"The best remaining example of its type in the city and
perhaps on the West Coast." William J. Hawkins, III
This Italianate building is a treat to behold, and it is the most recent surviving example of the cast-iron columns and arches that once dominated this neighborhood. Try to imagine storefronts like these going down the street as far as the eye can see.
Each floor of the Blagen Block has a different window design for maximum variety. The top three floors are brick, with cement plaster facing and some wood and iron detailing. The exterior's manifold embellishments are worth detailing; they include metal scrolls at the top of the building, and women's heads at the roof and fourth floor. (The Statue of Liberty was erected two years earlier, so their spiked crowns may be an homage to her.) Below them are gaping lions' heads by the second-story windows. At the side corners and center of the building are columns that also have lions' heads, in addition to scrolls, arrows, laurel and acanthus leaves, stars, and stripes.
This building was constructed to house a sail- and tent-making business. It's apparently an especially sturdy building, made to withstand vibrations from heavy machinery and a steam elevator. A restoration by Allen, McMath & Hawkins in the early 1980s involved removing many, many layers of paint to reveal the original blue-gray colors.