Story of Elkan Gunst Building - 323 Geary Street : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

The Elkan Gunst Building at 323 Geary Street was purportedly built as a memorial to son of Gunst, who had died playing football. Is this true? Does anyone know any more about this?

-- Jan C. Nielsen (, August 26, 2000


yes, the story is true. morgan arthur gunst (my grandfather) had two brothers, Elkan and Carlton. Both of them died at age sixteen, Elkan of a football injury, Carlton of influenza (I believe). Mose Gunst had the building built in Elkan's honor. my family maintained offices in the Gunst building for many years. I believe the architect was Willis Polk.

-- morgan gunst (MAGUNST@PACBELL.NET), January 21, 2002.

According to this website, it was Gustav Albert Lansburgh, (1876- 1969) who was a friend of the Gunst family:

-- Miss Rosa (, January 21, 2002.

I just purchased a reproduction of an original graphite on trace rendering of the Elkan Gunst Building, dated 1908. The original is housed at the Berkeley Architectural Archives in the G. Albert Lansburgh Collection. It is curious that the archives note the structure to have been located on the corner of Mission and Third, when indeed the building still exists at the corner of Geary and Powell. (I shall have to write them and suggest that they revisit their documents.) The rendering also portrays the structure as having approximately 4 more floors than what exists today. Good luck with your research.

-- Keri Ayers (, March 30, 2003.

I am working on a commemorative web site for the structural engineer for the Gunst Building — it was Leon Nishkian. I find it nearly impossible to find any old photos of the building.

-- Lawrence Peterson (, October 04, 2003.

Have you looked through the on-line photos at the SF Public Library? Here's the entry page for the photo collections. Go to the bottom of the page and select “Digitized Images by Subject.” Under “Streets G” there’s a slew of Geary photos. If I could remember the intersection you’re looking for, I’d point you to it, but since I can’t, you get to look through each of them. Note there are “additional entries” at the bottom of each listing.

-- Rosa (, October 04, 2003.

There is a postcard view of The Golden Pheasant Restaurant, which was located on the ground flore of the Elkan Gunst Building, available online at: Screen=PROD&Store_Code=102&Product_Code=CA8490&Category_Code=San+Franc isco+Page+4

-- Noboru Watanabe (, May 23, 2004.

Wait -- here's a better example of the same thing:

Enjoy. The ground floor (yes, I do know how to spell "floor") is now a clothing store and the second floor is full of gaudy antiques.

-- Noboru Watanabe (, May 23, 2004.

(followup to previous post) Before it was Casual Corner, and (presumably) after it was the Golden Pheasant, the ground floor housed the Milton F. Kreis Waffle Restaurant (or somesuch). It was briefly visible in the beginning of the movie "Bullitt".

-- Steve Green (, July 25, 2004.

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