Julie and I are enjoying a week in San Francisco and I had an opportunity to tour the Old Mint building over the weekend with the San Francisco Museum & Historical Society. Given the fact that this building was used until sometime in 1937, at least the very first series of Type I ingots had to be produced here.
The building itself remains a magnificent landmark but has recently become the focus of a legal battle between historical societies vying for control as well as responsibility for improvement plans and future use.
The north side courtyard and entry are presently being used for building access.
The lower level mainly consists of vault rooms with many older vault doors remaining intact like the first one on the left. While much has been restored to original condition, electrical lighting and of course, life safety components, have been added over the years.
Original construction design techniques included both security as well as earthquake protection. Massive 4' thick stone and masonry walls are used throughout the lower level.
Remnants of original gas lighting controls can be seen throughout the building. The bank of valves below was one of the main lighting control centers.
The main level has also been restored as close to original as could be determined. The small black objects along the ceiling line are original gas light fixtures.
The room below is one of the two identical original assay offices. Across the hall from each other, one served as receiving for precious metals and the other for payout after assaying and evaluation were complete. These rooms have been restored wonderfully, down to matching the original paint colors.
The upper portions of the assay offices are perimeter walkways where armed guards mantained watch over operations below.
A neat experience spending time in the Old Mint and thinking about standing where people dropped off scrap silver and came back for the ingots I now treasure.