The architect, Albert Pissis, was the first San Franciscan to study at the famed École des Beaux Arts in Paris and the Hibernia was to be the City’s introduction to this opulent style of Neoclassical architecture. The Hibernia, named after the classical Latin name for Ireland, was considered by Pissis’ contemporaries as the finest building in the City.
As one of the few downtown structures to survive the 1906 earthquake and fire, the Bank re-opened within two weeks of the earthquake, although it took a month for the steel doors of the safes to cool down sufficiently to allow them to be opened. San Francisco Historic Landmark #130, the Hibernia Bank now serves as a visible anchor for the City’s Mid-Market neighborhood and features unique Neoclassical Revival-style touches, including its grand domed entrance and giant exterior colonnade. The interior boasts breathtaking Tiffany-style skylights which bathe the main hall in a warm amber glow, as well as the original bank counter and vaults encased in red marble imported from Ireland.