A gorgeous 1897 lithograph of San Francisco’s ornate Call Building, once the tallest building west of the Mississippi.

The San Francisco Call. New Era Edition.

Out of stock

Cartographer(s): H. S. Crocker Company
Date: 1897
Place: San Francisco
Dimensions: 44.5 x 58 cm (16.5 x 23 in)
Condition Rating: VG+
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This is a wonderful view of the Claus Spreckels (“Call”) Building, published in 1897 by H.S. Crocker & Co. The building was located on the south side of Market Street at the corner with 3rd Street, and the view depicts a lively street scene there, with passing streetcars, horse drawn carriages, newspaper boys, men in fine suits, and ladies in fancy dress.

We say “was located,” but past tense is only partially correct. The Call Building is still technically found in the same place, increasingly dwarfed by the city’s growing skyline. What we see today, however, bears only a vague resemblance of the architectural jewel that once served as a towering beacon of San Francisco’s 19th century progress and growth. The building was heavily damaged in the 1906 Earthquake; spectators came from across the city to witness massive flames shooting out from the upper floors. It remained standing, but following the earthquake and in subsequent decades both the interior and exterior were completely redone.

In this lithograph, executed by one of San Francisco’s premier engravers of the era, we see the Call Building in all its original glory, and understand how it was once one of the city’s most treasured landmarks. San Francisco’s first skyscraper was the Chronicle Building (218 feet tall), built by Michael Henry de Young to house his newspaper. In response, John D. and Claus Spreckles purchased the San Francisco Call, and commissioned a new building (315 feet tall) to house it, one that would eclipse the Chronicle Building. The result was the tower portrayed in our view. It featured an elaborate baroque dome with four corner cupolas around it, none of which survive. The result, as seen here, was a true architectural gem, one which only exists today in images like this one.


H. S. Crocker Company

The H. S. Crocker Company was an engraving and publishing house based in San Francisco.

Condition Description

Excellent. Laid on poster linen with one inch margin all around.


OCLC #80051381.