Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California Street, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA
3200 California Street, San Francisco, CA
Find maps of San Francisco, CA
Documentation compiled after 1933.
Survey number HABS CA-2724
Building/structure dates: 1933 initial construction
Building/structure dates: 1985 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1991 subsequent work
Significance: The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco (JCC SF) was formally incorporated in 1930. However, its roots go back to 1874 with the establishment of the city's first Young Men's Hebrew Association (YMHA). The JCC SF reflects a progressive period in American history that resulted in the provision of services and facilities for the underprivileged, and/or for minority ethnic groups. The Jewish Community Center project reflected both national and local efforts to facilitate coordination and effective work among Jewish social, athletic, cultural and charitable organizations by gathering them under one roof. Nationwide the Jewish community was influential in group social work, helping to develop the profession of social workers, and a wide variety of inclusive charitable organizations. In the era spanning 1900 to 1940, Jewish leaders in many American cities promoted the local development of these community centers to serve their communities as a central location for public service organizations, and recreational and social venues. The JCC SF is not closely associated with any specific event in the history of San Francisco or community, nor with any one individual significant to the city, state or nation. However, it has provided important community services for nearly seven decades, and is associated with the history of the Jewish community in San Francisco and individuals who were involved in a wide range of activities and organizations that benefited the city. The JCC SF building is a 61,750 square foot, two-story structure constructed of reinforced concrete with a wood truss system, and features a central, gable roofed pavilion with its east-west axis parallel to California Street, and two gable-roofed wings. Materials include Spanish clay tile roofing, stucco exterior finishes, and painted wood windows and doors. Interiors include stained wood doors and paneling and trim, plaster and ceramic tile finishes. Significant interior building elements include a lobby skylight, interior patio with ornamental metal staircase and a tile clad fountain, and exposed wood trusses in the gymnasium. The building design is an example of the work of the well known San Francisco architect, Arthur Brown Jr., and the associated firm of Hyman & Appleton. Designed in a Mediterranean Style with Art Deco details, it is atypical in the context of Brown's well known Classical Revival styled buildings. The building is not as significant a design as that of the nearby synagogue, Temple Emanu-El, which was designed also by Brown. However, it represents a high level of finish on the exterior and within its primary public spaces. As a Mediterranean styled building, the JCC SF was typical of its era and surroundings, and it represents an eclectic design of the early twentieth century. Use of this style suggests the process of assimilation of European Jewish immigrants, and their direct efforts to secularize services and recreation to benefit the broader community.
Dinkelspiel, Lloyd W.
Hyman, Samuel Lightner
Stamets, John, Photographer
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
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