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American Can Building

A maker mecca that was once a can factory dominates Third street today with groundfloor shops and restaurants with workshops above, serving the whole community.

By 1910 there were few large industrial parcels remaining in Dogpatch or elsewhere on Potrero Point. Although Santa Fe Land Improvement Company continued to develop some of their remaining parcels in the next two decades, few of these developments exceeded 20,000 square feet.

 

American Can Company was the last major industries to construct a large-scale industrial plant in the largely built-out Potrero Point industrial zone. Early in 1915 the company, the largest manufacturer of tin cans in the United States, purchased a large two-square block tract of land bounded by Kentucky Street on the west, 20th Street on the north, Illinois Street on the east and 22nd Street on the south for $172,000.

 

This parcel, which had belonged to the Crocker Estate, had for most of its history, remained largely vacant and had been most recently a baseball field. The company blasted away the serpentine and constructed a tremendous concrete-frame factory (seen in the upper photo to the left mid-build looking northwest from Irish Hill). The factory was completed in June 1916 and it accommodated 1,200 workers, becoming one of the largest employers of workers in Dogpatch during the 1930s and after the Second World War it became the single-largest employer in Dogpatch. American Can Company manufactured tin cans and also canned fruit, employing a large number of women who were reputedly better at the work.

Visit dogpatchna.org/scavenger-hunt to join the community fun as our gift to you during this year's "holidays at home" Shelter in Place.