The Sharon Building looks solid when viewed from the Palace Hotel across the street. But walk along New Montgomery back toward Market and you’ll see that the front of this building is no more than a shallow façade.
Architect George Kelham ingeniously used this skinny structure to hide the parking lot behind it. The bulk of the Sharon Building runs along the Mission St. side, but Kelham put the main entrance on New Montgomery across from the Palace, which Kelham also designed. Other works by the architect include the art deco Shell Building at 100 Bush and the full-on gothic Russ Building at 235 Montgomery.
The engineering of this odd structure was done by 30-year-old Henry Brunnier, who moved his fledgling firm into the Sharon Building when it was completed in 1912. The firm is still there today. It’s engineered several Bay Area landmarks including the original Bay Bridge, the Bank of America tower, and the cross on Mt. Davidson.
On the ground floor of the Sharon is the House of Shields a venerable bar dating from the buildings beginning. The bar in here was originally designed for the Palace, but was moved here to make room for the Pied Piper painting by Maxfield Parrish. The Sentinel on the corner is a great place to pick up a sandwich or salad. It was originally a cigar store and newsstand.
Hidden behind the Sharon Building on Stevenson is the Palace Garage, designed by the O’Brien Brothers. It is one of the few garages in the city that has a car elevator and turntable. When it opened in 1921, it had furnished waiting rooms for chauffeurs complete with showers and a dressing room.