old building in Aquatic Park

greenspun.com : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

I would like to know the identity and history of the white building located at the end of Van Ness Ave. near the entrance to Muni Pier. I've seen it in old photographs with a tall chimney that is no longer there.

-- Sharman Duran (sharman@sharmanduran.com), November 25, 2004


That's the City's emergency pumping station built in the wake of the 1906 earthquake. Designated "San Francisco Fire Department Pump Station #2", its role is to pump saltwater from SF Bay in a firefighting emergency. (In 1906, most of the fresh water pipelines broke, leaving no defense against spreading fires.) Completed in 1910 (I think) it's been on stand-by duty for the better part of a century. However, last I heard the station has ever actually pumped water through the city system, due to the corrosive effects of sea water on cast iron and steel pipes.

The station was originally a steam-powered plant but converted to diesel operation in 1976. When the changeover was completed, the smokestack was torn down.

-- John Martini (jamartini@slip.net), November 26, 2004.

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