1874-1881 where the wares of local manufacturers and mechanics were exhibited; Central Park, a minor league baseball venue operated there from 1881-c. 1898. The Central Theatre, a performance space for vaudeville-type shows and plays, entertained San Franciscans between c. 1900-1906, when it was demolished by the Great Earthquake of 04/18. From 1906-1922, various carnivals and circus troupes utilized the lot. In 1922, the developer Oliver M. Rousseau (1891-1977) and his brother, Arthur, purchased the land and conceived of this diverse market. Seeing its potential, the Emporium Department Store of San Francisco bought the Crystal Palace and a neighboring lot in 1925.

This steel-frame structure shielded the stands of various food and merchandise vendors as well as barbers, hairstylists, jewelers and other shopkeepers. The space covered 71,000 square feet and was a main shopping center of its day in San Francisco, CA. Geared to shoppers traveling by auto, the Crystal Palace had a 55,375-square-foot parking lot able to accommodate 4,350 cars.

After 1944, businessman Joseph Long purchased the Crystal Palace from the Emporium-Capwell Department Store chain, which had bought the establishment and a contiguous lot in 1925. Long, of the Alameda, CA-based Long's Drugstore chain, proceeded to enclose various spaces within the market and locate one of his pharmacies in a visible corner location.

Demolished; the Crystal Palace operated until 12/01/1959, and was soon torn down to make way for the Del Webb Townehouse Motel.

PCAD id: 641