The Palace Hotel, a Landmark Project


The original Palace Hotel was built in 1875 and was considered the

"Jewel at the end of the trail" that led to the foothills of California and the

Gold and Silver rushes. William Ralston had set out to build a world-class

hotel and although he never saw it completed, the final result was truly

impressive. While the hotel for the most part withstood the 1906

earthquake, it was rebuilt at that time.


Today's hotel was brought back to its original splendor with a massive

renovation and restoration in 1991 when it reopened after being closed

for 27 months. Patrick J. Ruane, Inc. was one of the principal contractors

charged with the task of documenting the original ornamental plaster including taking castings and photographs in order to

to be able to faithfully reproduce the original splendor of the building after major parts including the Garden Court were

substantially demolished and rebuilt.


The major elements of the project included the Grand Ballroom, Garden Court, Ralston Room, French Parlor and the Main

Corridor. Included were 14 massive doorways, which were reconstructed. The doorways alone took over eight months to

cast and four more months to install. Additionally, 1500 feet of classically detailed frieze work would require a team of

dedicated skilled artisans over five months to complete. The project also included over 1000 lineal feet of plaster moldings,

4400 lineal feet of casts on the ceilings and over 42 three-piece columns and 22 ventilation grills. At the time, Jim Ruane,

president of the company, said, "I view this type of plasterwork as an art form. These walls and ceilings can't be slapped

together; they take time and patience to create. But I guarantee, San Francisco will treasure the results for a long, long



For their part in the renovation and restoration of the Palace Hotel, Patrick J. Ruane, Inc. was awarded a National

Preservation Honor Award in 1991 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.



283 WATTIS WAY SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA 94080-6715 650 616-7676 FAX 650 616-4750 2004 PATRICK J. RUANE, INC.