Advocates, Neighbors Hold Rally for the 120th Anniversary of the Geneva Office Building

The Friends of the Geneva Office Building & Powerhouse and supporters gather in front of the Geneva Office Building in celebration of its 120th anniversary. David Horowitz/Ingleside Light

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The Friends of the Geneva Office Building & Powerhouse, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and activation of the historic Geneva Office Building and Powerhouse, held a physically distanced rally for the building complex’s 120th anniversary.

Community leaders, neighborhood advocates and plein air painters joined the FGOBP board of directors members to hold signs and pass out stickers, postcards, commemorative enamel pins and face masks. [Disclosure: This reporter is a member of the FGOBP board of directors.]

Motorists honked horns and curious passersby stopped to learn more.

The FGOBP is presently working with the district supervisor and the Recreation and Parks Department to begin renovation of the Geneva Office Building. The Geneva Powerhouse was completed in 2020 and subleased to the nonprofit Performing Arts Workshop to conduct programs.

On April 22, 1901, the building opened to serve as an office for the San Francisco & San Mateo Electric Railway. In the 1940s, the San Francisco Municipal Railway purchased the facility for its streetcar operations.

In 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake forced the San Francisco Municipal Railway to put the Geneva Office Building and Powerhouse out of commission. The agency intended to tear down the building for parking until neighborhood advocates appealed to Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr. to save it in 1999. 

In 2002, the nonprofit Friends of the Geneva Office Building & Powerhouse was formed to formally advocate for the preservation, restoration, and activation of the historic landmark. The building was transferred into the possession of the RPD for one dollar.

Last year, the Geneva Powerhouse renovation was completed. The more significant Office Building requires serious funding to get underway.

At a special gathering of community leaders to ring in the 120th anniversary held in the Geneva Powerhouse, District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai and RPD General Manager Phil Ginsburg gave FGOBP founder and board chair Dan Weaver an award for his decades-long commitment to the building.

Performing Arts Workshop will hold its first in-person classes at the Geneva Powerhouse in July.

For more information, visit www.fgobp.com.