Photo of the Hotaling Whiskey Warehouse, in San Francisco, California

Weekly Gem #19 If ever a stiff drink was in order ...

Published 4/19/2015

Location: This 'hidden gem' is in downtown San Francisco, on Jackson Street, between Mongomery and Sansome (see Clue Me! map). On this date (April 19) in 1906, fires from the San Francisco earthquake were still blazing, and this is one of the surviving buildings. The situation was so desperate that firefighters were using dynamite to destroy blocks of buildings in hopes of creating fire breaks. Luckily for the firefighters and this particular block, someone realized that blowing a wooden building full of alcohol might be counterproductive. In fact, it may have been labeled by those firefighters as a 'must save,' if only to avoid flooding the neighborhood with a river of flaming alcohol.  


Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.


If, as they say, God spanked the town for being frisky, why did he burn his churches down and spare Hotaling's whiskey? -Charles Field


Hotaling Whiskey Warehouse

Why It's Interesting

Alas, this building is no longer a whiskey warehouse... It was built in 1866 by A.P. Hotaling to house his whiskey. During the 1906 fires, the army planned to destroy this building to create a fire break and save the government building next door. When they found out what valuable goods it held, they decided to move the (flammable) whiskey and save the whole block. They pumped salt water eleven blocks from the Embarcadero, and when that wasn't enough, used sewer water to save the block.

Related Gems