City of Paris Dry Goods Company, San Francisco California

Date added: April 15, 2016 Categories: California Retail Commercial Beaux-Arts

The Spring Valley Water Company Building was widely known as one of the first "important" Beaux Arts designs in San Francisco, executed for the private utility which controlled the supplying of water to San Francisco and neighboring communities. Its other principal tenant, the City of Paris Dry Goods Company was one of the leading retail department stores in San Francisco. The "City of Paris" name traced its origins back to the arrival in 1850 from France of the brothers Felix and Emile Verdier with a shipload of luxury goods. Their ship, "La Ville de Paris", lent its name to the later store ashore. The Spring Valley Water Company Building was the fifth location for the store during its history.

The building and its location have always been associated with prestige and elegance and this atmosphere was reinforced after the reconstruction of the burnt-out, partially destroyed shell in 1908-1909. The City of Paris Dry Goods Company arranged for the occupancy of the basement and most of four floors. Thus, when the building reopened for use in 1909, the store occupied the greater part of the building, with offices for rent on the upper floors (later it expanded into the entire building).