Market Street and Powell, was completed in 1877 at a cost of $3,000,000. This six-story, 400 room hotel was considered the finest west of New York. Baldwin spent $1 million on its furnishings. For $4 a day, one could have a parlor, a bedroom with bath and enjoy three meals. Inside the hotel was the Baldwin Academy of Music, one of San Francisco’s posh theaters. The “Baldwin” appealed to the always fashionable audiences, comfortable in its 1,969 red plush seats, surrounded by velvet hangings, gilt scrolls and filigree work. This fit in with all that the rich of San Francisco approved.
Its opening, starring the famous Barry Sullivan, was a brilliant social event. Baldwin gave David Belasco his start at his theater and encouraged his unique talents. Managing the Baldwin became David Belasco’s first big break.
Uninsured, the hotel and theater were completely destroyed by fire on November 28, 1898.
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Carol Libby & Karen Hou
Arcadia Historical Society