Montgomery Street is a north-south thoroughfare in San Francisco, California, in the United States. It runs about 16 blocks from the Telegraph Hill neighborhood south through downtown, terminating at Market Street. South of Columbus Avenue, Montgomery Street runs through the heart of San Francisco's Financial District and is considered the "Wall Street of the West" due to the large concentration of banks and Financial Services companies that have offices and headquarters on that street which is the largest concentration of such on the West Coast. The Montgomery Block, a center of early San Francisco law and literature, existed on this street from the early 1850s until the late 1950s, on the site currently occupied by the Transamerica Pyramid. South of Market Street, the street continues as New Montgomery Street for two more blocks to terminate at Howard Street in the SOMA district.
Montgomery Street was a waterfront street of San Francisco (formerly Yerba Buena) in the 1840s, immediately before the Gold Rush. The remains of the whaling vessel Niantic are marked as a California Historical Landmark just off Montgomery beside the Transamerica Pyramid, at 505 Sansome Street. Intense land speculation during the gold rush created a demand for more usable land in the rapidly growing city, and sandy bluffs near the waterfront were leveled and the shallows filled with sand (and the ruins of many ships) to make new building lots.
Between 1849 and 1852, the waterfront advanced about four blocks. At present, Montgomery Street is about seven blocks from the water.
Many banks and financial-services companies have offices in the buildings on or near Montgomery Street, especially in the approximately five blocks between Market Street and Sacramento Street. The world headquarters of the Charles Schwab Corporation, the world's largest discount broker, is located on the street, as well as the headquarters of Wells Fargo, one of the world's largest financial institutions. Bank of America was formerly based at 555 California Street, between Kearny and Montgomery Streets, before the company was purchased by Charlotte, North Carolina-based NationsBank. At the corner of Montgomery Street and Columbus Avenue, the end of the Financial District, is the Transamerica Pyramid.