Inside the 1892 Hibernia Bank

The Hibernia Bank on Jones and McAllister streets was built in 1892. It was the first major project of architect Albert Pissis. The building was expanded in 1905. The building survived the Earthquake of 1906 but was damaged by the fire. The building has stood empty for over 20 years, although the SFPD used the basement as a headquarters from 1990 to 2000 while the Tenderloin Station was being built.

Richard Tobin, an Irishman who arrived in San Francisco during the Gold Rush in1849 was one of the founders of Hibernia Bank which was started in 1859. Hibernia is the Latin name for Ireland. Richard also established one of the oldest law practices in California, Tobin and Tobin, and his four sons later joined him in the firm which for a time had offices on the second floor of this building. Richard’s son Joseph married Constance DeYoung daughter of SF Chronicle founder Michael DeYoung. In the 1990s Hibernia Bank was taken over by Security Pacific and later folded into Bank of America.

Dolmen Property Group, a developer specializing in urban redevelopment, bought the building several years ago and there were rumors that it would become a nightclub. For the past 14 months, Landmark Construction have been working on seismic retrofit and rehabilitation of the historic structure which is set to be completed this fall. Seismic engineering was done by WJE, whose previous San Francisco projects include San Francisco City Hall, Sherith Israel Temple (also by architect Albert Pissis), the Cellblock at Alcatraz.

Recently we took a tour of historic Hibernia Bank building organized by Kelly Wong of WCAPT-- that's the Western Chapter of the Association for Preservation Technology -- and led by site managers from Wiss, Janey, Elstner engineering and Landmark Construction. Thanks to everyone for putting on this tour. Can't wait to see the finished building this fall!

More photos inside this historic building are posted on Pinterest at


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