VLN: 19th C. Architecture: 1 2 3 4 (1860-1860s) 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 [12-24]

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19th century architecture slide show


Chronological listing of 10 selected architectural works in the San Francisco Bay Area (1860-1860s).

 
1860, North Beach, St. Francis of Assisi Church,
610 Vallejo St., San Francisco.
nm.; 1913, C.J.I. Devlin.

The exterior of this church, including the towers, survived the 1906 fire and was incorporated into the present structure. This was the city's first parish church after the Mission Dolores; it was founded by the French community. Stylistically, it is related to Old St. Mary's (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 49).

To west [of Caffé Trieste (33)] on Vallejo is the church of St. Francis of Assisi (34). When the first argonauts arrived, Mission Dolores did not offer mass regularly and was too remote for the inhabitants of this area. So Father John Brouillet, vicar general of the diocese of Walla Walla, Washington, built the first Catholic church in the city under American rule on this site in 1851. This Norman Gothic structure dates from 1860. It was gutted by fire in 1906 and then rebuilt. In 1994 the church was closed along with six others because of the declining number of Catholics in San Francisco. In 1999, the National Conference of Bishops named St. Francis the National Shrine of St. Francis. Within there are stained glass windows and murals depicting his life (Wiley 2000: 248-49).

The Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, 610 Vallejo Street, stands on the site of the little frame parish church that served San Francisco's Catholic community in Gold Rush days. The cornerstone of the present building was laid in December, 1857, and the church was dedicated in 1860. Of a simple but strong Victorian Gothic style, Saint Francis is closely related in architectural character to Old Saint Mary's. The 1906 fire left the walls and ninety-five foot towers more or less intact, and these were incorporated in the present church which was dedicated in 1918. Thus the exterior of the church today is virtually identical to the structure of the late 1850's. It was the city's first parish church (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 59).

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1860-1916, Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square,
Polk St. to Larkin St., Beach St. to North Point St., San Francisco.
nm.; William Matson Roth, developer, Ruth Asawa, fountain sculpture, Lawrence Halprin, landscaping.

Deservedly one of the great tourist landmarks, this collection of old (and one new) brick buildings originally housed the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. It was taken over and remodeled into restaurants and shops by developer William Matson Roth as an almost non-profit venture. The fountain is by Ruth Asawa, and the landscaping by Lawrence Halprin (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 72).

San Franciscans have taken different approaches to the development of tourist amenities in and around the Wharf. When the Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory was moved to San Mateo in the 1960s, William Matson Roth, an heir to the Matson shipping fortune, bought the abandoned factory on North Point to prevent the construction of apartment towers like the controversial Fontana Towers to the west. Roth hired Wurster, Bernardi & Emmons to design additional buildings to complete the complex. Ghiradelli Square, which incorporates the Pioneer Woolen Mill, is considered one of the first successful transformations of a factory complex into a tourist attraction while maintaining the historical integrity of the buildings (Wiley 2000: 331).

The Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory, the brick structure along North Point with its beautiful clock tower, was designed by William Mooser II and built by the sons of Domingo Ghiradelli, who opened his first chocolate factory on Jackson Street. The younger Ghiradellis bought the abandoned Pioneer Woolen Mill, which was designed by Mooser's father, William Mooser, in 1856, and then asked the son to design a factory complex that included the mill. The woolen mill, now the site of some shops and the Mandarin Restaurant, appears to have been built at a strange angle because it was oriented to the original shoreline of Black Point Cove. The Ghiradellis instructed Mooser the Younger to build a model factaory, an effort that continued from 1900 to 1922, when the clock tower modeled after a French château at Blois was completed. The landmark sign dates from 1923. Ruth Asawa designed Andrea, the fountain, which serves as a centerpiece of the courtyrd and is surrounded by brick pavillions designed by John Matthias. Lawrence Halprin & Associates did the landscape design. Builders Booksource, an excellent architectural bookstore, is located south of the fountain (Wiley 2000: 334-35).

In the present development of the Ghirardelli Block, Larkin and North Point Streets, at the foot of Russian Hill can be seen that imaginative combination of renovation and preservation that can produce something invaluable to a city.

Domingo Ghirardelli, San Francisco's premier chocolate maker, was intimately associated with two crowning jewels of the city's recent enthusiasm for the preservation and lively use of blocks of buildings of beguiling and historic architecture--Jackson Square (where the Ghirardelli building forms the core of the superb restoration) and Ghirardelli Square, the modernization of the wonderful red brick pile he began to construct in 1893.

The nucleus of the Ghirardelli Block is the three-story building originally built as the S. F. Pioneer Woolen Factory in 1864. This old structure is easily distinguished from the later buildings not only by its plainer surface treatment, but because it is not aligned on the same axis as the later buildings--as can be most easily seen from the Polk Street side of the block.

Ghirardelli purchased the old woolen mill in 1893, although he died before the factory was moved from Jackson Square in 1897. In the next two decades Domingo's sons added the increasingly elaborate buildings that make up the present block, finishing in 1916 with the Clock Tower Building at the corner of Larkin and North Point, an impressive structure patterned after the Louis XII wing of the Chateau Blois in the Loire Valley. All the buildings were designed by architect William Mooser, whose father had designed the original woolen mill.

In the early 1960's, the fate of this attractive industrial block was much in question; the value of the land had advanced steadily while the old buildings were becoming less and less suitable to an up-to-date plant. The obvious probability was that the Ghirardelli Block would be demolished to make way for high-rise apartments.

At this point, William M. Roth bought the block and retained the distinguished architectural firm of Wurster, Bernardi & Emmons to remodel it as a center for high quality shops and restaurants. Only one of the old buildings was razed--the frame "box factory" on Beach Street--and this was replaced by a handsome modern building executed in a style consistent with the older structures.

Altogether, Ghirardelli Square is a triumph of imaginative planning and sensitive use of existing buildings of architectural merit. The great success of this project has had a profound effect on the Aquatic Park-Fisherman's Wharf area, as developers seize upon the possibilities inherent in other old buildings (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 40-43).

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Hotaling Annex West
1860 (circa), North Beach, Hotaling Annex West,
463-73 Jackson St., San Francisco.
nm.

(Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 47).

Hotaling was one of San Francisco's leading liquor dealers, and he erected this headquarters and warehouse in about 1866. As the business flourished he added an adjoining structure on Jones Alley (now called Hotaling Place), the rather similar two-story building on Jackson adjoining to the east, and the three-story building across the alley at 463 Jackson Street. The warehouse at 463 seems to have been built around 1860. It is in the same general style of 451-461 Jackson, but more restrained in ornamentation. In this case the pediments over the windows are less elaborate, and all of those over the second floor windows are arched, while those of the third floor are pointed.

The cast iron pillars employed in these and many other buildings of the period now permit an almost totally glazed facade for the first floor, a characteristic that makes such buildings eminently eligible for modern shop use. At the time the style of these buildings was characteristic of San Francisco, they, too, would have had glass fronts had they been used as stores; as warehouses, they had floor-to-ceiling iron doors, which greatly facilitated the handling of heavy goods (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 52-53).

The latter [Hotaling Annex West] was the headquarters for the New Deal Federal Artists and Federal Writers projects in the 1930s. Here a group of writers, including Kenneth Rexroth and Madeline Gleason compiled (San Francisco, the Bay and Its Cities, a guidebook, which is still worth reading (Wiley 2000: 151).

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293 Union St. house
1860s, Telegraph Hill, 293 Union St. house,
293 Union St., San Francisco.
nm.

Although most of Telegraph Hill's buildings are post-1906, two clusters of houses on the eastern flank of the hill reveal what it looked like in its early period. The simple wood-frame buildings of almost miniature scale resemble the prefabs shipped from New England to this Yankee outpost. Few have escaped alterations, but they have a time-bound quality that matches their setting (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 50).

The stylistic simplicity of this one-story frame cottage makes it seem ageless. It complements its neighbors to the east, and also emphasizes the height of 291 (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 302).

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1309 Montgomery St house
1860s, Telegraph Hill, 1309 Montgomery St house,
1309 Montgomery St., San Francisco.
nm.

Although most of Telegraph Hill's buildings are post-1906, two clusters of houses on the eastern flank of the hill reveal what it looked like in its early period. The simple wood-frame buildings of almost miniature scale resemble the prefabs shipped from New England to this Yankee outpost. Few have escaped alterations, but they have a time-bound quality that matches their setting (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 50).

(1309-11 and 1313-15 Montgomery Street) Detailing is simple on these Italianates. It is confined to incised brackets and simple pediments over windows and doors. Modernizations--particularly doors--have been added (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 281).

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1315 Montgomery St. house
1860s, Telegraph Hill, 1315 Montgomery St. house,
1315 Montgomery St., San Francisco.
nm.

Although most of Telegraph Hill's buildings are post-1906, two clusters of houses on the eastern flank of the hill reveal what it looked like in its early period. The simple wood-frame buildings of almost miniature scale resemble the prefabs shipped from New England to this Yankee outpost. Few have escaped alterations, but they have a time-bound quality that matches their setting (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 50).

(1309-11 and 1313-15 Montgomery Street) Detailing is simple on these Italianates. It is confined to incised brackets and simple pediments over windows and doors. Modernizations--particularly doors--have been added (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 281).

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224 Filbert St. house
1863, Telegraph Hill, 224 Filbert St. house,
224 Filbert St., San Francisco.
nm.

A cluster of houses from the 1860s and 1870s is at 228 and 224 Filbert and across the way on the two pedestrian lanes, Darrell Place and Napier Lane. As of this writing the dates of the Napier Lane houses are: No. 10, 1875; No. 15, 1884; No. 16, 1872; No. 21, 1885; No. 22, 1876, and No. 32-34, 1890, but remodeled. No. 36 Darrell Place is a condominium building by Ace Architects intended as an homage to Bay Regional architecture. A flight of wooden steps leads down the precipitous hillside. The hill's scarred flanks bear witness to the quarrying operations that chipped away at its base for years until stopped in 1903. Among other uses the quarried rock became fill for the Embarcadero (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 51).

Second in interest to 228 Filbert is 224 Filbert Street, a cottage that appears to date from 1863. This house is a good example of the very simplest type of home of its period. The roof line is unusual, being in the pattern of an old-fashioned barn roof--that is, with the center peaked up sharply and the outer edges at a flatter pitch (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 63).

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228 Filbert St. house 228 Filbert St. house
1860s-70s, North Beach, 228 Filbert St. house,
228 Filbert St., San Francisco.
nm.

A cluster of houses from the 1860s and 1870s is at 228 and 224 Filbert and across the way on the two pedestrian lanes, Darrell Place and Napier Lane. As of this writing the dates of the Napier Lane houses are: No. 10, 1875; No. 15, 1884; No. 16, 1872; No. 21, 1885; No. 22, 1876, and No. 32-34, 1890, but remodeled. No. 36 Darrell Place is a condominium building by Ace Architects intended as an homage to Bay Regional architecture. A flight of wooden steps leads down the precipitous hillside. The hill's scarred flanks bear witness to the quarrying operations that chipped away at its base for years until stopped in 1903. Among other uses the quarried rock became fill for the Embarcadero (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 51).

Two houses on Filbert Street dating from the 1850s have been much altered over the years, but are still counted among the most desirable places to live in San Francisco. Their survival is little short of a miracle (Alexander and Heig 2002: 138).

On the Filbert Steps, the most eye-catching house is the one at 228 Filbert Street. Built around 1873, this house is an expression of a rather simple "Carpenter Gothic" style, with bargeboard, finials, and Gothic arches reduced to straight lines over the windows (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 63).

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1860s, North Beach, Diana's Saloon,
580 Pacific Ave., San Francisco.
nm.

The notorious Barbary Coast was one of the most unlamented victims of the 1906 fire, which swept the area between Jackson Square and almost the crest of Telegraph Hill. The only one of the Coast's pre-quake saloons still standing was at one time "Diana's"--now "The Brighton Express"--at 580 Pacific Avenue. This building, with its attractive arched doorway and windows, may have been built in the 1860's. Curiously, the formal and apparently balanced facade is not quite symmetrical--as though the bricklayers had traced the facade out on the ground with a stick, agreed to the general appearance, started building at one end, and failed to come out even. Presumably only the bare shell of the building survived the fire, and even much of that may be a reconstruction (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 57).

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1860s-70s, North Beach, Washington Square,
Columbus Ave-Stockton St., Union-Filbert St., San Francisco.
nm.; 1933, Haig Patigian; 1958, Lawrence Halprin and Associates and Douglas Baylis.

Blighted by unkempt cemeteries in its first decade, this early rectangular plot was leveled in the 1860s and became a favorite place to promenade after Montgomery Avenue, renamed Columbus in 1909, was cut across one corner of it in the 1870s. Lillie Coit's monument to the Volunteer Fire Department, sculpted by Haig Patigian and installed in 1933, and the 1879 statue of Ben Franklin are in the Square. In 1958 Lawrence Halprin and Associates and Douglas Baylis designed the present landscape, which is so sympathetic to its surroundings and to the activities of the square that it seems as though it had always existed (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 49).

When the Presidio comandante, Lt. Mariano Vallejo, was ordered to transfer his command to Sonoma in the mid-1830s, the Mirandas [Apolinario Miranda, Juana Briones, 8 children] detached themselves completely from Presidial duties and moved across the sandy wasteland to the western foot of Telegraph Hill. Here, near today's intersection of Powell and Filbert Streets and the playground of Saints Peter and Paul Church, the couple built a one-and-a-half-story adobe, the first private house built between the Presidio and the mission. Perhaps it was also at this time that Juana adopted three more children, orphans taken off a ship bound for Australia.

Besides her busy life as a nurse and midwife at both the Presidio and the Mission, the Widow Briones found time to raise some cows and to tend a vegetable garden in the area of today's Washington Square. Aside from these occupations, this enterprising woman also rented horses to sailors on shore leave. Most interestingly of all, she offered her attic as sanctuary to more than one sea-weary tar who jumped ship at Yerba Buena Cove. There she would keep the escapee hidden until her brother, Felipe, could remove him to a safer spot down the peninsula.

The Widow Briones lived in remote circumstances, at least until the Yerba Buena settlement was established nearby. Her fame as a healer and her generosity made her a legend even in her own time, when today's North Beach was called "La Playa de Juana Briones." (Alexander and Heig 2002: 33-34).

This view of North Beach, painted in 1849 by an artist named Tobin, shows the shallow cove extending far inland, with North Point and Black Point (today's Fort Mason) ranged behind it. The small buildings on the beach were probably put up during the year since the discovery of gold. But the more substantial buildings further inland, at left, were probably older. Juana Briones' house, with one story plus an attic and a veranda, stood in today's Washington Square, which would be precisely the area at the left of this picture. (Courtesy Society of California Pioneers)(Alexander and Heig 2002: 34).

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Abbreviations

add = Additions; nm = No Mention; rem = Remodelled; rest = Restoration