VLN: 19th C. Architecture: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 (1872-1875) 9 10 11 [12-24]

19th century architecture slide show

Chronological listing of 10 selected architectural works in the San Francisco Bay Area (1872-1875).

Pre-fab house
1872, Russian Hill, Pre-fab house,
15-17 Macondray Ln., San Francisco.

Macondray Lane, a privately-maintained street running from Leavenworth to Taylor between Union and Greenb Streets, has an old Bohemian reputation. The bucolic atmosphere of this country lane on Russian Hill attracted artists and writers (such as poetess Ina Coolbrith), and for many years some of the city's leading newspapermen. The most historically interesting of its houses is 15-17 Macondray Lane, which dates to at least 1872 but is thought to be older, perhaps having been shipped around the Horn (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 48).

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1873, Western Addition, 1843 Pine St. house,
1843 Pine St., San Francisco.

(Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 110).

Pretty fluting is seen on the lower half of the porch columns and pipestem colonnettes on this Italianate (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 287).

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1873, West Mission, 102 Guerrero St. house,
102 Guerrero St., San Francisco.
Henry Geilfuss; rest. 1980, Roy Killeen.

One of Geilfuss's most refined facades. The slender colonnettes that divide the windows are unusual (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 137).

Nearby in the One Hundred block of Guerrero Street, is a series of older Italianate houses. The three at 120, 122, and 126 Guerrero Street were built about 1878, apparently by the same builder, as they are substantially identical. Together with the flats adjoining (104-114 Guerrero Street) and the house at the corner of Guerrero and Duboce (102 Guerrero Street), these buildings form an outstanding row, particularly in that they are handsomely maintained and are located where thousands of motorists see them each day (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 104-05).

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1874, Western Addition, 2115-25 Bush St. house,
2115-25 Bush St., San Francisco.
The Real Estate Assoc., builder.

(Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 110).

Another interesting architectural area in the Western Addition is the south side of Bush Street in the block between Fillmore and Webster. A remarkably unchanged row of Italianate houses, 2115 through 2125 Bush Street, was constructed about 1874. The stock detailing of rounded and triangular-pedimented windows, the effective use of console-supported porch elements and the dignified repeat of cornice line distinguish these handsome survivors. This same block has a small row of slightly later houses, 2103 through 2107 Bush Street, which continues the univormity of the street facade. Finally, Cottage Row which dips down toward Sutter Street, between 2109-11 and 2115-15 Bush Street, represents one of San Francisco's few residential walkways comparable to an English mews (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 113).

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1874, Western Addition, 2103-07 Bush St. house,
2103-07 Bush St., San Francisco.

(Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 110).

An exceptionally fine stained glass window on the front door is the highlight of this Italianate house (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 254).

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Brick building
1874, Telegraph Hill, Brick building,
1105 Battery St., San Francisco.

A small red brick building of considerable quality stands on the northwest corner of Battery and Union. The building may date from 1874, though the earliest reliable photographic evidence available does not place it any earlier than 1880. It has been used as a seamen's hotel and saloon during most of its years. Dwarfed by the large warehouses all around it, yet looking stately and clean of line, this little building shows off its good brickwork and good proportions very well. The interior has been restored by the present owners so as to show off the brick work from the inside as well as the outside (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 65).

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Brick building
1875, Telegraph Hill, 10 Napier Lane house,
10 Napier Lane, San Francisco.

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 (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 51).

Running north from the Filbert Steps, Napier Lane is one of the most enchanting little streets in San Francisco. The houses in the lane date from about 1875 to 1890. The lane provides a good architectural insight into the appearance of old telegraph Hill, although now colorful flowers and plants have been added.

The oldest house (1875) in the lane would appear to be 10 Napier Lane, a very simple Italianate structure similar to 293 Union Street (1860s). Other houses which should be noted along this charming boardwalk are 15 (1884), 16 (1872), 21 (1885), 22 (1876), and 32-34 (1890, and considerably remodeled). (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 63, 65).

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Lotta's Fountain
1875, Union Square, Lotta's Fountain,
Kearny-Geary-Market Sts., San Francisco.
Wyneken and Townsend.

Lotta Crabtree, the most highly paid American actress of her day, retired from touring in 1891 to San Francsco. Her $4 million fortune went to charity; the best known gift is this fountain. The shaft was lengthened in 1915 by eight feet to better match the Market Street light standards. In 1916 the merchants paid for their bas-reliefs, created by noted sculptor Arthur Putnam (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 19).

Evelyn Wells [in her captivating book Champagne Days of San Francisco] also describes the "Cocktail Route," for decades a part of San Francisco legend. The town's tycoons, like the Senator, the Banker and the Judge [the book's three leading characters], met in the early afternoon at Lotta's Fountain, to adjourn for refreshments at such great watering places as the Palace bar, where the city's bonanza kings might rub elbows with local celebrities like the English nobleman, Lord Talbot Clifton, and his pal, White Hat McCarty, a horse trainer from Boston, who in 1898 won $100,000 backing a fifty-to-one shot in the American Derby at Chicago. McCarty's white beaver hat and a heavy gold watch chain were the only reminders of the fortune he had flung away on bets and high living (Alexander and Heig 2002: 328).

The last portrait [in the trompe l'oeil mural on the west wall of the Monadock Building lobby] with a name is opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini, one of Italy's greatest coloratura sopranos. In 1910, on Christmas Eve, she sang "The Last Rose of Summer" to over a quarter million people right across the street at Lotta's Fountain (Monadnock Building Handout, nd).

One of the city's oldest and best known monuments. It was originally a gift to the City by Lotta Crabtree, a famous 19th-century entertainer who considered San Francisco her home. Among the numerous memorable events which have occurred here was a performance by the opera star Luisa Tetrazzini on Christmas Eve 1910, attended by many thousands of people. A plaque at the base by Haig Patigian commemorates the event. In 1915 the shaft of the cast-iron column was lengthened by eight feet to correspond more sympathetically to the height of the new streetlights on Market. A (Corbett 1979: 239).

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Burr house
1875/1941, Pacific Heights, Burr house,
1772 Vallejo St., San Francisco.
Edmund M. Wharff/rem. William W. Wurster.

(Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 82).

This mansard-roofed beauty at 1776 Vallejo Street boasts a matching pair of slanted bays in front, while the columned entrance is on the side, a very unusual arrangement for San Francisco. Captain Ephraim Burr, native of Rhode Island, became a popular mayor of the city (1856-59), known for his frugality, which led to his success as the head of the first savings union in California. He built this house in 1787 as a wedding present for his son, who was a chemist. At the back of the property Burr built an iron house as a laboratory, so that his son would not blow up the rest of his family with one of his experiments. Burr was a financial backer of "Hallidie's Folly," the cable car (Alexander and Heig 2002: 256).

A little west [of Van Ness], at 1772 Vallejo Street, [Captain Ephraim] Burr built a splendid mansard-roofed house for his son in 1875. The house, with its graceful side porch and garden, has been carefully restored, and serves today as law offices. One feature of this property was a separate cast-iron house, probably shipped from England, which Captain Burr erected for the scientific experiments of his son, Edmond. In this shelter Edmond might blow himself up, reasoned the old man, but at least the family would be spared. The iron house has vanished without a trace.

In 1856, Captain Burr won the San Francisco mayoral election; legend has it that it took a thousand armed men and a police wagon at each polling station to purify the election. Burr had a reputation for honesty--indeed, for penny-pinching--that appealed to voters. He established the San Francisco Accumulating Fund, commonly known as the Clay Street Bank, California's first savings and loan company. As mayor, Burr was foresighted enough to back Andrew Hallidie's invention of the cable car with $30,000 in 1873 (Alexander and Heig 2002: 291-92).

The square wooden mansion at 1772 Vallejo street was an ex-sailor's wedding gift to his son. Ephraim Willard Burr came to California after he left the sea and eventually went into the wholesaling business. The New Englander prospered almost immediately, and went on to become one of San Francisco's earliest mayors.

The Italianate mansion on Vallejo Street, with slanted bays and a Mansard roof, was designed by Edmund M. Wharff and built in 1875 as Burr's wedding gift to his son, Edmund. During the 1906 earthquake, the house slipped off its foundations and ninety-three jacks were required to lift it back. As one of the best preserved residences of the period, it is a fine example of the transition of style in the later 1870's (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 22).

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Talbot-Dutton house
1875/1905, Russian Hill, Talbot-Dutton house,
1782 Pacific Ave., San Francisco.

This elegant Italianate was a wedding present from a lumber tycoon to his daughter. In 1905, a matching wing was added that created the unusual double-bay facade (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 66).

Directly below Talbot's house, on the northeast corner of Pacific and Franklin, stands the house Talbot built as a wedding present to his daughter when she married Henry Dutton, son of the founder of the Fireman's Fund Insurance Company. In the 1950s, banker Paul Hardman purchased this elegant Italianate house with the specific intention of preserving it from the fate which had befallen all its neighbors. It was among the first Victorian restorations in the city (Alexander and Heig 2002: 293).

The two-story house with slanted bay windows at 1782 Pacific Avenue was built in 1869 by lumber tycoon William C. Talbot as a wedding gift for his daughter. An unusual feature is the foundation which is supported by underground "flying buttresses" of brick. In 1905, Jacob Goldberg purchased the house and added a wing in keeping with the original style. The home is now a decorator's office and residence, and the shingled carriage house in the rear serves as a garage.

At one side the present owner has created a Classical Revival guest house which adds a third stylistic flourish to the ensemble. The main house is an excellent example of the Italianate town house, with pipestem colonnettes on the first floor bays and other Mannerist Italian detailing: the brackets at the roof line are clearly Victorian (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 23-24).

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