Chronological listing of 10 selected architectural works in the San Francisco Bay Area (1861-1866).
1861/1908, Union Square, Gump's Gallery,
246-68 Post St., San Francisco.
nm.; rem. Clinton Day.
A legendary store that boasts consistently superb window displays (Gebhard Winter Sandweiss 1985: 78).
Originally built in 1861 but remodeled extensively after the fire, Gump's Gallery is the oldest continuously operating gallery in northern California. The department store actually evolved from the family's gallery and has continued to present the region's major trends in art and home furnishings (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 7).
(250 Post Street) Gump's. Founded in 1861 by Solomon Gump, this firm first sold mirrors for saloons. With architect Clinton Day and Japanese carpenters, A. Livingston Gump undertook the extensive remodeling of this two-story building in 1906 to house Gump's Oriental treasures (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 289).
An old San Francisco specialty store, first built in 1861 for Solomon Gump and remodeled after the fire by Clinton Day for A. Livingston Gump with the particular idea of providing a setting for Asian art work. The existing building is a handsome design which is still closer than most in appearance to mid-19th century San Francisco commercial buildings. In composition, it is a modified Renaissance palazzo. It is a brick building with wood posts and is clad along its main facade in Colusa sandstone. Its dark color, distinctive design, gabled parapet, and red awnings, all contribute to its importance as a major element along Post Street. B (Corbett 1979: 152).
1861, North Beach, Tobacco and Coffee warehouse,
435-41 Jackson St., San Francisco.
The Medico-Dental Building (17) at 435 Jackson is built on the hulls of two abandoned ships. Although the building was used as a wine, tobacco, and coffee warehouse, the caducei above the pilasters indicate an unknown connection to the medical profession (Wiley 2000: 151).
Cast iron pilasters on the first floor and brick work on the second give a distinguished appearance to this building which once housed medical-dental offices. The hulls of two dismantled schooners were used in its construction (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 274).
1861, Russian Hill, Ina Claire Wallace house,
930 Chestnut St., San Francisco.
At 930 Chestnut stands another Victorian charmer with three-sided bay windows and a Corinthian porch. Built in 1861, it was "modernized" in the 1870s to typify what has come to be identified as the classic San Francisco Victorian Italianate style. At one time, this was the home of actress Ina Claire Wallace, one of the American theater's leading ladies (Alexander and Heig 2002: 108).
In 1926 [Bruce] Porter bought the house next door [to 944 Chestnut St.], at 930 Chestnut Street. A two-story Italianate structure, it had been built in about 1861 by James C. Cary, whose family occupied it for sixty-five years. Today, beautifully maintained and embowered by lush foliage, the Cary and Spring Houses are among the most delightful of the city's old residences (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 46).
1861, North Beach, Old Ship Saloon,
Battery St. and Pacific Ave, San Francisco.
The Old Ship Saloon (52) (1861) on the northeast corner is one of the last of the old waterfront bars. The original Old Ship Saloon was the ship Arkansas, which was overtaken by the waterfront after its arrival in 1849. In 1859, the Arkansas was cut up and replaced by this brick building, which was both a saloon and a boarding house. Sailors stayed here at their peril, as crimps operated from the saloon, providing men by one means or another for ships' captians (Wiley 2000: 251).
Until the turn of the century, The Old Ship Saloon operated as a sailors' tavern and shanghaiing den. In 1897, Henry Klee purchased the business, then rebuilt the building following the 1906 earthquake and fire.(2003-4 Rugged Elegance, LLC)
1862-64, Presidio, Officers' quarters,
Funston Ave., San Francisco.
Along Funston Avenue is a row of Classic Revival/Italianate officers' quarters, which originally faced the first parade ground (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 162).
1863, Russian Hill, Spring Hill,
944 Chestnut St, San Francisco.
One of the oldest houses on Russian Hill, the house at 944 Chestnut St. was given the name "Spring Hill," by Bruce Porter, who lived here at the turn of the 20th century. It was built in the 1860s for a French photographer (Alexander and Heig 2002: 145).
Chestnut Street on the north side of Russian Hill, has remained a place of particular interest because, by happy circumstance, three historic houses of great charm escaped the 1906 conflagration. At 944 Chestnut is a Georgian style house built in 1863 by a French photographer, Alexander Edouart. In 1865 it was sold to a realtor, Francis Spring. Coincidentally, a spring flowing through the gardens saved the place in 1906; since then it has been known as "Spring Gardens." It remains a fine example of the pre-Civil War Victorian style, built at a time when classical rules of restraint and good proportion were still heeded. The fine garden, created by one-time owner Bruce Porter, adds considerable charm to this property (Alexander and Heig 2002: 108).
On the other side of the block from the fine old house at 825 Francisco Street, on the east slope of what used to be known as the Chestnut Street Hill, stand two handsome homes dating from the 1860's. A photograph of 1867 shows three houses standing amidst fruit trees on this part of the hill--the house on Francisco and the neighboring houses at 930 and 944 Chestnut Street.
The house at 944 Chestnut Street was built in about 1863 by artist Alexander Edouart. Eschewing the popular Italianate style, Edouart built a two-story frame house of rather Georgian character. Two years later, he sold the house to a real estate man, Francis Spring.
Francis Spring lived in the house until his death in 1896. In 1918 artist Bruce Porter bought the home for his bride, a daughter of the philosopher William James. Porter, with his designer's eye, considerably remodeled both house and garden (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 46).
1863, Presidio, Army Museum (former Post Hospital),
Funston and Lincoln Aves., San Francisco.
The former Post Hospital, now the Army Museum. With its simple but elegant three-story galleries it is also one of the handsomest of the Presidio's buildings. (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 162).
Built of materials shipped around the Horn in the course of the construction of the fort at Fort Point, the Old Station Hospital on Lincoln near Funston Avenue was the first permanent building completed by the U. S. Army in the Presidio area (possibly excepting a small powder magazine). Since its completion in 1857 the hospital has been in continuous use as a medical center, though since the construction of old Letterman Hospital in 1899 it has been relegated to use as the post dispensary and dental clinic. The setting of this attractive building still retains enough of its pastoral quality to suggest the days of the 1860's when ladies of the post cultivated a garden nearby to keep the patients in fresh vegetables, and among the medical equipment was a cow to provide fresh milk.
The changes in the main building since its construction have been minor; the ground has been excavated from around the brick basement, making the hospital appear to be three stories, rather than two, and the upper veranda has been glassed in. An addition which is most eye-catching is the hexagonal three-story tower adjoining the north side; apparently built as an operating area, it still serves for minor surgery (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 7-8).
1865, North Beach, Former French consulate,
432-34 Jackson St., San Francisco.
Rebuilt after 1906 from rubble of other buildings (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 47).
A magnificent example of the textural properties of old brick is seen in the former French consulate at 432 Jackson Street. Combined with the surface qualities of the brick, the pattern of Romanesque arches of the first-floor facade, and the flat, recessed arches of the second-floor windows, the plane trees of recent vintage enhance an inherent interplay of light and shadow.
Said to have been the first French consulate building in San Francisco, the structure was erected about 1865. In keeping with this romantic flavor, its later tenants included Ina Coolbrith, poet laureate of California, and a school of languages conducted by a Professor J. Mibielle. Further, Balance Street, which flanks one side of the building, was named for the Balance, a Gold Rush ship which ended her last voyage landlocked forever by the encroaching wharves and streets of the growing city (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 53, 54).
1865-66, Pacific Heights, Casebolt house,
2727 Pierce St., San Francisco.
Set back in the center of the block, this great Italianate was once the manor house of Cow Hollow. Henry Casebolt, a Virginia blacksmith who arrived and made his fortune during the Gold Rush era, used salvaged ship timbers for much of his mansion's structure. The white wood exterior was once speckled with dark tones to mimic stone, which, for eastern pioneers, was a classier material (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 82).
A century ago, Pierce Street was a country road leading down to Washerwoman's Lagoon and 2727 Pierce Street, better known as the Casebolt House, was the manor house of Cow Hollow. It stood alone in the sloping fields, overlooking vegetable gardens and cow pastures, a barn, a windmill and a rustic lake with waterfall and island.
The entrance was later enriched by a double-arched gateway through which carriages ascended the double driveway. Although the spacious lawns have been converted to ground cover, the house and its impressive setting remain uncompromised, and the delightful "upper" garden at the back is a handsome addition to the entire neighborhood.
Henry Casebolt was a Virginia blacksmith who, with his wife and his eleven children, settled in San Francisco in 1851 and soon prospered. His intricate three-story wooden mansion was built in 1865-66.
Massive ships' timbers support its four corners; mastlike uprights run from the mudsill up through the attic and are reinforced by heavy beams placed diagonally. Italianate at its most opulent, the Casebolt house is not confined by any rigid stylistic formulae. The rusticated exterior was originally flecked with black paint to give the effect of stone and, though that feature has since been changed, the house still exudes strength.
Before his death in 1893, Casebolt sold the house and it passed through various hands until it was purchased by the present owners in the 1920's. They have maintained this fine old house in perfect condition for the past forty years (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 19).
1866, North Beach, Hotaling Building,
451-61 Jackson St., San Francisco.
On the south side [of Jackson St.] are structures, such as the Hotaling Building (11) (1866) at 455 Jackson, that employ brackets, pointed and arched pediments over doors and windows, and pilasters with Corinthian capitals, all features of the increasingly popular Italianate style (Wiley 2000: 150).
The Hotaling Building, at 451 Jackson, has pediments and quoins of cast iron applied over the brick walls, a common feature of commercial structures in those days. Some people remember the cast-iron pilasters and trim on buildings in the old produce district, which was demolished to make room for the Golden Gateway project; now the Hotaling Building is the only example left in San Francisco (Alexander and Heig 2002: 369).
One elegant Jackson Square building is the former A. P. Hotaling warehouse at 451-461 Jackson Street. A fine example of the Italianate style popular in San Francisco business blocks of the '60's and '70's, the Hotaling warehouse employs the powerful Baroque device of alternating pointed and arched window pediments. The ornamental pillars of the first floor are of a cast-iron pattern produced by a San Francisco works. All of the windows were once fitted with iron shutters, the heavy brick construction and shuttered openings comprising "fire-proofing" in that day.
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 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).
Abbreviationsadd = Additions; nm = No Mention; rem = Remodelled; rest = Restoration