The Foundation

The 640 Heritage Preservation Foundation was incorporated and received its 501(c)3 tax exempt status in 2004 as a nonprofit public benefit corporation, its specific charitable and educational purposes are to preserve and memorialize the history and architecture of woman’s athletic clubs in San Francisco. The Foundation’s Tax I.D. number is 20-0608904.

The Foundation’s Purposes from the Articles of Incorporation

General Purposes: This corporation is a nonprofit public benefit corporation organized under the Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law of the State of California, and is organized for public and charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

Specific Purposes: The specific purposes of this corporation are:

• To preserve and memorialize the history and architecture of woman’s athletic clubs in San Francisco;

• To research, restore and ensure the preservation of the buildings, land and other articles which may relate to the history of woman’s athletic clubs in San Francisco, particularly the building located at 640 Sutter Street formerly known as the Woman’s* Athletic Club of San Francisco

• To accept donations of money, real property, or other property for the above purposes;

• And to provide education and instruction and engage in other charitable and educational activities associated with these purposes as allowed by law.

* Note: The original Club’s name used woman’s as the singular possessive form. So anytime the historic name is used it is spelled in this way.

The Foundation’s Mission

The mission of the 640 Heritage Preservation Foundation is:

To preserve and celebrate the history, architecture and heritage of women’s athletic clubs in San Francisco, with particular reference to the building formerly known as the Woman’s Athletic Club of San Francisco, located at 640 Sutter Street, through research, public education and funding activities.

The Club Legacy

The Woman’s Athletic Club of San Francisco was founded in the early 1900s by a group of visionary women who made plans for an elegant athletic club for women in San Francisco.  Initial plans included well-appointed dining rooms, a pool, gymnasium, beauty salon, and spa and overnight rooms.

By 1915, their vision became a reality.  A site was selected, local architects Walter Danforth Bliss and William Baker Faville hired and the building was constructed. The Woman’s Athletic Club of San Francisco’s success was immediate; a second wing was added in 1923.

The seventeen Founders created a legacy that has secured its place in San Francisco, California, and the United States’ diverse history.

Want to learn more about the Women’s Club Movement and its historic buildings? Read this engaging article from last year’s November 640 Report newsletter here:  The Women’s Club Movement

Historic Importance of the Club

The “House that Women Built” at 640 Sutter Street has passed its 100th year and is widely recognized for its architectural significance.  The City of San Francisco considers it a Category 1 historic building and an “A” rating was bestowed by San Francisco Architectural Heritage.

The Woman’s Athletic Club of San Francisco has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which includes the most important sites in the United States.  It is recognized not only for its architecture but also as the first woman’s athletic club west of the Mississippi River.

The building at 640 Sutter Street played an important role in the club movement and provided an outlet to women for self-improvement, education, and civic influence when many other routes to these opportunities were closed to them.

Want to learn more about how the building at 640 Sutter Street was nominated to be included in the National Register? Read this article from last year’s November 640 Report newsletter here: 640 Sutter Street in the National Register