San Francisco’s Old U.S. Mint that survived the 1906 earthquake has been named among the country’s 11 most endangered historic places.
The annual list by the National Trust for Historic Preservation celebrates examples of architectural, cultural and natural heritage at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. Since 1988, more than 250 sites have been added to the list. All but a handful have been saved.
The Old Mint, located at Fifth and Mission streets, was built in 1874 and served as The City’s sole financial institution still standing following the 1906 earthquake and fire. It is no longer open to the public.
The mint was first added to the National Trust’s America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 1994 and was added for the second time this year because the building’s future remains uncertain amid a major construction boom in The City.
“It’s truly one of a handful of the most significant landmarks in the city of San Francisco, and I would argue it’s one of the most significant buildings in the West,” said Anthony Veerkamp, director of the San Francisco field office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Coins have not been minted there since the 1930s, but the site operated as a museum until 1994. It was sold to The City by the federal government in 2003 with the intent that the building be rehabilitated to serve as the home of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society, but that plan never materialized.
Earlier this year, it was determined that the building’s main elevator is unsafe. The City also notified the museum and historical society that the agreement to occupy the building will be terminated as of Aug. 1.
Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, noted that today is a better time than ever to revive restoration plans for the building.
“The Mint is a place that the people of San Francisco have been talking for 20 years now about turning into a cultural center and cultural resource for The City,” Meeks said. “It strikes us as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leverage all of the investment going on [in the Mid-Market area] to benefit the Mint.”1906 earthquakeconstruction boomNational Trust for Historic PreservationPlanningSan FranciscoU.S. Mint