The Belli Building
722 Montgomery Street

03 01 belli and Genella (45K) we have now arrived at the first point of interest on our walking tour: the Belli building. Unfortunately, it is undergoing external cleaning and the entire outside of the building is obscured by safety netting. [sigh] BUT .. I will not be thwarted! I was able to find a slightly better view of the Belli Building and its neighbor, the Genella Building.

And just who are the brain-dead IDIOTS who tagged the roofline? Cripes, graffitti bugs the heck out of me. In the course of everyday life, it is merely irrititaing, but to find graffitti on historic buildings is beyond the pale. Taggers: find SOME OTHER WAY to document your existance and prove you live. No one appreciates your "art".

The Belli building was built in 1851 as a warehouse ON THE WATERFRONT of Yerba Buena cove. Wharves over the water were in the back of the building. It has a lovely brick exterior, dentiled cornices at the roofline and arched pediments over the windows. This is a very typical Gold Rush-era architecture. As with a lot of buildings in the area, it is built on a very thick "raft" of redwood beams .. in fact, nine layers of redwood tree trunks had been put down in the mudflat muck of the cove's beachhead to create a solid foundation on which to build this two story brick structure... covered with bay mud and landfill.

The well-known lawyer, Melvin Belli bought this building in the 1960's and the Genella building next door for his law offices until 1997.

During the writing of this adventurelogue, I had been corresponding with a wonderful gentleman, Ron Henggeler, who is a professional photographer and historian. From him, I learned that what LOOKS like the Belli Building is a facade only ... there is a HUGE construction site hole behind the building front. The building stood for 145 years; I don't know why it is now gone. I can only hope that restoration of one of the original San Francisco 1850's buildings was beyond hope. What a shame.

If you go to Ron's site, he has a picture of the back of the Belli Building facade and further links with more information about the building.