Henry J. Brunnier


Last modified 2021-02-20 15:16:56. Initially published .

Henry J.Brunnier came to San Francisco from his native Iowa after the 1906 Earthquake to help rebuild the City’s devasted railway system when he was 26 years old. An outstanding soil and strata engineer, Henry Brunnier’s preliminary work ensured the City’s highrises would not sink in San Francisco’s sandy soil, including the Shell, Mills, Standard Oil, 111 Sutter, Russ, Commercial Union, and Federal Reserve Buildings. After working on the City’s longest bridge and biggest cross (below right, courtesy Darrell Wong), his structural engineering expertise would continue taking San Francisco’s skyline to new heights, with the City’s tallest building to date in 1968, 800 feet and 55 stories for the Bank of America. (Below center, courtesy Margie Whitnah.)






Letter to George Kelham from Henry Brunnier about a change to the concrete specifications for the Mount Davidson Cross. The dimensions of the cross would be as substantial as the skyscrapers and bridges they built together. Its cylindrical, concrete block foundation is 18 feet in diameter at the bottom and 141/2 at the top, going 16 feet down into the bedrock below. Upon the foundation, there is a 62 foot diameter platform with 7 35-feet wide steps. The cross rises 103 feet, is 10 square feet at the base, and tapers to 9 feet from one tip to the other. (Plans courtesy Bob DeLiso.)




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