Arion Press - Lyre Logo  

Arion Press continues as a living museum
and educational and cultural center.

Lease lost at Bryant Street
One of the last integrated typefoundry, letterpress printing, and bookbinding facilities, in 2001 Arion Press lost the lease at 460 Bryant Street, the South-of-Market building where it had been located since 1985 and where its second division M & H Type had been located since 1974. Economic changes caused by the influx of companies forced many light-industrial companies to leave San Francisco. An extension was obtained from the landlord through February 2001 that enabled us to complete the printing of the folio Bible and start the binding.

Search for Permanent Home
Given the enormous weight of our equipment and the complexity of reinstallation, we needed to find a long-term or permanent home. The real estate market was discouraging. After many months of searching we had nearly despaired of finding an affordable building to purchase or rent in the Bay Area. Locations as far away as Vallejo were considered. Then the Presidio Trust offered us a five-year lease on an industrial building that suited our needs. It is the former steam plant and laundry that served the Public Health Services Hospital, now closed, with an active boiler room that heats our spaces and surrounding buildings. We occupy 14,000 square feet on two floors.

Move to the Presidio
In January 2001 we began work on the building in the Presidio. Our own staff of typographers, printers, and binders pitched in to paint the entire interior. Meanwhile our contractors started on other improvements including the installation of gas, electric, water, and compressed air lines and vents for the machinery. The Presidio Trust crew had already begun work to bring the building up to standard. In February the move took place, with riggers transporting the casters and presses, one weighing as much as seven tons. The type inventory weighed over thirty tons. Six weeks more were required to put things in place and reactivate the machinery. On April 24, a grand opening party was held, attended by over 300 people who toured the production facilities on the lower level and the offices and gallery on the upper level, enjoyed an inaugural exhibition, refreshments, a jazz trio, and magnificent views from the windows on a beautiful day.

Planning for the Future
We have taken this opportunity to think creatively about the future of this historic facility. We have established the non-profit organization, Grabhorn Institute, to ensure that this resource will be available to society in years to come and to guide our evolution into a living, working museum of printing and book arts.

News Reports
The relocation crisis and the Bible project brought media attention to Arion Press. On December 29, 2000, the PBS News Hour aired a feature on Arion by Elizabeth Farnsworth. On February 11, 2001 the A&E channel also covered the press, the Bible, and the move to the Presidio. You will find more details in the following articles.

1802 Hays Street, The Presidio
San Francisco, California 94129
Telephone: 415-668-2542
Fax: 415-668-2550