“Marathon” (2004)

(717/4) 706–710 Ellis Street; Marathon Apartments (1911), Marathon Hotel (1982). Apartment building 1911 with six four- and five-room units on each floor, converted by 1982 to hotel with forty-four one- and two-room units and twenty-eight baths. 4B stories; brick structure; pressed brick facade, sandstone entry and quoins, galvanized iron cornice, brick window moldings; two-part vertical composition; Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation; vestibule: mosaic floor, marble walls; lobby: paneled walls, wall and cornice moldings; signs: blade sign above entry, painted “Marathon Apartments” sign on north wall, “single rooms and en suite” over door; alterations: storefronts, vestibule altered; originally designed as six story building in 1907. Original owner: Moffatt Estate Company. Architect: Crim and Scott. 1907.

The Marathon was designed as a fairly upscale multiple-unit building. Unlike most other buildings in the district, its ornamentation is real stonework except for the cornice. Other measures of its pretension are a vestibule with mosaic floor and marble walls, a lobby with paneled walls, and a sign in gold leaf on the transom window over the entrance, “Single Rooms and en Suite.” Sadly, the Marathon has been allowed to rot for so many years that the likelihood of its restoration seems more remote with each passing day.


“Marathon – Portal” (2004)

Hammered-down anchor bolts mark where lamps once lighted the entrance.


“Marathon – Rear Wall” (2004)

Viewed from the rear, the Marathon has become so dilapidated it seems abandoned.

Marathon Stonework

“Marathon Stonework” (2004)

The Marathon fascinates me for its unique details and as a study in decay, compelling me to return to it repeatedly. With each visit my eye has been attracted to something I hadn’t noticed before. This time it was the pilaster next to the bracketed entablature over the entrance. The capital is carved to look like a fringed belt with a single tassel that hangs down over the pilaster. At the very top of the tassel is a tiny, delicate flower that in all likelihood has gone completely unnoticed and unappreciated for many years.

1 Comment

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One response to “Marathon

  1. Maryssa

    The Marathon hotel fascinates me too, so small and in such a bad shape, but at the same time so beautiful. I actually thought it was abandoned…

    It’s a shame that buildings like these don’t get restored and maintaned. San Francisco doesn’t appreciate what it has…

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