AKA: Pierce - Morse Office Building, San Diego, CA; Pierce - Morse Block, San Diego, CA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Comstock and Trötsche, Architects (firm); Nelson Alanson Comstock (architect); Carl Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Trötsche (architect)

Dates: constructed 1887-1888

5 stories

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6th Avenue and F Street
East Village, San Diego, CA 92101

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The Pierce-Morse Building stood on the northwest corner of 6th Avenue and F Street.

Building History

The architectural firm led by Nelson A. Comstock and Carl Troetsche designed the Pierce-Morse Building for E.W. Morse, who maintained his offices there. Comstock and Troetsche also occupied Rooms #18,19 and 20 in the building in 01/1890. The architects had two offices at this time, this one in San Diego and one in Seattle, within the Marshall Building, corner of Washington and Commercial Streets, Rooms #2 and 3. Comstock and Troetsche disbanded by 12/1890.

Architect Irving J. Gill (1870-1936), soon after arriving in San Diego in 1894, operated his first solo architectural office in the Pierce-Morse Block, Room #19, one of the same rooms formerly occupied by Comstock and Troetsche. (See San Diego City Directory, 1894, p. 84.)

Building Notes

This ornate, Italianate commercial block contained five floors and a large basement. Its exterior had a notable verticality to it, making it an important part of the San Diego skyline of the 1880s and 1890s. The Pierce-Morse block had its first floor lined with retail shops, and its upper stories filled with offices. Comstock and Troetsche included five bays on the 6th Avenue and F Street facades, each illuminated by tall, thin double-hung windows. The architects separated the elevation into five discernible parts, including the wide spans of the retail shops on floor one, the bay-windowed offices on floors two and three, a fourth floor with arched windows trimmed by a ornate balustrade, a fifth story lit by dormers topped by pyramidal roofs and a six-sided tower with a French-inspired mansard roof illuminated by l'oeil de boeuf windows.


According to Save Our Heritage San Diego, the Pierce-Morse Building was razed in the 1950s. (See Save Our Heritage San Diego, "Pierce-Morse Block," accessed 10/28/2015.)

PCAD id: 8634