|1. Where is this building located? Avery County, NC
2. What is it used for today? State Prison
Bonus: What does it have in common with a flavor of ice
cream? The original building plans were so faulty that parts
of the building were going to be built over air. The best ice
cream has lots of air whipped into it. When the General
Contractor came to build the infrastructure and buildings,
some buildings were layed out per plan over forty feet of air
due to improper layout and grading.
Avery-Mitchell State Prison – Avery County, NC
This new state prison facility in North Carolina faced
numerous problems and delays. The State had separately
hired the grading contractor to fill a mountainous site with
more than 100 feet of fill material. The problem was
compounded when the State’s initial grading contractor
failed to properly survey and close the site when they started
work. When the General Contractor came to build the
infrastructure and buildings, some buildings were layed out
per plan over forty feet of air due to improper layout and
grading. To make matters worse, the initial grading
contractor built over active streams and failed to properly
compact material or maintain erosion control measures. CCS
was engaged to investigate and discover the problems and
the reasons for them. We also put together a claim for delay
and impact costs for the builder’s infrastructure
subcontractor. After a lengthy fight with the State, the
subcontractor got a sizable payment for its efforts.
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|1. The New San Francisco Mint, 155 Hermann St., San Francisco, CA
2. Since 1975, the San Francisco Mint has been used
only for proof coinage, with the exception of
the Susan B. Anthony dollar from 1979-81 and
a portion of the mintage of cents in the early 1980s
3. Mint, as in mint chocolate chip
|If you enjoy our quizzes, don't forget to order our books!
|Prize for the this week's most creative answer
goes to Judy Pfaff.
Alfred B. Mullett, the architect of the Mint, knew well that the Pacific Coast was
subject to earthquakes, and with remarkable foresight he designed the Old Mint to
“float” on its foundations in an earthquake, rather than shatter. His vision was validated
when the mint rode out the severe earthquake of Wednesday, April 18, 1906, practically
undamaged. Mullett designed the building in a conservative Greek Revival style with a
sober Doric order. The building had a central pedimented portico flanked by projecting
wings in an E-shape; it was built round a completely enclosed central courtyard that
contained a well—the features that saved it during the fire of 1906, when the heat
melted the plate glass windows and exploded sandstone and granite blocks with which
it was faced.
Because the gas works were partially destroyed, operations stopped temporarily. But
the beautiful, solidly constructed Mint building survived both the earthquake and the
ensuing firestorm. In fact, the Mint was the only financial institution capable of
operating immediately after the disaster and became the treasury for disaster relief
funds, performing other emergency banking services as well.
The building sat on a concrete and granite foundation, designed to thwart tunneling into
its vaults, which at the time of the 1906 fire held $300 million, fully a third of the United
States' gold reserves. Heroic efforts by Superintendent of the Mint, Frank Leach, and
his men preserved the building and the bullion that backed the nation's currency. The
mint resumed operation soon thereafter.
circulating coinage from San Francisco was suspended for 13 years. In 1968, it took
over most proof coinage production from the Philadelphia Mint, but continued striking a
supplemental circulating coinage from 1968 through 1974. Since 1975, the San
Francisco Mint has been used only for proof coinage, with the exception of the Susan
B. Anthony dollar from 1979-81 and a portion of the mintage of cents in the early
1980s. The dollars bear a mintmark of an "S", but the cents are otherwise
indistinguishable from those minted at Philadelphia (which bear no mintmarks, unlike
those years' proof cents from San Francisco and circulation cents from Denver). It is
located at 155 Hermann Street, but does not allow visitors.
The United States Mint at San Francisco plays an important
role in our nation's coinage. Although it does not currently
produce circulating coins, it is the exclusive manufacturer
of regular proof and silver proof coin sets that set the
standard for numismatic excellence with their brilliant
artistry, fine craftsmanship and enduring quality.
The new Mint was opened in 1937. Beginning in 1955,
The new San Francisco Mint, scheduled
to be completed next February, will be
structurally stronger and better protected
than many a fortress. It will resist fire and
earthquakes and withstand any attempts at
Every detail of the building’s design and
construction guarantees strength and
durability. Its foundations go deep into a
hill of solid rock. It has an exceptionally
sturdy steel framework and heavy exterior
walls of reinforced concrete and granite,
with everything else on the same scale.
I was actually trying to find some deeper contextual links, such as Mint Chocolate Chip
ice cream being invented in SF (which it wasn't...it was in Torquay, England by
Marilyn Ricketts), or that mint chocolate chip ice cream was added to the Baskin-
Robbins 31 flavors on the same year that the new mint was opened (it wasn't...
Chocolate Mint was added as the 31st flavor in 1948, the SF mint was opened in
1937). Unfortunately, I came up empty...so the only link (so far...I don't give up
easily) is the word "Mint." Jerry Vergeront
N.B. That's what I like about these quizzes. The answers that come in are sometimes so
interesting and original...they make me ponder the deeper meaning of life...and ice
cream. But yes, let's just leave it at the word "mint" for now.
San Francisco Mint is a flavor of ice cream. In honor of National Ice Cream month
this July, the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), polled residents in Los Angeles,
Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Fresno to dish about their favorite ice
cream flavor. True to the Golden State's eclectic image, Californian's voted Mint
Chocolate Chip as their "all-time" favorite flavor for the ice cream's rich and indulgent
chocolate chunks and refreshing minty appeal.
There is also the story about the 1894-S Barber Dime. Reasons given for making just
24 1894-S dimes include “balancing the Mint books by clearing a $2.40 item” and
“testing the dies.” Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia, 1988, p. 323 suggests that John
Daggett, superintendent of the San Francisco Mint, struck the 24 pieces, all Proofs, as
a favor for banker friends. Breen went on to comment:
“Each of eight persons received three; Daggett gave his three to his daughter Hallie,
telling her to put them away until she was as old as he was, at which time she would be
able to sell them for a good price. On the way home the child supposedly spent one for
a dish of ice cream, but kept the other two until 1954, when she sold them to coin
dealer Earl Parker.… “ The coin spent on ice cream is known as the "Ice Cream
Specimen of the 1894-S." Karen Kay Bunting
For me this is easy since I have driven by it and recognized it immediately. It is used
only for striking proof sets of coins now.
I feel like this is a trick question but must assume what it has in common with a flavor
of ice cream is it is mint, although not chocolate or peppermint.
UNRELATED SIDE COMMENT: I really love the old mint (sometimes known as The
Granite Lady) though. I suspect some of the answers you get may confuse the two
(although they don't look alike). The old mint is one of the few buildings in the
downtown area of SF which survived the 1906 fire. The walls were very thick granite
and the employees reportedly remained inside and fought any small fires which
threatened it. It used to be open as a museum and I visited it a number of times. I
understand there are plans to make it a museum of SF in a few years and I am looking
forward to that. Milene Rawlinson
Berkeley Farms owns Bud's Ice Cream, its brand of premium ice cream, with many
flavors named after San Francisco landmarks, such as Golden Gate Vanilla, Alcatraz
Rock Road, and Market Street Mint Cup. The company distributes its products to
supermarkets, independent grocers, convenience stores, large discount stores, and food
service businesses throughout California. Companion products for distribution include
eggs, fruit drinks, and popular brands of orange juice and other fruit juices. The San
Fran MINT is on MARKET Street thus ice cream named "MARKET STREET MINT"
This puzzle took a little time. It looked like a federal building to me but when I tried to
photoshopp the flag atop the building. I mistakenly thought it might be another country.
I was mis-led and gradualy returned to the US. MINT was the key to solving this one.
This is the San Francisco (CA) Mint. Having lived in the SF Bay area for 53 years, i
recognized it immediately. For 2 years I was in the US Army, stationed at the Presidio
of SF. (1955-57). As luck would have it, my favorite ice cream flavor is "mint"
chocolate chip! Bob Wilson
Mint Chocolate Chip?
Planchets N' Cream?
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough?
Mint-the green kind with the little chocolate specks-that Mr. Rick eats by the gallon to
help clog his arteries--thank you for letting the rest of the World know, Heather!!!
Mr. Rick and QuizMs Heather
Ha! I got it from the chocolate chip clue, thank you! Never would have guessed that
in a thousand tries though without the 'mint' clue. I feel so silly now but I was
convinced it had something to do with Neapolitan Ice Cream and therefore got locked
into that search - combined with things like 'Neapolitan building' and 'Neapolitan fort'.
Never would have thought U.S. treasury lol.
Thank you and have a good weekend! In retrospect I can see that it was kind of a
mini-Xmas clue too with the mint reference. :) Nicole Blank
On July 8, 1852, President Millard Fillmore signed an act authorizing a branch mint in
California. Within a short time, Treasury Secretary Thomas Corwin chose San
Francisco as the site.
The Treasury Department signed a contract with Joseph R. Curtis in April 1853 to
construct the mint by February 1, 1854. Mint Director James Ross Snowden, who had
taken office in 1853, was in charge of putting the mint into operation. However, slow
communication plus the problems of acquiring suitable building materials prevented
speedy completion. A building on Commercial Street owned by Moffett & Company
was acquired in the interim and modified, probably at a cost of at least $93,000.
The San Francisco Mint was opened in 1854 to serve the gold mines of the California
Gold Rush. Within the first year of its operation, the San Francisco mint turned $4
million in gold bullion into coins. It quickly outgrew its first building and moved into a
new one in 1874. This building, the Old United States Mint also known affectionately as
The Granite Lady, is one of the few that survived the great 1906 San Francisco
earthquake. It served until 1937, when the present facility was opened.
|Comments from Our Readers
|The Granite Lady
88 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Architect: Mullett, Alfred B.
Nat'l Register ID #: 66000231
|Answer to Quiz #235
November 29, 2009
By 1934, one third of the United States' gold
reserve was stored in the vaults of the San
After minting operations were transferred to the
new San Francisco Mint on Duboce Avenue in
1937, the Treasury Department and other
government agencies occupied the building. In
1961 the “Old Mint,” as it became known locally,
was designated a National Historic Landmark.
|For More Great Photos of the Old Mint
|Congratulations to Our Winners!
Mr. Rick (with his ice-cream-clogged arteries) and QuizMs Heather!
Jim Kiser Jerry Vergeront
Karen Kay Bunting Marilyn Hamill
Milene Rawlinson Mary South
Bob Wilson Teresa Yu
Stan Read Evan Hindman
Wayne Douglas Nan Ross
Amir Dekel Dave Doucette
Jocelyn Thayer Daniel E. Jolley
Nicole Blank Don Draper
Beth Long Max McCoy
Margaret Paxton Tamura Jones Robert W. Steinmann Jr.
Also on this floor will be an electric shop, record
room and a men’s lunch room.
A pistol range will be installed on the fifth floor and
the rest of the space will be taken up by record
storage rooms and machinery to run the elevators.
P.G. and E. service will play an important part in
this money-making plant. Electricity will operate
the machinery and most of the protective devices.
Likewise, gas will be used for many purposes.
Opening of the new building will mark the eighty-
third year of the San Francisco Mint. The first
Mint was established in 1854, in Commercial
Buchanan, Hermann and Webster streets,
and fronts on Duboce. The site has steep
cliffs on three sides and is 100 feet above
the pavement at the corner where Duboce
and Buchanan intersect Market street. A
concrete stairway of 72 steps leads to the
The structure is 208 feet long by 185 feet
wide and three stories high over the
whole area, with two additional stories in
front. It was designed by Gilbert Stanley
Underwood, Treasury Department
architect. The Clinton Construction
Company is the general contractor and
Scott Fullerton is construction engineer
representing the Treasury Department. Jacob J. Creskoff, an engineer of Philadelphia,
planned the earthquake-resistive features. All plans were prepared with the cooperation
of Peter J. Haggerty, Superintendent of the Mint.
On the first floor will be a marble lobby, the large storage and melting vaults, vaults for
nickel and copper, a plumbing shop, blacksmith shop, carpenter shop, boiler room,
emergency generator room and locker rooms.
Offices will fill the front of the second floor and behind them will be several rooms for
minting operations. The third floor will contain more minting rooms, more offices, an
assay laboratory and a women’s lunch room.
On the fourth floor will be an elaborate precipitation system which will recover all
metallic particles from the vapors emitted by the metal furnaces. The equipment
consists of a series of tubes, in which the air is electrified with 75,000-volt electricity.
As the vapors pass through these tubes the high-frequency current ionizes the metal
content and the the particles cling to the sides of the tubes, where they are recovered.
|1. Where is this building located?
2. What is it used for today?
Bonus: What does it have in common with a flavor of ice cream?
Besides being fireproof, it embodies several special engineering features to make it
Safeguards against holdups will be numerous and effective. Heading the list will be a
network of pipes by which the place can be flooded with tear gas almost instantly. A
gun tower will cover all approaches. Defense lights, set in the walls, will illuminate the
exterior at night. Both front and rear entrances will have two electrically-operated steel
doors, so controlled that only one of each set can be opened at a time. A self-starting
power generator will automatically begin running the moment anyone tampers with the
regular service and thus foil efforts to darken the building and cripple its protective
devices. There will be two alarm systems, a watchmen's report system and a radio
To keep Uncle Sam’s gold and silver safe, the storage vault and the melting and refining
vault will have reinforced concrete walls two feet thick. The storage vault will be 72
feet long by 44 feet wide and the refining vault 48 feet by 33 feet. Several smaller vaults
will be almost as formidable.
The new Mint, costing more than $1,000,000 occupies the block bounded by Duboce,
street, between Montgomery and Kearny, and for many years turned out a steady
stream of gold and silver coins. The present Mint, at Mission and Fifth streets, was
begun in 1870 and put into operation in 1874. Last year it handled 2,493,334 ounces of
gold and 28,230,585 ounces of silver– and its successor will be capable of handling
|Suggested by Long Time and Highly Respected Quizmaster Mike Dalton
on Top of
|Twelve coins on the tops of the columns. How many can you name?
(I can only name #2, the Lincoln penny, and #10, the $10 gold coin.)