New Email Series Highlights The Geneva Office Building And Powerhouse’s History

Eight emails delivered over as many days illuminates the former transit facility’s architecture, labor battles and more.

photo collage
A letter written by Charles Smallwood to his nephew Carl has been a gift to historians about the past of the Geneva Office Building & Powerhouse and more.
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An eight-part series of articles all delivered by email that detail little known aspects of the historic Geneva Office Building and Powerhouse was released to the public today.

The nonprofit Friends of the Geneva Office Building & Powerhouse, a booster group dedicated to the historic landmark building’s preservation, created the history email series for the office building’s 120th anniversary, which they celebrated in April. Ingleside Light Publisher Alex Mullaney, a member of the group’s board, led the effort.

The history email series opens with an essay by San Francisco historian Woody LaBounty and ends with a Q&A with FGOBP founder Dan Weaver. In between are articles about the building’s architecture, the land it sits on and more.

“FGOBP’s email project is a great way of introducing San Franciscans to the long, complex and important transit history of our city,” founder of FGOBP Dan Weaver said.

While the powerhouse has been fully restored by the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, the plan for renovating the much larger office building remains tentative. As part of their push to complete the project, FGOBP started a book project to raise awareness and funding.

“For twenty years FGOBP has been working to save, restore and return to community service these buildings,” FGOBP board member and email series contributor Lisa Dunseth said. “We got the Powerhouse done. We got a book about the building in the pipeline and then COVID-19 hit.”

Dunseth thinks the series will rekindle interest and broaden the nonprofit’s reach to younger residents who prefer reading on their smartphones.

“We hope you enjoy reading what we came up with, that your curiosity is piqued, and that you’ll join us as we work to bring the office building back to life,” Dunseth said. “Because the Geneva Office Building deserves all the attention she can attract and has a great story to tell. We hope you’ll enjoy reading about her.”

For more information about the Friends of the Geneva Office Building & Powerhouse, visit To sign up for the history email series, click here.

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