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