The Hotaling Building is located in San Francisco’s historic Jackson Square District.
Built in 1866, 451 Jackson was originally designed to house a whisky distillery and was the largest liquor warehouse on the West Coast. The Hotaling Building still retains the Dickensian air and charm through its resilience and architecture.
The structure was one of few in the area to survive the 1906 earthquake due to the heroic efforts of a Navy Lieutenant named Frederick Newton and his brigade, who ran a hose over a mile all the way from Pier 43, over Telegraph Hill, and down to Jackson Square. Salt water from their ship’s pumps enabled them to stop the fire’s spread to the area.
According to the chroniclers of the time, when local clergymen interpreted the 1906 quake as divine retribution for the city’s wickedness, Charles Field asked:
“If, as they say, God spanked the town
For being over-frisky,
Why did He burn his churches down
And spare Hotaling’s whisky?”
The much-quoted jingle appears on a plaque outside the building today.