It runs about 16 blocks from the Telegraph Hill neighborhood south through downtown, terminating at Market Street. South of Columbus Avenue, Montgomery Street runs through the heart of San Francisco's Financial District and contains one of the highest concentrations of financial activity, investment business, and venture capital in the United States and the world. For this reason, it is known as "the Wall Street of the West". South of Market Street, the street continues as New Montgomery Street for two more blocks to terminate at Howard Street in the SOMA district.
In the 1830s, the land which is now Montgomery Street lay at the edge of San Francisco Bay. Intense land speculation during the Gold Rush created a demand for more usable land in the rapidly growing city, and sandy bluffs near the waterfront were leveled and the shallows filled with sand (and the ruins of many ships) to make new building lots. Between 1849 and 1852, the waterfront advanced about four blocks. At present, Montgomery Street is about seven blocks from the water.
The corner of Montgomery and Clay is where John B. Montgomery landed when he came to hoist the U.S. flag after the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846. In 1853 the Montgomery Block, a center of early San Francisco law and literature, was built at 600 Montgomery, on land currently occupied by the Transamerica Pyramid.
Many banks and financial-services companies have had offices in the buildings on or near Montgomery Street, especially between Market Street and Sacramento Street:
Notable high-rises and skyscrapers along Montgomery Street in the Financial District:
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