San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom has honored one of the oldest retail firms in the Bay Area by proclaiming March 19 as Shreve & Co. Day. The company will celebrate the Centennial with a series of special events and sponsorships throughout 2006.
The venerable jeweler moved to its current location on Post Street and Grant Avenue on March 19, 1906—a month before the great earthquake that rocked the city and the fire that followed. The Shreve Building was among the few that were left standing after the disaster.
Today, a visit to the Shreve building provides a rare glimpse of San Francisco before the great cataclysm. The exterior of the store remains unchanged. Inside, marble columns which survived the fire still grace the interior along with Mahogany cases, dating from the reconstruction. The original vaults also survived the great quake and fire (with the jewels of that time intact) are still in use today.
The venerable jeweler was established in 1852 just four years after the discovery of gold in the California hills. The first store, at the corner of Montgomery and Clay Streets showcased fancy European Goods, California-made jewelry, and silver, designed and manufactured in Shreve’s own factory. In 1894, the company incorporated as Shreve & Company and moved to a location on Market Street, across from the Grand Palace Hotel, moving from there to the Shreve Building in 1906.