The Ferry Building Story
Ferry Building Mission
We are very committed to the artisan food community and to fostering the values of that community here at the Ferry Building. We envision the Ferry Building Marketplace as a vibrant gathering of local farmers, artisan producers, and independently owned and operated food businesses and the customers they serve. We’ve created a community of like-minded people to support our mission and key goals.
Showcase small regional producers that practice traditional farming or production techniques.
Promote the Bay Area's vast ethnic diversity and serve as an incubator for artisan producers.
Provide a central location for the promotion of the world-class food and wine producing regions of Northern California.
Collaborate with local transit authorities to build strong regional ties to the Ferry Building.
Operate as a community gathering-place for the celebration of local culture and cuisine.
Ferry Building History
What makes the Ferry Building San Francisco’s most famous landmark? First is its strategic location at the foot of Market Street --- on the western edge of the continent, and at the center of the city’s financial, banking and transportation district. Second is its history as the primary portal of the city. Third, is the dramatic clock tower that has been the icon of the San Francisco waterfront for more than a 100 years.
Opening in 1898, the Ferry Building became the transportation focal point for anyone arriving by train. From the Gold Rush until the 1930s, arrival by ferryboat became the only way travelers and commuters – except those coming from the Peninsula – could reach the city. Passengers off the boats passed through an elegant two-story public area with repeating interior arches and overhead skylights. At its peak, as many as 50,000 people a day commuted by ferry.
The opening of the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge, along with mass use of the automobile, rendered the daily commute by ferryboat obsolete. By the 1950’s, the Ferry Building was used very little. The historic interior of the Ferry Building structure was lost in 1955, when much of the building was converted to standard office space. The double-deck Embarcadero Freeway also cast its shadow for 35 years. until the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.
In March 2003, the landmark San Francisco Ferry Building reopened to the public after an extensive four-year restoration. The Ferry Building Marketplace -- a world class public food market -- is organized along a dramatic indoor street, the Nave. Today ferry terminals operate at Larkspur, Sausalito, Vallejo, and Alameda with plans for continuing network improvements and expansion.