Japan Center turns 50

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY Major portions of the Western Addition were wiped out in the name of redevelopment in favor of new plans that began to take shape in the late 1950s. This is reflected in the complex history of Japan Center, bounded by Laguna, Geary, Fillmore and Post, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary […]

A police station with a past — and a future

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY The original North End Police Station was located on Washington Street near Polk. It burned, as did several other police stations and San Francisco’s Hall of Justice, during the earthquake and fire in 1906. A May 1908 bond issue funded a new Hall of Justice and police headquarters and the replacement […]

Serenely Modern: William Wurster in Pacific Heights

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY In a prolific five-year period between 1937 and 1941, one of California’s premiere Modernist architects, William Wilson Wurster, designed several important houses in Pacific Heights. Drawing on an established reputation as a residential designer, Wurster crafted these homes for urban living. However, each takes advantage of its distinctive site to include […]

Medical library is on the block

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY The classical Health Sciences Library at 2395 Sacramento Street may soon find a new use. California Pacific Medical Center recently disposed of its collection and vacated the space, the library having gone entirely digital. The building, which was designated a San Francisco landmark in 1980, is currently for sale at an […]

Garages find a new use

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY As the automobile increased in popularity and affordability in the 1920s, neighborhood parking garages and repair shops became the norm in San Francisco. Because private homes were commonly constructed without garages, a new type of building evolved to serve residents with parking needs. Neighborhood garages were often one- or two-story concrete […]

Anne Bloomfield’s archives go to Heritage

By BRIDGET MALEY My predecessor in writing about neighborhood architecture for the New Fillmore, the respected architectural historian Anne Bloomfield, was an amazing researcher and a passionate advocate for maintaining the character of Pacific Heights and Presidio Heights. She died in December 1999, but her life’s work of helping preserve San Francisco’s past lives on. […]

A pair of important homes

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY The Vedanta Society of Northern California was founded in 1900 by visiting Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda, who earlier gained fame and admiration at the Chicago Parliament of World Religions in 1893. The society owns two neighborhood landmarks: the “old temple” at 2963 Webster at Filbert, completed in 1905, then further expanded […]

A home for the telephone king

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY The wonderfully designed corner house at 1900 Pierce Street was built in 1887 for John I. Sabin, an early investor and proponent of the telephone, under the direction of architect William F. Smith. Both architect and client appear to have shared a fascination with telephones. In 1877, Sabin founded the American […]

An architect’s classic but understated homes

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY Architect Edward Eyestone Young became known for his collaborative work with speculative housing developers during the first few decades of the 20th century. Designing and building houses primarily on San Francisco’s north side, with a particular focus in Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights and along Lake Street, Young established strong relationships with […]

How Japanese was Cottage Row?

SOME NEIGHBORHOOD CRITICS of a plan to create a memorial Zen rock garden on the Sutter Street side of Cottage Row have disputed historical sources that say Cottage Row was primarily occupied by Japanese-Americans before they were evacuated and interned during World War II. The critics are wrong. A review of census records and city directories […]