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Bank of Canton

Bank of Canton
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© Liza Prado
Type of Attraction
Buildings & Monuments
Interests That Apply
Local Culture, History, Architecture
More information here...
Price: Free
Is there parking?: Limited
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Water/Drinks: Available at attraction or nearby.
This is a good place to get: Snacks Dinner Lunch
Restrooms: Not Available
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Bank of Canton

One of Historic Chinatown's Originals

Off The Beaten Path

Address: Phone:
743 Washington St
San Francisco, CA 94108
+1 415 421 5215


From 1847-1849, this was the site of the first newspaper in San Francisco, The California Star, published by Sam Brannan. The Bank of Canton was originally built to house the Chinese Telephone Exchange in 1909 after the first building was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake. The female telephone operators who worked here each spoke not only English but also five dialects of Chinese. They also memorized the names of every one of their customers because in Chinatown people would want to be connected to a name, as it was considered to be rude to refer to a human being as a number. Therefore, to tell people with the same name apart, they also knew all of their addresses and job titles. The Telephone Exchange was closed in 1949, and the Bank of Canton took over the site in 1960. The building is a whimsical landmark and a historical part of Chinatown.

What you should know before visiting Bank of Canton

Times & Dates

Open Hours: 9am-5pm, Mon-Thurs; 9am-6pm, Fri; 9am-4pm, Sat
Notes: This building is best to view from outside the bank during daylight hours.
Visit Time: 30min-1hr
Average Wait Time: None
Price: Free


Outdoor with little or no covering.

Age Recommendations/Requirements

Ages Admitted: Infants/Toddlers (0-3yrs), Children (4-8yrs), Pre-teen (9-12yrs), Teen, Adult, Senior
Ages that would most enjoy this attraction: Children (4-8yrs), Pre-teen (9-12yrs), Teen, Adult, Senior
Groups that would most enjoy this attraction: Couples, Families, Friends, Groups, Solo Travelers


Best Modes of Transportation: Bus Walking
Parking Availability: Limited
Notes: Parking is not available at the bank itself and is only available on the surrounding streets.

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