Pumping Station No. 2 - 1912
3445 Van Ness Avenue
National Registry of Historical Places No. 76000177
Neighborhood: Fort Mason
In the general election of 1909, the citizens of San Francisco passed a bond issue that created the San Francisco Fire Department Auxiliary Water Supply System. The AWSS is a fire hydrant system that is for the exclusive use of the Department. Chief Engineer Dennis Sullivan had been requesting this type of system from the City supervisors for years before the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906. After the Fire, everyone in the City saw the need for such a system, and plans for this massive engineering wonder were undertaken.
In the simplest terms, the AWSS is a gravity flow system with the highest point being a ten million gallon reservoir atop Twin Peaks. The AWSS flows through two additional water tanks, the upper Asbury Tank, and the lower Jones Street Tank, on Jones Street at Washington. The systems special hydrants are on a grid system with gates so that various sections can be closed, if necessary, in case of water main breaks like those that happened in the 1989 Earthquake. At the lowest end of the system, two pumping stations were built near the waterfront in case it should become necessary to add more water into the system. Pumping Station No.1 is located on the south side of the City, at 698 2nd Street, which is now also Department Headquarters. The other, Pumping Station No. 2, this building, is on the north side of the City. Both pumping stations are an integral part of the system. In addition, intake manifolds were placed along the waterfront so that the two new fireboats could pump saltwater to the system.
Pumping Station No. 2 was designed by the firm of Manson, Marsden, Caldwell & Co. in the Mission Revival style. The station is extensively documented
in the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record.
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