Pacific Lumber Company Headquarters

Pacific Lumber Company Headquarters, 1111 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, California

Designed by Ernest J. Kump in 1964-1965


Ernest J. Kump graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1932 with a degree in architecture. He began graduate study in architecture at Harvard, but was forced to return to California due to limited funding, where he worked for his father Ernest Kump, Sr’s architectural firm in Fresno. Kump [Jr] is known primarily for his designs for Fresno City Hall (1940) and Foothill Community College in Los Altos, CA (1961), as well as the Naval Optical and Ordnance Building at Hunters Point (1948), Crown College, University of California, Santa Cruz (1967) and the U.S. Embassy in Seoul Korea (1959). In addition to designing nearly 100 public schools in California and 22 community and junior colleges worldwide, he was part of the Master Planning Committee of the University of California, Santa Cruz, later becoming the supervising architect for the campus.


Kump designed the Pacific Lumber Company Headquarters in 1964-1965. The Pacific Lumber Company was one of the largest timber companies and sawmill operators in California. In 1965 the company was a mature, well-run family lumber empire, but would be taken over in the 1980s by a junk-bond backed buyout by Maxxam, a Texas holding company, which split the formerly healthy company into several pieces, accelerated clear-cutting operations, and ceased backing pension obligations. In happier days, upon moving into their new headquarters, Herb Caen called the building “...a Kumplete Triumph” while listing “Things I Like” in his August 13, 1965 column in the San Francisco Chronicle.


In 1982 the building was purchased by the rock band Journey, then at the height of their popularity (and income), who moved their management company, “Nightmare, Inc.” to North Beach from a mansion in Pacific Heights. After several years they sold the building and it is presently the home of the Consulate General of The Republic of Indonesia.

 The building seems to be in remarkably good shape for it’s age. The wooden trellises are intact and the concrete columns seem as when built. The biggest difference between the as-built and current photographs seems to be the vintage of the automobiles and the height of the Bottlebrush and Plane trees. As can be seen in my recent photographs the mass of the Plane trees have joined with the in-set first floor terraces to create a cozy tunnel effect along Columbus Avenue. Other than the trees, some utility poles, addition of sidewalk curb-cuts, and the flag and seal of Indonesia are the indicators of the building’s present use.

Pacific Lumber Company Headquarters