Cow Palace – Daly City CA

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Description

The enormous Cow Palace—or, more formally, the Livestock Exhibition Building—was constructed with federal Public Works Administration (PWA) funds.  It was completed in early 1938 at a cost of $701,648. It lies just south of the San Francisco city/county line in what was long rural land, before the suburb of Daly City exploded in size in the 1940s and 1950s.

The Cow Palace is approximately 250 by 130 feet is size and the steel truss roof soars 110 feet above the ground.   The arena accommodates 12,000 spectators.   The building is constructed of reinforced concrete. The roof is held up by cantilever steel trusses that pass over it, looking like exterior ribs.   It has the “quonset hut” shape of many large, warehouses or aircraft hangers built in the mid-20th century 

The original purpose – hence the name “Cow Palace” – was to serve the large cattle/livestock industry of Northern California.  Livestock had been funneled through the area on their way to the slaughterhouses of San Francisco along Islais Creek since the Gold Rush, though the meat packing houses had mostly shifted to South San Francisco in the early 20th century and Visitation Valley filled up with houses.

The Cow Palace was also for many years the site of one of the three most important rodeos in the West.  These pieces of local history are easily overlooked by those living in High Tech, cosmopolitan San Francisco of the 21st century.

Source notes

C.W. Short and R. Stanley-Brown, Public Buildings: A Survey of Architecture of Projects Constructed by Federal and Other Governmental Bodies Between the Years 1933 and 1939 with the Assistance of the Public Works Administration.  Washington DC: USGPO, 1939.

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Location Info


2600 Geneva Ave.
Daly City, CA 94014

Coordinates: 37.707213, -122.416759

One comment on “Cow Palace – Daly City CA

  1. Who was the architect that did the plans for the Cow Palace?

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