Chronological listing of 10 selected architectural works in the San Francisco Bay Area (1886-1890).
1886, Golden Gate Park, Sharon Children's House,
Kezar Dr near 1st Ave., San Francisco.
Percy and Hamilton.
The Children's House, which holds all manner of child-oriented delights, is the city's purest surviving example of Richardsonian Romanesque. Heavily damaged in the 1906 earthquake, as were other masonry structures in the park, it was rebuilt within the year. The carousel dates from c. 1892. In 1978 Michael Painter and Assoc. redesigned the playground (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 168).
Also in the Richardson Romanesque style is the Children's House, built in 1885 with funds donated by William Sharon, a Comstock millionaire. This jewel of stone masonry was designed by the firm of Percy and Hamilton, with William Hall as consulting engineer. The interior was badly burnt in the 1960s, but has been rebuilt and carefully restored as a center for arts and crafts. The building overlooks Children's Playground, the first such facility to be built in the United States. Old photographs show families in full Victorian dress, enjoying themselves in giant swings, or riding the carousel, recently restored to magnificent condition (Alexander and Heig 2002: 350-51).
Two quite attractive Romanesque buildings constructed of rough sandstone are found near the eastern entrances of the park. The older, the "Children's House" at the children's playground off South Drive, was a gift of the estate of Senator William Sharon, erstwhile "King of the Comstock." It was built in 1885 from designs of Percy and Hamilton, with William Hammond Hall serving as consultant engineer (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 139).
1887, Pacific Heights, Mansion Hotel,
2220 Sacramento St., San Francisco.
A house in transition from Queen Anne to Colonial Revival that has suppressed its towers (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 87).
1888, Russian Hill, Marshall Houses,
1034-36 Vallejo St., San Francisco.
Still recalling the early context of the hill are the Marshall houses at 1034 and 1036, two of three gable-roofed, brown-shingled reminders of New England farmhouses. They were built by a parishioner of Joseph Worcester, pastor of the Swedenborgian Church, whose rustic cottage once stood at the end of the row (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 67).
Marshall Houses: 1034 and 1036 Vallejo St. 1884. A third, 1038, was razed for a never-built highrise (Gebhard, Winter and Sandweiss_1985: 55).
Joseph Worcester, an amateur architect and Swedenborgian minister, designed two Shingle Style buildings on Russian Hill in 1889, inspiring the architects who founded the First Bay Tradition.
The second development [of the summit of Russian Hill] began in the late 1880s. As the flow of construction pressed ever westward block after block toward the end of the nineteenth century, the top of Russian Hill remained isolated and what today we would call "funky," with an occasional goat browsing in empty, garbage-strewn lots. Gradually, homes were built in clusters or one at a time. In 1888 the wife of the owner of property at the top of the hill asked Joseph Worcester, pastor at the Swedenborgian Church, to design three houses to be built on part of the parcel. Worcester's design, like Ranlett's three decades earlier, was to have a major impact on Bay Area architecture. Worcester, who was influenced in his thinking by Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Ruskin, and William Wordsworth, "viewed the natural world as a manifestation of God and felt that buildings should relate well to the environment rather than disrupt it," according to Kostura.70 Worcester had built a home in the Oakland Hills, a simple rustic affair with a low hipped roof, overhanging eaves, unpainted shingles on the outside, and redwood on the inside. Although he lacked formal training in architecture, Worcester was experimenting with a vernacular shingled design just before Henry Hobson Richardson, the architect most closely associated with the Shingle Style, began designing shingled homes in New England.
The three homes at the top of Russian Hill designed by Worcester were a radical departure from the elaborate Victorians that filled the blocks of the ever-expanding city. Gone were the stickwork, turrets, bay windows, brackets, and other elaborate ornamentation. In their place Worcester created simple shingled houses. Worcester's designs marked the beginning of the revolt against Victorianism and the origins of the First Bay Tradition.
Worcester built a cottage for himself to the east of the three new shingled houses. To his home he attracted a group of artists and intellectuals who shared his reverence for nature and a love of simple living. William Keith, the landscape painter who contributed canvasses to the Church of the New Jerusalem over whose construction Worcester would preside, was a close friend, as were John Muir and Charles Keeler. Keeler was an advocate of the Arts and Crafts movement, an ardent supporter of the work of Bernard Maybeck, and the author of The Simple Home, which he dedicated to Maybeck. In about 1890, Willis Polk moved into a dilapidated house across the street from the Worcester houses and became a friend of their designer. Polk immediately went to work remodeling the ground floor of the house he was renting, paneling the walls with redwood much in the manner of the interior of Worcester's modest home.
Joseph Worcester, the Swedenborgian minister and amateur architect, designed the two shingled houses at 1034 and 1036 Vallejo (6) (1889) (see page 124). Worcester broke with the Victorian style, cladding these houses with shingles while eschewing the elaborate ornamentation and complex façades that were popular at the time. In the same year, Worcester built his own house where the Hermitage stands at 1020 Vallejo. He finished the interior with plain redwood paneling, giving it a rustic look (Wiley 2000: 125; 254-55; 257).
During the 1880s and 1890s, the Summit of Russian Hill became the birthplace of the Bay Region Tradition of architecture, a Western variant of the Eastern Shingle Style. The demolition of Jobson's Tower opened the way for development on the northernmost block of the Summit. In January 1870, David P. Marshall purchased the site of Jobson's Observatory. He left the site vacant for eighteen years until 1888, when his wife, Emilie, asked her pastor, Swedenborgian minister Reverend Joseph Worcester, to design three houses for her husband's property. Worcester, one of the most influential cultural figures in late nineteenth-century San Francisco, was an amateur architect as well as a man of the cloth, and he willingly obliged Mrs. Marshall. In the process, he designed three of the most influential houses ever constructed in the Bay Area. Two of these houses at 1034 and 1036 Vallejo still exist. Although to the average passerby these houses do not appear to be that special, their impact in the 1880s was tremendous. Their simple shingled walls, minimal ornament and straightforward arrangement of openings contrasted violently with the gingerbread excess of Victorian row houses then being built by the dozen by contractors in the Victorian suburbs of the Western Addition and Mission Districts. Generally held to be the earliest surviving examples of the "woodsy" Bay Region Tradition, 1034 and 1036 Vallejo Street have influenced generations of later architects in search of the naturalistic and minimalist aesthetic espoused by Reverend Joseph Worcester ( Christopher VerPlanck).
On the north side of the street are two severely plain shingled houses which were built around 1884 for D. P. and Emily Price Marshall, although the name of the Reverend Joseph Worcester of [the] Swedenborgian church is often erroneously connected with the houses. The two houses, 1034 and 1036 Vallejo Street, are quite elegant despite their plainness, the sharply peaked roofs and small windows of the upper floor being reminiscent of old New England. The home at 1036 Vallejo is sometimes remembered as the one-time residence of Colonel Rowen who carried "The Message to Garcia," during the Spanish-American war (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 49).
1889, Financial District, Audiffred Building,
1-21 Mission St., San Francisco.
William E. Cullen.
Built by Hippolyte Audiffred to recall his native France, the building survived the 1906 fire but was gutted by another fire in 1980. It has since been rehabilitated. The nautical ornament on the ground floor cornice is a delightful reminder that the building was once right on the water (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 36).
1-21 Mission Street, Audiffred Building. Architect unknown. 1889. Department of City Planning Inventory - 3. CL (Corbett 1979: 222).
Opposite the Embarcadero, 11-21 Mission Street is one of the last buildings that convey any of the flavor of the more modest commercial buildings of pre-1906 downtown San Francisco. This building was put up in 1889 by Hipolyte d'Audiffred to a design well-calculated to "remind him of home." Hipolyte's grandson recalls that the family building was saved by the barkeep of the first-floor saloon ("The Bulkhead"). As the great fire swept toward the waterfront, a corps of dynamiters ahead of it. For two quarts of whiskey per man and a hose cart full of wine, the firefighters were willing to take the chance that the d'Audiffred Building would spread the flames across East Street (later the Embarcadero) to the piers. As it happened, the fire spared the building, leaving it the only structure intact on the landward side of East Street.
In the last few years this building's upstairs rooms have housed artists, composers, and poets giving it some of the reputation of the old Montgomery block (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 94).
1889, Stockton, St. John's Episcopal Church, Guild Hall,
El Dorado St. and Miner Ave., NE corner, Stockton
The Guildhall is a mixture of Queen Anne style with a little Richardsonian Romanesque added. Though not designed by Coxhead, the church closely follows his early sketches for the building (Longstreth 1998: 422; Gebhard, Winter and Sandweiss 1985: 421).
1890, Pacific Heights, 2516 Union St. house,
2516 Union St., San Francisco.
A.C. Schweinfurth; rem. 1955, John Funk.
A simplified Colonial Revival house of quiet distinction by an architect who belonged to the group of architects who forged the Bay Area's first regional approach to design (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 94).
(1896) Great understanding of the shingled cottage tradition is shown in this house, designed by Maybeck and altered by John Funk in 1955. Effective are the shingled bargeboard and massive redwood log columns (Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 303).
1890, Pacific Heights, 2889 Pacific Ave. house,
2889 Pacific Ave., San Francisco.
Arthur Brown, Jr.
A catalog of two generations of local domestic architecture, Raycliff Terrace is a rare collection of Bay Region Modernism that reveals its evolution over two decades. The other houses [including 2889 Pacific] provide the traditional context against which Modernism took its stand (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 99).
One of the few houses designed by Arthur Brown, Jr., who also contributed to the Panama Pacific International Exhibit (1915), the City Hall (1915), The War Memorial Opera House (1932), The Veteran's Auditorium (1932), Coit Tower (1934), and the Federal Building (1936) (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 118).
1890, West Mission, Chapel of the Holy Innocents,
455 Fair Oaks St., San Francisco.
Holy Innocents Episcopal Church. Built as a mission chapel of Saint John the Evangelist Church, the rear section of this Gothic shingled structure (with gabled roof and bell tower, lancet and ogee arches) is now partially hidden by a matching lower entrance section added around 1913 Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 265).
1890, North Bay, Dickinson house,
26 Alexander Ave., Sausalito.
Straight ahead of you as you start around the sharp curve that brings you down into Sausalito, this dark shingle box is one of the oldest houses in town. A little beyond it on the left at 215 South Street is a Victorian Gothic cottage that is at least twenty years older (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 218).
"Craig Hazel": Possibly designed by Willis Polk, this house was originally located on part of the Harrison tract. It has a distinctive rippled roof Olmsted and Watkins 1969: 321).
1890, Telegraph Hill, 32-34 Napier Ln. house,
32-34 Napier Ln., San Francisco.
The oldest house (1875) in the lane would appear to be 10 Napier Lane, a very simple Italianate structure similar to 293 Union Street (1860's). 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).
Abbreviationsadd = Additions; nm = No Mention; rem = Remodelled; rest = Restoration