Unofficial Website for Historical Artifacts from the Palace Hotel.

     Throughout the main hallway in the Palace Hotel, there are various display cases with original artifacts from the hotel dating from 1909 up until the 1980s. The images on the right showcase the items that were displayed during my 2019 visit. 

     It is easy to search online and come across countless photographs, menus, letters, and other paper ephemera from the Palace Hotel. I tend to look past the ubiquitous artifacts and focus on those that were used in everyday life in the Palace. Such items I look for include original hotel fixtures, silver, keys and fobs, and among the most elusive - gold rimmed china and etched crystal from its dining room service. 

     I have come across many china pieces from the 1950s to the 1980s  - many of which were likely sold off when the Sheraton-Palace held an auction to sell off most of the old furniture, fixtures and finery on February 22nd, 1989 during its renovation. Unfortunately, the more modern pieces do not appeal to me as much. Most of what I have been collecting dates from the original hotel up to the 40s. I often wonder if items such as the gold service settings from the original Palace Hotel survived the fire (even if such settings were ever made?) Even if broken and salvaged by looters, where may some of these pieces be? The speculation that some of these original items could

Palace Artifacts

still be out there is one more layer of fascination of the Palace Hotel that still lures me to search out every piece I can.

     I suppose the only disappointing thing about the Palace today is the use of plain white china and unmarked silverware. I think it takes something away from the experience, though I can understand the reasoning - to prevent guests and collectors from absconding them as souvenirs. This seems commonplace for any hotel (historic or not) in the present day. On the random occasion, you can purchase reproduction items in the hotel gift shop. During my visit, I was collecting and purchasing what I could with the PH logo to add to my collection.

     Another thing I find interesting (and annoying) regarding the hotel memorabilia trade in general is how prevalent the practice of "buying and reselling for a profit" is. A Palace Hotel key and fob for room #8055 sold on eBay for just under $100. The average price for this style is $50 to $150 depending on condition. The same key and fob was relisted a short while later on Etsy for a seriously unrealistic $495.00! The same went for a c1930s water pitcher I was bidding on to try and add to the collection. I was outbid at $400, which is where the approximate value stands. It was disheartening to find that the winning bidder wasn't a Palace Hotel collector and just relisted it on Etsy with a nearly 100% mark up of $775.00! Another example is a 1909 silver water pitcher that was marked up by several hundred dollars - sold for $610 and reappeared days later for $895, then shortly after upped to $987.00! Even a small silver creamer that sold for $20 and relisted for $130! These are just a few of the overpriced items I've seen listed there. It seems a good rule of thumb is do not buy anything from the Palace Hotel on Etsy, as the sellers just bought it elsewhere and marked it up a ridiculous amount to try and make a profit. Unless someone with deep pockets is absolutely desperate for a PH piece, these sellers will ever realize the amounts they are asking for. The upcharge on these was so high that I wanted to share what the actual value of these items are compared to the for-profit "value". Ironically, silverware from the Palace is the only item that you can get for reasonable rates, as there does not seem to be as much interest in it. Only the rarest of the rare Palace Hotel pieces command such prices, and those are usually from the original hotel. Even the artifacts I purchased that were found in the rubble after the 1906 fire I didn't pay more than $100 for all together. Still, the sad fact is 95% of Palace Hotel items available for sale on any website are usually overpriced.















     The Palace artifacts shown below are all part of my personal collection that I began after visiting in April of 2019. As I attempted to begin researching these pieces, I was unable to find much regarding their years of manufacture and timeline of use in the hotel. Hopefully by posting what I have come across, others will be able to piece more of the timeline together and learn from the hotel's past. If you are aware of information regarding any of these pieces, feel free to contact me through the home page. 

     




     There is not much online regarding the items used in the original 1875 Palace Hotel; as most were destroyed in the 1906 fire and the history of those pieces were lost to time. However, I know items are out there for a few reasons. Like any hotel, I am sure the original got rid of old items as they were replaced with new, whether it was through an auction or giveaways. Guests also likely absconded pieces throughout the years as souvenirs. Finally, after the fire, looters would've found intact pieces amid the rubble, as the china and silver rooms were in the basement and are known to have survived.           

     After visiting the Palace in 2022, I learned that the hotel has a few items in its archives from the time of the earthquake - a bottle of 1906 champagne saved from the hotel, a spoon that was found in the fire, and original pieces of broken glass windows from the 1875 building. As time goes by, I have noticed pieces slowly creep into the market and I add them to the collection when I can.

     So many items I find online are engraved with the name Palace Hotel, and listed as coming from the San Francisco hotel, but there are numerous Palace Hotels around the world. One such pattern has a crown on the front with Palace Hotel on the back. These come from the (Helmsley) Lotte New York Palace Hotel. Another silver teapot I've seen had an elaborate PH engraved on the front, but had "Palace Hotels" underneath, referring to those in France. Silver with "Property of the Palace Hotel Company" isn't necessarily from the Palace Hotel (unless marked as such), but it could also have been used in the Fairmont Hotel in the 1910s since the company owned both hotels.















     The c1890s - 1906 silverware pattern used was made Reed & Barton. It was a fancier, vine style with The Palace Hotel engraved on the top handle named the "Royal" pattern. Reed & Barton's "Royal" pattern is essentially a twin sister to the "Cecil" pattern, both receiving the patent granted date of February 7th 1899, but the official pattern the Palace used was "Royal". Two post-1909 examples of this pattern are in the form of a demitasse spoon and claw tongs (below). There are also two close-ups of the pattern on later dinner forks I have below right. The new Palace continued this pattern on silverware after 1909, which has been noted in period photographs. Nearly all of the silverware in this pattern that comes up for sale was manufactured post-1909.















     

Bronze Gorham Co. matchbox holder / ashtray with the PH logo on both sides used in the 1930s. The same one can be seen in the image dated December, 1938. It is on the desk of Will P. Taylor when he became the new manager of the Palace with secretary Muriel Harmon. 

     

Original 1909 Palace Hotel brass door knob. As used in the hotel from 1909 to the present date. During our tour, I was told that as these have been breaking beyond repair, they are being replaced with more modern hotel lever handles - which is what our room had. Many of these can still be seen in the hallways of the hotel. This was my first acquisition from the Palace Hotel - and while I was there!

Four Palace Hotel keys and fobs and each one a different variation! As far as I know, these are the only four different variations made. The first is in mint condition and has a decorative relief at the bottom of the fob without a manager name for room #452. The back bottom has the makers mark "Whitehead Hoag". The second is marked on the front bottom: "Management Archibald H. Price" (Who was manager from c1934 to 1939) for room #3010.  The third doesn't have anything at the bottom on the front of the fob, for room #4045. The fourth is marked on the front bottom "Management Halsey E. Manwaring (1921 to 1932) for room #8031.  The back bottom has the full makers mark, "The Whitehead Hoag Co. Newark, N.J." This means this style of key fob was likely introduced in the late 1920s and used throughout the 1930s.

A room key and fob for room #7023, key stamped #81189. Made by Moise S.F. Based on the history of the above key, this set dates from the 1920s when the 1909 fob was still being used, but the newer locks and keys were being switched out. 

Fine porcelain tray created to commemorate the opening of the New Palace Hotel on December 16, 1909. Made by Bauscher Brothers, Weiden, Germany. I currently have two of these in the collection.

The most widely used pattern at the Palace Hotel: Bauscher Weiden floral serving platter & salad plate. Made by Arthur Schiller and Son. Chicago, 1929. Especially made for Palace Hotel, San Francisco. Used from the mid 1920s well into the 1940s. Rose Room dinner in 1946, Red Cross Lunch - May 1938, and Garden Club Display - May 1939.

     Two Palace Hotel glass carafes with stoppers, dates unknown - possibly 1920s/1940s. One is 11" tall, the other is 9" tall, both have the PH logo etched into the sides. 

    The only unfortunate part is each is slightly damaged by the previous owners. The large one has white spots all around the inside from a cleaning job gone wrong. I tried to correct it with countless solutions, but to no avail. 

    The owner of the smaller one did not want it known the piece came from the Palace and scratched out the words Palace Hotel on the logo. 

Original beaded crystal pendant piece from one of the Palace Hotel's chandeliers. I purchased this from a gentleman that worked as a houseman in the hotel in the early 1980s. He told me the night housemen used to be in charge of cleaning the 50+ chandeliers all throughout the hotel and several of these pieces ended up in the basement as spare parts in boxes soon forgotten. One interesting point he told me is that these were generally thrown in dishwashers to be cleaned and the chandeliers themselves were hosed down from time to time. In order to get a better image of it, it is on a glass carafe. The hotel historian told me these once belonged in the large floor chandeliers of the Garden Court, but they do not match the current ones. These could have been older pieces that were switched out at some point in time. The same teardrop pendants are shown in various Landmark 18 display cases. 

Left: Almaden Brut California Champagne label. Selected by Frank Schoonmaker for the Palace Hotel. Produced and bottled by Almaden Vineyards, Los Gatos, Santa Clara, California. I have seen this champagne on a 1951 menu.


Below: Stationary from the Palace Hotel. 1920s-40s.

Below: Gold rimmed china used in the Palace Hotel from c1910s to the 1940s. I currently have four demi cups (1925 & 1927) and four saucers, 4 dinner plates, two double-handle cups (1921), two side dishes, 2 small creamers, and a single serve teapot (1922). The earliest dated piece I've seen in this pattern was in the form of a compote bowl on a pedestal dated 1918, still manufactured by Buffalo China. Much simpler than the formal Gold Service, and used on a daily basis at the hotel. The 9th photo here was taken in the Garden Court in 1945 with the same china, and is the only photo I've seen with this pattern in use thus far. For quite a while, I was under the impression these pieces were only used from the 1940s and 50s. 

Palace Hotel demi cup and saucer from the 1980s service set. There are many of these china sets out there for sale, however they do not come close to the beauty of the earlier pieces from the hotel. These are also the least valuable of the Palace china, worth maybe $5.00 a piece.

Palace Hotel Tourist Brochure

Halsey E. Manwaring - Manager


Trifold that was once attached to a photo album. The backside (not shown) still has album paper on it from when it was unmounted. 1920s

Palace Hotel receipt - Paid Feb 27th, 1953.

Right & Below:


Palace Hotel Tourist Brochures
Halsey E. Manwaring - Manager


Trifold depicting the luxury and amenities of the Palace Hotel. Images include the Children's Nursery, Guest rooms, Palm Court, Rose Room, entrance, and Lobby. 


1920s.

Below: Tourist booklet for the Palace Hotel. Charles Stanley Sackett, Manager. I have been unable to find any dates for this manager, but I am assuming this is from the1960s.

This stunning silver water pitcher was created by Gorham for the 1909 reopening of the Palace Hotel. Bottom dated as such. Etched with the PH hotel crest, it measures 1-" high and 9" across from spout to handle. The Palace also made massive pitchers in the same pattern. Shown below still in use in February of 1936.

Another beautiful example of Palace Hotel silver. This one caught me by surprise because it is the first time I've seen the Palace Hotel crest and the words The Palace Hotel engraved under it. Silver insulated water jug made by Reed & Barton with the makers mark date of 1948 on the bottom. Measures in at 9" tall.

Palace Hotel Guest Room Soap

Dated February 22, 1945

on the back by hand. 

Below: Three vintage Palace Hotel Luggage Stickers. Circa 1930s.


Right: Two PH matchbooks c1930s.

Bronze Gorham Co. matchbook / match holder for the Palace Hotel. Missing the well-known PH crest, which wasn't inluded at the time. Dated 1909 on the bottom and made for the grand reopening of the Palace Hotel that year. The last photo shows an original 1909 silver place setting / 1927 gold service setting for a photo op with the same matchholder in the middle bottom. 

Palace Hotel dinner fork, knife, & spoons by Oneida Silversmiths. The pattern is named Clairhill-Fairhill and it was produced between 1978 and 2000. 


The Palace still uses this pattern today, but the name Palace Hotel does not appear on any of the pieces. The only silver with The Palace Hotel I observed when I was there are the chip dishes at the Pied Piper and the teapots with a generic Palace Hotel stamp in the Garden Court. You never would've guessed the teapots were from the hotel if you didn't see them in use there. 

Original 1909 Palace Hotel Artifacts

Silverware created for the 1909 reopening of the Palace Hotel. The four pieces on the left are backmarked Pat. 1908, Gorham and these were made for the grand reopening of the hotel in 1909. They have a simpler end on them and have the Palace Hotel on the underside of each piece. (I also have a pair of silver Gorham tongs from 1909 not shown). The 3 pieces on the right are made by International Silver. The PH crest is on the front of all pieces, these having a more intricate scroll design and nothing on the back. These were made later on for the hotel, possibly in the 1910s or 20s.

1910s and Beyond:

Small silver creamer with the Palace crest on the front. Quite banged up, but still a nice piece. Made by Reed & Barton, NS 723, 3 Oz, with the silver mark for 1935 on the bottom.

Left: Paper and pencil holder compliments of the Palace Hotel. The pencil is wooden and there are no more paper pieces left inside. Halsey E. Manwaring, Manager. c1920s.


Right: Small 5" silver PH tray. Reed & Barton. Dated to the 1920s. Has the PH logo stamped on the front and the plain script that appears on many pieces from these two decades. I have a 2nd with the logo off-center.

Palace Hotel silver teapot with PH crest and wooden handle. Made by Reed & Barton, with no dating symbol on the bottom means this is pre-1928. There is a 10 stamped into it, and it closely matches the 1909 silver pattern. I have also seen the same teapot but instead of the PH crest it has the script "Palace Hotel" like the piece below.

Below: Two trinket dishes from the Palace Hotel from 1927. Features the blue PH crest and gold rim. Back stamped: Patent applied for, Made especially for Palace Hotel San Francisco by Bauscher Bros. New York & Weiden Germany. With the Bauscher Weiden stamped into the piece and the number 284 on the first. A 1935 photograph shows the second dish on a dresser at the hotel. 


Then a Palace Hotel toothbrush holder, 4.25" tall and 2.5" across. It is shown in the bathroom of one of the images of the hotel's rooms from a souvenir booklet c1920s. The images also show the matchbook holder, spitoons, and trinket dishes. With several of these pieces in each room, it's no wonder this pattern is the easiest to find! The largest piece I have is a water pitcher that measures 7.5" tall and 4.5" across from 1928. I also have a compote bowl measuring 3.5" high and 6" across with no bottom marks. Finally, a small 2.5" x 3.5" demi cup in the tri-band pattern, originally part of the Bartolome collection. 


The largest known piece made in this pattern is an umbrella holder, which also appeared in one of the room photographs (not shown). I once saw one for sale online, but the seller wanted an unrealistic amount for it. 

     The second most widely used pattern in the Palace Hotel was that of this green banded china. Pieces had a simple green band filled in with a lighter bluish-green color and had a hunter green version of the logo. All of the pieces I have are dated from between 1917 and 1925 and can be seen in photographs up into the 1940s. I currently have 4 demi cups & saucers, coffee creamer, butter pat, two 9" dinner plates, three 5.5" dishes, vegetable dish, 11.5" platter, 9 3/4" platter, small scalloped dish, cereal bowl, and coffee cup.

     The majority of this china was made by Buffalo China, however the two dinner plates and 2 cup/saucer sets were made by Warwick. 

Probably the most unique piece I have in the collection is a special order Krauss pewter ice cream mold for the Palace Hotel SF. Dated 1915, though it is missing the original top. The mold is specifically known as the Panama Cup. It was specially commissioned from Krauss in connection with The Panama–Pacific International Exposition world's fair held in San Francisco from February 20th to December 4th, 1915. The exposition's stated purpose was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, but it was widely seen in the city as an opportunity to showcase its recovery from the 1906 earthquake. This mold has the PH on the front and the crest birds on either side. It would've been a great way to promote the hotel with a mold so fancy. It also came with a small pear mold with a paper sale label for the PHSF. 

Palace Hotel Door Stop. Large silver door stop measuring 4 5/8" high and 6" long. The PH crest is in a large format on the front. Palace Hotel is written on one side, and San Francisco is on the other. I would imagine these were used for the larger doors of the ballrooms, Rose Room, or Palm Court during the 1910s through1930s. 

Beautiful sepia Palace Hotel brochure from the mid-1930s under A.H. Price. The favorite brochure of mine in the collection. I took this to the hotel in 2022 and photographed it several times in the Garden Court.

Below left to right: Cobalt blue Wheelock souvenir plate, pitcher, top hat toothpick holder, and single flower vase purchased at the original hotel. With gold trim, backmarked "Wheelock, Dresden, Germany." The last piece is a white dish with a faded gold band, backmarked, "Made in Germany for Chas. Brown & Son, San Francisco, Cal. All likely purchased inside the original hotel as souvenirs. 

"Reproduction of Famous Painting by MAXFIELD PARRISH in Buffet. The Pied Piper. PALACE HOTEL, San Francisco." Medium sized paperweight with the famous painting above the bar in the Pied Piper. Date unknown. 

Small Gorham & Co. silver tea strainer. Fits inside a demitasse cup, stamped with a sword, the Gorham marking for the year 1917. 

Bath towel from the Sheraton Palace Hotel. The hotel had this name designation from 1954 to 1995, though it is likely this dates from the early 1990s. 


Beautiful image of the PH crest on the one side, Sheraton Palace on the other. 

Sheraton Palace Hotel swizzle stick. Brown with gold inlay. 

Right: Palace Hotel Garden Court ashtray in green. The glass is yellowed from the years of handling cigarettes. Likely 1980s.


Far Right: Palace Hotel ashtray, blue lettering and logo. c1930s / 40s. Not from the Sheraton Palace days, but I wanted to place it with this ashtray.

Small souvenir dish with the Palm Court in a transfer picture on the front. Marked Bauscher Bros, New York and Weiden, Germany. Date unknown, but Bauscher Brothers were creating pieces for the hotel during the 1910s and 1920s. I currently have 2 of these.

A stunning 3 candle candelabra by Reed & Barton. Dated to 1947, and bottom marked Palace Hotel, these pieces were used for special events, banquets, and buffets. It has two of the original inserts for the candles at the top. One is missing.


The same style in 5 candle form can be seen in this vintage photograph of the Happy Valley Cocktail Lounge in the background. The Palace's single candlestick holders also have the same simple name marking on the bottom.

In addition to the butter pat above, I have two other survivors that were found in the ruins of the building after the fire. First is a small link of crystals once belonging one of the Palace Hotel chandeliers. The Palace only installed crystal chandeliers with this style of beading sometime in the late 1890s / early 1900s. The fourth photograph shows some of these chandeliers just 2 months before the earthquake and fire. (Courtesy of Dowling Library at the UICC). Measuring 5" across, there are 5 crystals with one broken piece at the end. The third photo shows a close-up of the broken end crystal and a piece of broken debris that is actually melted into the second to last crystal.



Below that is a small oyster / cocktail fork that was also found in the ruins. There is no patent date on the back, just Reed & Barton, Banquet Plate. Previously owned by a hotel historian in California, I jumped on this piece when I came across it. Most of what remained of the original Palace Hotel ended up in Sebastopol in a 1906 San Francisco earthquake dump. Silent reminders of the disaster that befell the city on April 18th, 1906.

This matchbook holder is a confusing one. Made by Jas. M. Shaw, New York, this is the only non-china example I found the company made. The company operated from the late 1800s to early 1900s from what I could find. Done in a beautiful art deco style, it appears it would belong to the original 1875 hotel, but the PH logo is the new 1909 hotel version. Definitely a difficult piece to place time wise - likely 1910s.

Sheraton Palace Hotel sewing kit. Complete and still sealed in its original plastic. 

Palace Hotel Lobby Phone Book.

Manufactured May 7th, 1949, missing the original San Francisco phone book inside, but it retains 3 pages front and back of various advertisements and names of companies that supplied the Palace Hotel with various goods and services. 

Silver butter dish / knife rest stamped with the Palace Hotel logo. Made by Gorham and dated 1909, this was made for the hotel's grand reopening and was part of the gold service china settings. The Palace released the above photo of its 1927 Gold Service settings on display with the 1909 silver. The same trays can be seen in the image. 

Two porcelain Sheraton Palace bud vases. Gold PH logo on the front, Sheraton Palace and phone number on the back. 

A key fob for the 1909 grand reopening of the Palace Hotel, measuring 2.5". The front of the tag has the PH crest in the center and San Francisco at the bottom. On the reverse side is "Palace Hotel, Return Unsealed - We Guarantee Postage, San Francisco, Calif." Likely manufactured by Moise & Klinker Co. S.F. 

Sheraton Palace Hotel - 1954 to 1995

    I've named this the bluebell pattern due to the bluebells and ribbon around the rim, though its true pattern name is lost to time. Below I also have 2 original 3.5" butter pats from the Palace Hotel. One is a brand new butter pat that was made in 1906 by Bauscher Bros. This piece had to have been made between January and March 1906, then had to make the long trip to the hotel in San Francisco. It likely arrived just before April 18th, 1906 and could've been taken from one of the dining rooms after the earthquake by someone who saw the fires coming and wanted to save it. Absolutely mint condition, and the logo shines in a beautiful metallic gold in the light - the photo doesn't do it justice! I'd venture to say this was never even used!


     Then the fires reached the Palace and burned the once beautiful hotel to the ground, leaving only a brick shell. The second butter pat is a survivor of the fire, having been picked out of the rubble. The front is completely discolored, with soot and dirt fragments melted into the underside and rim. The china room was in the basement of the original hotel, which may have helped it escape the worst of the damages. This pat was likely sandwiched between others, protecting it from being completely destroyed. Both are amazing pieces to have displayed side by side to show a before and after of that fateful day. 

I currently own four plates and two bowls from The Palace Hotel's famous Gold Service which was used only on very special occasions. The service was fine Bavarian 'Black Knight' bone china made in 1927 by CM Hutschenreuther AG in Selb, Germany. It features a laurel leaf style pattern that has 14k gold bIended into the gold gilding.


What I originally found curious is that while this is referred to as the 1909 Gold Service in the lobby of the hotel, all of the pieces that I've seen are from 1927. All I could surmise is that for some reason, the Palace reordered its entire Gold Service china in 1927, but where were the 1909 pieces? I was unable to view the markings on the pieces in the lobby / Landmark 18 to see what the dates were, but they were certainly 1927. Black Knight only just began operating in 1925 (until 1941), so there was no way they also made the original gold service settings. 


The answer hid within the large photograph "Banquet in the Garden Court for the reopening of the 'New' Palace Hotel" in Landmark 18. It was detailed enough that I was able to look closely at the china on the tables. As it turns out, the place settings used for the 1909 reopening were a different pattern than this, and it appears it had the PH crest in a dark blue unless the gold photographed very dark. What really surprised me is that the Palace Hotel doesn't even seem to have an example from 1909, as there were none anywhere in the hotel on display! At this point, I am willing to bet the Palace never had a gold service set in 1909, only coming into one in 1927. I also have never seen one anywhere online, which truly makes it rare. It makes me wonder what happened to it all!? The original Palace was rumored to have 100 sets of Gold Service china that were destroyed in the fire. Were there only limited sets made of this china as well? The photograph would suggest otherwise as I counted almost 400 people in the image, and it's obvious many more were cut out of it. I would assume that by 1927 when the new Gold Service was ordered, the original settings were lost, broken, taken as souvenirs, or worse - thrown out!


The Gold Service below is specific to 1927 and not from 1909. While several examples of silver are around from 1909, the china remains illusive. I hope to one day come across a piece to add to the collection online. The last three photos are a mock formal dinner setting with all of the Palace Hotel pieces I currently have in my collection.

Palace Hotel Happy Valley / Pied Piper Napkin.

c1940s-50s.

The Palace Hotel, San Francisco

Archibald H. Price, Manager

Matchbook holder / ashtray.

1934 - 1940.

Right: Palace Hotel glass mug. Post-Sheraton Palace, dating between 1995 and 2015. Original barcode on the bottom, so a souvenir of the hotel's gift shop.


Far Right: Standard coffee mug from the Palace Hotel in green & gold. M Ware, China.

Another piece of chandelier from the Palace Hotel. Purchased from Carol, who was in charge of the cleaning and maintenance of their chandeliers 30 years ago - 1990s. She had this piece for quite some time, but did not remember which chandelier it came from. The historian at the hotel told me the crystal bell did not match any chandeliers in the hotel pre or post renovation, but the beading matches what is used in the Gold Ball Room. Is it possible this belonged to another hotel Carol worked at and got the two confused? Another likely answer is that they came from a chandelier that no longer exists. Continued below: 

It is not often that I come across an artifact from the hotel that still retains its history like this does.


     Born in 1882, John McGinnis Williams was the first manufacturer of plywood in Queensland, Australia. In 1918 when the war was over he decided to visit plywood mills in Oakland, California to research improvements for his manufacturing processes. He left Australia by the ship Ventura and arrived at San Francisco in January 1919. His accommodation was none other than the Palace Hotel! Upon his departure, he forgot to return his hotel key. A few weeks later, he returned to Australia on the Ventura via Honolulu and Pago Pago. At the same time the Spanish Flu arrived. From Sydney he travelled by train but was stopped at the New South Wales/Queensland border and quarantined for 7 days. Eventually, the Palace Hotel key and fob below ended up in Brisbane, Australia. After his passing, the key and fob went to his daughter, Julie, through which I purchased it in 2021. She was kind enough to share her father's story and photos of him as well. While I am not always certain that Palace keys and fobs belong together or were changed out over the years, it is certain that this is the exact set that was used in 1919. The only mystery is that there is no room number listed, and the key is awfully small, which makes me wonder if it wasn't used for another room. I took this piece back to the hotel in 2022 and photographed it throughout the rooms and Garden Court. 


Photo No. 1: Wallangarra Quarantine Station on the border of New South Wales and Queensland (Possibly with the key in his pocket in this image). John had to share a tent with three other people. He is the one seated on the ground with the pipe. Note the souvenirs displayed on the tent.

Photo No. 2: The hydroplane 'Century Tire' that John McGinnis Williams had shipped to Australia from Chicago in 1923. John won the Griffith Australasian Championship Cup in 1924 and 1925 with Century Tire.

Palace Hotel Brass Luggage Tags - #38, #83 & #217 with the original leather strap. c1880s. The only way I knew these were from the PHSF is due to Bruce Cooper's website.

     On June 1st, 1898, General Arthur MacArthur received word he was to be assigned to the Philippines as one of the leading generals. The planning for this campaign began in the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Rooms 170 and 172 were used for the state military headquarters on the first floor. After training, he and his brigade sailed across the Pacific on June 26th, 1898.


     The next time the MacArthur family would visit the Palace Hotel would be for President Roosevelt’s visit in May of 1903. General Arthur MacArthur was a guest at the president’s golden banquet and a young Douglas was also in attendance. The hotel would become their home for the next several days. During one of these visits (likely 1898), this Palace Hotel key and fob for Room 315 left the hotel in one of their pockets or luggage trunks as a souvenir. It was also the last known time the MacArthur’s would stay in the original hotel before the 1906 earthquake and fire.


     Throughout the early 20th century, General Douglas MacArthur would visit the new Palace Hotel several times, along with his personal clerk E.R. "Curley" Vadeboncoeur, who he became very close with. Vadeboncoeur would serve with MacArthur throughout World War 2 as a journalist and afterwards, he became the General Manager of WSYR Radio and Television Operations. His daughter, Joan E. Vadeboncoeur, was a famous entertainment columnist for the Post-Standard. The Vadeboncoeurs often rubbed elbows with the rich and famous of the 1900s. E.R. also belonged to the secretive Bilderberg Group in Europe.


     When Douglas MacArthur passed away in 1964, many of his belongings, including this key and fob, went to Vadeboncoeur. It remained in his collection until his death in 1986, where his belongings stayed with his sister Joan until her death in 2011. Without any children or close relatives, the estate of Joan and E.R. “Curley” were auctioned off by Magees Auction House in Syracuse, New York where they had lived.

One lot included three items: The original Palace Hotel key and fob for Room 315, and two leather Bilderberg pouches with a metal signature plate of Vandeboncoeur’s name and key to an unknown bank safe deposit box. This, among other lots, was purchased by a gentleman just down the road. As he was looking into the history of the Palace Hotel, he came across my website and after lengthy discussions about its history, I was able to purchase it for the online Palace Hotel collection. It also came with E.R.'s Bilderberg leather pouch and signature plate. 


     Online auction records show one other key and fob like this for room 127, which sold in April of 2021, but did not give any other information. Still, it is a fascinating piece of history with a story to match!

Palace Hotel key & fob once belonging to General Arthur MacArthur / General Douglas MacArthur

Palace Hotel Silverware Set of 4, c1930s. Picked up at an estate sale and the back story is either the lady's father or grandfather was a San Francisco garbage man and after high end dinner events these were accidentally thrown away with the trash! He would find these in the trash when picking up from the hotel and save them to take home. Also shows my pre-1909 butter knife on the far right, which is the only other silverware piece I have from the original hotel. Photographed these on my table so they would stand out more than on a white background.

A crystal pear and leaves - which once hung on one of the chandeliers in the Rose Room in the Palace Hotel. An original 1909 piece! Purchased from Carol, who was in charge of the cleaning and maintenance of their chandeliers 30 years ago - 1990s. Photographs of the Rose Room chandeliers and the same piece in the Landmark 18 museum collection, April 2022. As far as Palace Hotel memorabilia goes, this is one of the rarest pieces there is!

An 11" silver oyster plate by Gorham Manufacturing Co. Dated 1909 and made for the grand reopening of the Palace Hotel. It has a great deal of scuffing and some silver loss inside the oyster cups, but it polished up beautifully!

A Reed & Barton silver dish for the 1875 Palace Hotel. This script and style was made for the original Palace Hotel - though at what point I do not know. The new Palace is not known to ever have used this pattern of silver.

Graduation card for San Francisco School of Nursing, Class of 1926. The photo is of Edna Claxton and her invitation to a reception at the Concert Hall of the Palace Hotel is still attached. 

A small Reed & Barton silver cup, pre-1928 since it is lacking any markings. An interesting thing about this piece is that it is missing the "Fra" in Francisco at the bottom. I was gifted this piece while at the Palace Hotel in 2022.

Large wine glass that was once used in the Tudor Room, showing the crest on the front. c1960s.

Right: A Raymond's Vacation Excursions card c1880 / 1890s. Mr. W.H. Anderson and Miss Francine Anderson in Room 142. 


Far Right: Embossed white postcard for the old Palace Hotel created just before the new one was finished. Postmarked February 15th, 1909. 

Cashed check to the Palace Hotel, San Francisco from Hotel El Rancho Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Bank of Nevada, April 9th, 1954 for $28.43. 

A stunning Palace Hotel trinket dish from the original 1875 building. Backmarked "Especially made for PALACE HOTEL SAN FRANCISCO by Bauscher Bros. New York & Weiden, Germany. Reg U.S. Pat Off. 


This pattern is known to have been used c1900 to 1906. Once the new 1909 hotel was built, the same pattern with the new PH logo was used briefly.

Palace Hotel Reed & Barton silver dish. Dated 1951, these are still in use today at the hotel for serving chips in The Pied Piper and the Garden Court. 

Palace Hotel Souvenir Silk Scarf. 34.5" made by Swiss Silk Co. Designs. Printed in Korea. Date unknown, but likely 1980s or 1990s. 

A silver Gorham & Co. coffee creamer with the 1909 date mark on the bottom. Still retains so much of its beauty, but the inside was difficult to clean and still has blackened areas. It always amazes me how the inside of silver gets more tarnished than the outside. 

c1910 copy of the Palace Courier. A great informational booklet with information about the new hotel, guests who are staying there, and other news. It also has fantastic pictures of what the hotel looked like when it was brand new. 

Palace Hotel Tourist Brochure
Halsey E. Manwaring - Manager


Beautiful color bruchure with a racing motorcar on the front and a horse caravan on the back. Interior, "At the end of the trail stands the historic Palace Hotel." 1920s.

Palace Hotel Cocktail Napkin - 1950.

Palace Hotel Tourist Brochure, c1940s to 1950s. Edmund A. Rieder, General Manager. 

Clockwise: Sheraton Palace Hotel Ashtray in mint condition, full pack of The Sheraton Palace matches with The Garden Court on the reverse side. Sheraton-Palace Hotel luggage tag, unused.

1909 Gold Service? Not Really...

The Other Gold China of the Palace Hotel.

Right: The earliest known silverware used in the Palace Hotel, c1875-1890s. A simple, non-patterned oyster / cocktail fork with the elaborate "Palace Hotel" engraved on the handle. Made by Reed & Barton. Landmark 18 has a spoon of the same style recovered from the 1906 ruins. 

A beautiful and unusual piece - a hot chocolate server from the Palace Hotel. Measuring in at 6-3/4" tall and 7-1/2" wide to the end of the handle. Manufactured by International Silver Company with a date mark of 1917. (ISC dates are the numbers in the small boxes on the bottom).


This piece was acquired from the estate of Robert Yuen, a fourth generation San Franciscan, and a lifelong collector of hotelware. In September of 2022, his collection was sold off and many pieces appeared online for sale. 

This is one of those pieces that was hidden within hundreds of antique bottles at an auction house in Texas, and I was thrilled to have spotted it! 


A c1909 to 1920s Palace Hotel bar liquor bottle. A few small white marks on the inside, but such a beauty with ornate cuttings! Measuring 11 3/4" high, 3" at the base and 1" at the opening. The etched PH logo is a large 2" tall! I would assume there was a glass stopper at one point in time, but I do not know. 

Individual Palace Hotel silver coffee creamer and sugar bowl. 


The creamer is bottom marked International Silver Soldered, Palace Hotel, 05007A, 1 1/2 OZ, dated 1947.


The sugar bowl is bottom marked International S. Co. - E.P. - N.S., Silver Soldered. 040, 6 OZ, dated 1949. Unfortunately, the words "The Palace Hotel" are barely legible.

Palace Hotel matchbox holder / ashtray. Measuring in at 6" wide, 3 3/4" high, likely made by Gorham Co. as well. The top is the same as the one above, but circular and less designed at the bottom. The last photo here shows the same piece on a table at the Palace in 1935. 


This piece was originally acquired from the estate of Robert Yuen, a fouth generation San Franciscian, who had an extensive Palace Hotel collection. 

Original 1875 - 1906 Palace Hotel Artifacts

     After the hotel was rebuilt in 1909, the bluebell pattern was still used, but with the new Palace Hotel logo which was also colored a sky blue. I have only seen a handful of pieces done during this time, including this compote bowl. Measuring 3.5" high and 6" across, it is a beautiful example. This pattern was not to last very long, as shortly afterwards, the hotel adopted different patterns for the late 1910s. I found a single photo online of the Palace using this china at the Alabama / Mississippi Commission Luncheon on September 8th, 1914. This event was held in the Concert Room, which had stunning chandeliers. I would love to be able to find some dinner and side plates in this pattern eventually! Unfortunately, this bowl has no markings or date on the bottom.

Palace Hotel Cake Server

Double-handled Palace Hotel silver bowl. I've seen these hold sugar cubes in period photographs. International Silver Co, 1947.

Do Not Disturb Door Sign. Reinforced cardstock, c1950s. "To insure absolute privacy place this card on doorhandle outside of room door. Telephone and Telegraph service will be temporarily suspended unless otherwise instructed. Please remove card from door when usual service may be resumed."

Palace Hotel Silver Coin. "The elegant Palace Hotel with her palm court and plush accommodations, attracted high society at the turn of the century. Rebuilt after the San Francisco earthquake, it is now as grand as ever." Part of a historic coin series produced in 1972.

A 9" tall Palace Hotel tea or coffee pot made by International Silver Company. Holds 18oz and is dated 1941 on the bottom.


The last two photos show the same style tea or coffee pot, but this one is only 5.5" high, 6" at the longest point. Also made by International Silver Company, it holds 8oz and is dated 1947. It also has a patent number: 1637853.

A Palace Hotel bar spoon "Nearest to Everything". The hotel has the same spoon on display with their bar books.

A silver rooster drink pick for the Palace Hotel, San Francisco. I've never seen one before and cannot say I'd even know the date of it. Donation to the collection. 

1915 San Francisco souvenir spoon. Featuring the Palace Hotel, Ferry Building, Toro Point Light, New Cliff House, and the San Francisco City Seal. 

Palace Hotel Uranium Glassware - Wait what!?


What are likely the most unusual pieces of Palace Hotel memorabilia I own - two small cordial glasses infused with uranium (in oxide diuranate form), which makes them glow a bright green under a black light. A very popular form of glassware made from the 1880s to the 1920s. The practice was stopped prior to WWII. The lighter yellow-green colors are referred to as Vaseline glass, while this green is sometimes called Jadite. They are considered to be harmless and only negligibly radioactive.


It is thought these were commissioned in 1923 for a banquet to celebrate George Arliss, who starred in the 'The Green Goddess', or for the invention of the namesake salad dressing at the hotel. These small 4 5/8" tall glasses hold 4oz and are in perfect condition! The first 4 photos are of the glasses during the day, the rest are of the glasses at night with a black light. One of these came from the Bartolome collection.

A souvenir silver plated cup from the Palace Hotel. I have seen these exact cups with other logos on them listed as mint julep cups. Date unknown, but I am guessing 1990s / 2000s. 4.25" tall and almost 3.5" across. No markings aside from the PH logo on the front.

A unique brass ashtray simply marked "Palace Hotel S.F." No other markings are on it, which makes it difficult to place. Based on everything I have researched, this is a pre-1906 ashtray from the original hotel. With the exception of the 1909 ashtray I have (marked and dated as such), all PH ashtrays from 1909 on show the new logo of the hotel until around 1995.


The simple design and font certainly fits other Palace items during its early years. The pads on the bottom, however, I believe someone added within the past few decades.

     Sometimes the simplest of items can be the most amazing! Measuring in at only 5" by 2", this stencil was made by Paul P. Bernhard & Co., San Francisco for the Palace Hotel. The stencil would've likely been used to mark hotel property such as tables, chairs, wooden crates, etc. Located at 434 Montgomery St (just down the road from the Palace), Bernhard was a producer of rubber stamps, stencils, and seals. The ads shown are dated 1891 and 1892, though I could not find any earlier mentions of the company. I had wondered if this was an original 1875 piece, but based on research, I can definitely date it from this from the 1890s. The note from the antique shop that came with the piece states, "Lost in San Francisco Earthquake", though I believe the reference is to the hotel, not the stencil. 

Right: A 10" silver serving tray. Bottom marked Palace Hotel, GM Co. EP 09025, 10. IN. Date symbol for 1909. Very scratched up, but still a great little piece!


Below: A 14" silver serving tray. Features the PH logo on the front, bottom marked Palace Hotel, GM Co. EP 08989, 14 IN. 

A beautiful Palace Hotel nut dish from the 1909 grand reopening. Roughly 6" long, tri-band pattern used during this time. Bottom marked Palace Hotel, GM Co. EP (Electroplated) 08966, 1909 date marking, 62. Below: Same piece shown on a table at the Pied Piper, December 20th, 1937.

Below: As new pieces are added, bits of information that were previously lost to time seem to come to light. This beautiful, large serving bowl in the bluebell pattern measures 9 1/4" in diameter and almost 4" high! This time, the bottom is marked! After that is a small demi cup in the same pattern. Measuring 3.5" to handle and 2.5" across the top, it has a hairline crack going down the one side. Part of the Bartolome collection. 

A tiny cordial glass for the Palace Hotel. 4" high and 2" across at the top, it does have a small chip just above the logo. Still a beautiful little piece! Part of the Bartolome collection. 

Born in 1882, Paul Bartolome lived in San Francisco. In 1904, he got married to his wife, Marie, both at the age of 22. Both lived at 777.5 Market Street, which was only a few buildings away from the Palace Hotel. The couple visited the hotel often over the years. During one such visit, one of them obtained this beautiful etched drinking glass in the late 1890s / early 1900s. It measures 3 3/4" high, 2 3/4" across at the top.


Being in their possession, it survived the 1906 earthquake and fires. They took the ferry over to the East Bay for a time, before returning to the city. Paul eventually opened Paul's Place, which was only 7 blocks away from the Palace Hotel. Over the years, the couple also collected a green uranium glass, cordial glass, and two small demi cups from the new 1909 building. Eventually, these pieces went from Marie to their granddaughter, and she graciously allowed me to purchase all 5 pieces in 2023. She also shared the original business card she still has from her grandfather.

Palace Hotel Spitoon. It took me long enough to purchase one of these even though there are so many out there. For some reason, these aren't valued at the $100+ most sellers online are looking to get for this particular pattern. 


I found this at an auction in Illinois and snatched it for $15.00! Even with a repaired chip in the rim, it is a rare bird. Every other PH spitoon I've seen has the later blue makers mark as shown in the piece below. This is the first time I've seen this particular mark: Spucknapf (Spitoon) No. 293, Vignette 14054, 5268. Property of Bauscher Bros. 09. New York and Weider (Germany). 


I never realized that this pattern dated as far back as 1909, but here one is, made for the grand reopening of the hotel. Measures 7" across, and 4.5" high. 

Palace Hotel Silver Teapot. Measures 6.5" long and 5" high. Bottom marked "Reed & Barton Silver Soldered, 402, 1P, The Palace Hotel, 21."

A Palace Hotel bar spoon "Nearest to Everything". Presumably, an earlier version of the one under this. Date unknown. 

Fake Palace Hotel Key Fob

Every once in a while, I come across one of these for sale online: A Palace Hotel Carriage Room Key Fob. Marked "Lowell Sigmund 1976", the company mass produced fake key fobs for everything from Alcatraz to the Oval Office, Neiman-Marcus to the Orient Express. 


The Palace Hotel doesn't have a carriage room either, but it's a likely nod to the original carriage entrance and circle in the 1875 building. The prices these are listed for are insane! Actual value: $5.00 to $10.00. 

Matching 2oz Reed & Barton silver coffee creamer for the Palace Hotel. Dated 1929. 

Both Green Band & Floral Pattern Palace china being used together - Rotary Club Luncheon, May 2nd, 1939.

The most difficult thing about the Palace's chandeliers is how much they have changed, or have been changed out, over time. Contrary to popular belief, some of the current fixtures are not 'original' to the hotel. The hotel also keeps many spare parts and older fixtures in their basement, so it is possible the above pieces were from an original chandelier that no longer exists.


Starting with the first image from 1936, it shows a completely different bottom configuration on the Palm Court chandeliers than what is there now. The following two photos are from 1914 and give a rare glimpse into the chandeliers that once hung from the Concert Room, which was adjacent to the Rose Room. The fourth shows the same chandelier missing pieces and a broken bead chain hanging down during a Barn Dance in 1934. It must've been a stunning space in its original form, especially with the natural light coming through the glass ceiling panels. It was originally built with nothing above this section of the hotel. Now, the newer addition of the Sunset Court and conference rooms occupies this space. Sometime after 1955, the Concert Room and connecting pantry were gutted to extend the Rose Room into one large ballroom. There were 10 original chandeliers in the Rose Room in 1909, and there still are today, which makes me wonder what happened to the roughly 8 that were part of the Concert Room? I do wonder if they were heavily modified and they now hang in the hallway leading back to the Gold Ballroom, as these seem identical where the chain meets the top of the fixture. 


Photos five and six show the original 1909 chandeliers in the Ralston Room, first called the Grill Room, then named the Cafe by the 1950s. The picture after shows one of the original sconces that hung on the wall. At some point, they were completely replaced with the ones currently there, but when? A bigger question is what happened to the original fixtures of the room? 


The eighth photo is a chandelier of simple beauty, hung in the Comstock Room from 1909 up through the 1950s. This room was also eventually gutted and turned into a different set of rooms. The whereabouts of these chandeliers are also unknown. The ninth photo shows an unknown chandelier in a 1935 image I came across, also likely changed out over the years. The last photo shows the Gold Ball Room in 1915 at the Life Underwriters Banquet. One of the few rooms to have the exact same chandeliers from 1909 to the present. 

Left: The same pre-1906 butter pat, but with the 1909 logo. Unfortunately, the logo is very faded from use. I've never seen a piece with this marking, "Especially made for Palace Hotel San Francisco furnished by Albert Pick & Company, Chicago - San Francisco. 353."

Another Palace Hotel Guest Room Soap, undated. 

A second Palace Hotel brass door knob I acquired in 2024 via an online auction. It has a heavy patina compared to the one above, but still a great piece!

A brass Palace Hotel door knob reputedly from the original 1875 building. I'm afraid there is no more information to go along with this piece. If true, it was obviously removed pre-fire as there's no sign it was picked from the rubble. The original Palace used many different monograms through its 30 years, and there are similarities comparing this to the 1909 knobs. However, the current 1909 knobs are still in use 115 years later. Makes me wonder why these would've been changed out after only 20 or 30? Sadly, the truth about this is long gone as there wasn't much documented about the original fittings. Possibly from a different Palace Hotel?