US Custom House
555 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
View map [a nongovernment website]
The U.S. Custom House is a historic custom house originally built for the U.S. Customs Service in the port of San Francisco. While the building continues to serve many of its original purposes, the U.S. Customs Service is now U.S. Customs and Border Protection, one of the building's two major tenants today.
Property Manager: Opelia Opelinia
Public Hours: 7 a.m.– 4 p.m. Monday through Friday (except federal holidays)
For more building information or service calls, see contact information at top right (or by scrolling down on mobile devices). For other federal government information, call 800-FED-INFO.
Parking and Public Transportation
There is no parking available in the building for the general public. Metered street parking is nearby. Commercial parking lots are within walking distance to the building. Public transportation is available via BART and Muni [a nongovernment website]. The nearest taxi stand is two blocks away on Clay Street at the Le Meridien Hotel.
All public visitors and contractors are required to pass through electronic security equipment. ADA access is available at the rear entrance to the building.
Major tenants are U.S. Customs and Border Protection and SSA's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. In the latest (2016) Tenant Satisfaction Survey, 55.5% rated the federal building and GSA services four or five on a five-point scale.
|AMENITIES||OPEN TO||LOCATION||HOURS OF OPERATION|
|Vending Machines||Public||1st floor, Room 127||24/7|
|Fitness Center||CBP Only||1st floor, Room 126||M-F 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.|
There is a snack bar open to the public on the first floor of the U.S. Appraisers Building at 630 Sansome Street.
Two large murals, Building the Panama Canal and Allegory of San Francisco, are incorporated into the curved end walls. Created by Abraham Lincoln Cooper in 1915, these paintings were restored in 1997.
History and Architecture
The first U.S. Congress established the U.S. Customs Service in 1789 to collect duties and taxes on imported goods, control carriers of imports and exports, and combat smuggling and revenue fraud. Until the federal income tax was created in 1913, customs funded virtually the entire government.
An earlier, more modest custom house, located on Battery Street between Jackson and Montgomery Streets, was demolished to make way for the present building. Ground was broken for the new custom house on January 28, 1906. Three months later, a devastating earthquake and subsequent fire decimated San Francisco. Because much of the city was being rebuilt simultaneously, there were severe labor and material shortages. As a result, construction of the custom house was not completed until 1911.
The U.S. Custom House is an excellent example of the Beaux Arts Classicism style of architecture, which is characterized by classical yet exuberant details. Many important federal buildings were designed in this style during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.
The U.S. Custom House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, seismic and other upgrades were made from 1993 to 1997.