Anson Hotaling (pronounced Hote-uh-ling) was a liquor and real estate bigwig. The Annex buildings were his warehouses from 1863-1947 and the middle building served as his office.
They are some of the best examples of 1860's Italiante architecture in San Francisco. Although the buildings have brick exteriors, they are covered in stucco, which has been scored to look like stone. (Note that a similar treatment was done on the Montgomery Avenue side of the Bank of Lucas, Turner & Co.). The office building at 451 has an extraordinary alternating arched and triangular window pediment treatments, in addition, cast iron shutters and pillars are at the street level. The current entrance to the Hotaling building has splendid stained glass sidelights on either side of the entry door. Someone was thinking of perservation, as the street side of the stained glass has a protective sheet of plain glass in front of the stained glass. It isn't until you go inside the vestible and look outside that you can truly appreciate the beauty of the design.
The East Annex building was once a stable for a hotel.
Remember the Belli building on Montgomery Street (the one that is currently covered with safety netting)? The back of the Belli building backed up to a wharf. We have just turned the corner from that building and Hotaling Place (the alley between the Hotaling buildings) has 2 wavy lines in concrete to show where the original shoreline of Yerba Beuna Cove was in 1847. I've traced these two lines in dotted red. The buildings on the right side of the picture covering in black netting are the back of the Belli building.
Now here's something really boggle your mind .. click again on the Hotaling Place shoreline picture. See the triangular shape at the end of the alley? That's part of the Transamerica Pyramid and in the mid-1850's, it would have been STANDING IN WATER.