‘He scraped the gingerbread off’

ARCHITECTURE | BRIDGET MALEY “For some 14 months now the normally placid Pacific Heights intersection of Washington and Maple Street has been host to what might be described as a perpetual traffic jam,” reported a Chronicle article on June 17, 1951, headlined “A King-Size House That Floats on Stilts: Mendelsohn Creates a Landmark.” Architect Erich […]

Versailles on the Heights

By BRIDGET MALEY with KAMALA MOSTERT Having recently visited Versailles, it is easy to see how Corrine Koshland became so enamored with the estate’s Le Petit Trianon that she commissioned a copy as her family home in San Francisco. In September 1900, Corinne and Marcus Koshland, their three young children, Daniel, Robert and Margaret, along […]

‘From the girl to the dial’

ARCHITECTURE | BRIDGET MALEY The imposing and somewhat out-of-place building at the southeast corner of Steiner and Pine Streets was completed in 1932 as a Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co. switching station, a function that continues today. Designed by architect Edwin V. Cobby, the building both blends in to the streetscape, with its neutral terra […]

When a cemetery became an office park

ARCHITECTURE | BRIDGET MALEY In 1940, after years of efforts to ban cemeteries in San Francisco, workers began exhuming bodies from the Laurel Hill Cemetery for reinterment outside the city limits. The cemetery occupied a large site bounded by California Street on the north, Presidio and Parker at the east and west and an angled […]

Three temples on Geary

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY Since 1904, the south side of Geary between Fillmore and Steiner has been graced with a series of temples: a fraternal temple, a temple of worship and a majestic temple of entertainment. It’s a tale of three buildings, two earthquakes and one dangerously zealous religious leader, along with many other characters […]

A lodge with a view

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY Just before the Fourth of July, the lucky first guests checked in to the Lodge at the Presidio, a new addition to the collection of overnight accommodations available in San Francisco’s Presidio. The stunning renovation of a former army barracks provides a unique urban park experience with world class views of […]

The St. Dominic’s Block

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY One of San Francisco’s most impressive interpretations of Gothic-inspired architecture, St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, at the corner of Steiner and Bush Streets, is the fourth ecclesiastical structure to stand on this site.

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 […]