This block is bounded by Bryant, Brannan, Eighth and Ninth streets. Before European settlement, the northern portion of the block consisted of sand hills. Towards the south, the sand hills dropped twenty feet down to the marshlands. Mission Creek passed the block near the corner of Brannan and Ninth. By the mid-1850s the marshy areas of the block were filled. Its sand hills were leveled after 1857.
The block was the location of San Francisco' first Butchertown that supplied meat to the Gold Rush city's inhabitants. During the 1860s and 1870s, the block underwent little development. Perhaps the most significant building on the block during this period was the Rosett Hotel, later renamed the North German Hotel at the corner of Eight and Brannan streets. The hotel was constructed about 1875 and provided lodging for many German and Swiss immigrants. The hotel also temporarily housed the Stanford Free Kindergarten, one of five built in the impoverished South of Market area by Mrs. Leland Stanford after the death of her young son.
The 1887 Sanborn Fire Insurance map suggests that the character of the block was one of vacant lots interspersed with small groups of mainly two-story dwellings, saloons and stores.
After the 1906 Earthquake and fire, and until 1913, the block was built up with industry including the Enterprise Foundry on Brannan Street.