Saved by Whiskey
If every block in San Francisco is a short story, as writer William Saroyan said, then some buildings are novels. The Audiffred Building, located in the Embarcadero, is one of them.
In 1889, Hippolite d’Audiffret, a French businessman who had been living in Mexico and allegedly walked from Veracruz to San Francisco, had the Audiffred built—with a tiled Mansard roof and a nautically-themed frieze in bas-relief—as an homage to his home country.
The Audiffred Building served as headquarters for the City Front strike in 1901 and again in the 1934 Waterfront Strike. The strike was settled but, with big changes in the maritime business, San Francisco faded away as a seaport. The Audiffred fell on hard times taking in sailors who were houseless and bohemian artists and writers, including Elmer Bischoff and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
“SAN FRANCISCO IS ART. EVERY BLOCK IS A SHORT STORY.”
– Writer, William Saroyan
A domed penthouse, where you’ll find Millstein Fellner LLP, was added in the post-fire reconstruction. The Embarcadero Freeway came down after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and the Audiffred’s bay view was back in all its glory. The building, with its rich history, remains one of San Francisco’s most-iconic and storied landmarks.