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William Westerfeld House

Architecture

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Description

Constructed in 1889, the William Westerfield House has a remarkable history. Built for a shade less than $10,000 (basically a bargain, since that translates into only about $300,000 today), the home is on the National Register of Historic Places and is San Francisco Landmark Number 135. The 28-room mansion was originally built for the German confectioner Westerfield who owned a chain of bakeries. After his death in 1895, the home was purchased by hotelier John Mahony, who did the building's first retrofit after the 1906 earthquake - removing a rose garden and replacing it was flats to meet the city's sudden housing crisis.

In the 1920s, Russian Czarists purchased the home and and turned the ground-floor ballroom into a nightclub. After WW II, the building became a 14-unit apartment building. During the 1960s, Summer of Love era, the home was occupied in turns by the Calliope Company, a 50-person collective with ties to Ken Kesey ("Electric Kool-Aid Acid Trip"), the band Family Dog (friends of Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company), and the underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger. Somehow the building was not tagged for demolition, as were more than 6,000 nearby Victorians during a course of urban renewal in the 1970s. The home was purchased by a new owner in 1986, who has painstakingly restored it to its current state: a gothic gem in the the stick Victorian Italianate villa style. Find out more: https://noehill.com/sf/landmarks/nat1989000197.asp

Photo by Samuel Wantman.

Address: 1198 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117