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The Bank of California building is modeled after the Knickerbocker Trust Company building in New York City, and is San Francisco Landmark #3. Founded in 1864, the Bank of California is the oldest incorporated commercial bank in California, however this building was not built until 1906.

William Chapman Ralston was a business man who was responsible for founding the first commercial bank in the western united states, the Bank of California.  The Bank of California's major profits came from the financing and repossessing of defaulted mines. The bank helped finance the Southern Pacific Railroad, steamship lines, and especially the Comstock Mines in Nevada. The Bank of California closed in August 1875 after a time of volatile trading of Nevada mining stocks, and did not reopen until October of 1875. As for the building itself, the Bank of California building is a staple of San Francisco architecture. The building is three stories in the style of a classical temple.