San Francisco Could Use a Mint

The building survived the San Francisco Earthquake Of 1906, but apathy is disaster.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has released its annual list of the most endangered historic places in America. Among them is San Francisco’s Old U.S. Mint Building, located south of Market Street. Not only is this sad, it’s also remarkable. The building, which has been standing since 1874, was one of the few institutions to survive the earthquake and fire of 1906, which destroyed 500 city blocks and killed upwards of 3,000 people.

Though the building withstood a famously devastating disaster, there is a new shake up hitting American cities. It’s called gentrification. The mint, which sits at the edge of the Hayes Valley, Lower Haight, and Mission neighborhoods on extraordinarily valuable land, isn’t particularly suited to being broken up into high-end condos. So what good is it? Well, it’s a handsome bit of architecture that the government probably wouldn’t mind parting with.

And so, as officially listed, its danger is…being forgotten.