Central Tower
In 2021
Former names
  • Call Building
  • Spreckels Building
Record height
Preceded byChronicle Building
Surpassed byStandard Oil Building
General information
TypeCommercial offices
Location703 Market Street
San Francisco, California
Coordinates37°47′14″N 122°24′14″W / 37.787181°N 122.403861°W / 37.787181; -122.403861Coordinates: 37°47′14″N 122°24′14″W / 37.787181°N 122.403861°W / 37.787181; -122.403861
1938 (art deco/art moderne renovations)
OwnerRKI 703 Investors LLC
Roof91 m (299 ft)
Technical details
Floor count21
Design and construction
ArchitectReid & Reid
Albert Roller (renovations)
Call Building, circa 1897-1905
Call Building, circa 1897-1905

Central Tower is a 91 m (299 ft) 21-story office building at Market and Third Streets in San Francisco, California. The building has undergone numerous renovations since its completion in 1898 as the Call Building. It was later known as the Spreckels Building.


In 1890, M. H. de Young, owner of the San Francisco Chronicle, built San Francisco's first skyscraper, the 218-foot (66 m) Chronicle Building, to house his newspaper. In response, John D. Spreckels and his father Claus Spreckels purchased the San Francisco Call in 1895 and commissioned a tower of their own that would dwarf the Chronicle Building.[3] In September 1895, The Call wrote:

The San Francisco Call is to have the finest building ever erected for a newspaper office. It is to be built on the corner of Market and Third streets, of granite and white marble, and will be fifteen stories — 310 feet high, the highest building this side of Chicago. Unlike the Chronicle building it will be a beautiful building and a credit to its owner, Claus Spreckels, and worthy of the great paper to be printed within its walls. A light granite will be used for the first three stories, but above the third story white marble will be used. The main entrance or rotunda will be finished in some polished California marble, the very choicest obtainable, and the floor will be mosaic.[4]

The building eventually stood 315 feet (96 m) tall with an ornate baroque dome—which housed the offices of Reid & Reid, the building's architects[5]—and four corner cupolas when construction finished in 1898. It was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River for many years. The structure was badly burned and damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, although the building did not collapse.

After the fire, The Call reopened its offices at a new location, The Montgomery, and the former Call Building became known as the Spreckels Building. In 1938 Albert Roller completely refurbished Central Tower. The building's height was reduced to 298 feet (91 m) and the number of stories was increased from 15 to 21; the ornate dome and the cupolas atop the building were removed.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Central Tower at Emporis
  2. ^ "Central Tower". SkyscraperPage.
  3. ^ Korom, Joseph J. (2008). The American Skyscraper, 1850-1940. Boston: Branden Books. pp. 211–213. ISBN 978-0-8283-2188-4. Call Building.
  4. ^ "The San Francisco "Call's" Enterprise Commended by the Press". San Francisco Call. 78 (110). September 18, 1895. p. 5. Retrieved 2021-01-29 – via California Digital Newspaper Collection.
  5. ^ John Leroux, "Chasing the noblest of arts and the American dream" Archived December 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Architects Association of New Brunswick.
  6. ^ Klages, Ellen. "THE CALL BUILDING: SAN FRANCISCO'S FORGOTTEN SKYSCRAPER - FoundSF". www.foundsf.org. Retrieved 2021-08-21.

Media related to Central Tower (San Francisco) at Wikimedia Commons