A pair of important homes

The Vedanta Society's "new temple" at Fillmore and Vallejo.

The Vedanta Society’s “new temple” at Fillmore and Vallejo.

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 in 1908; and the “new temple” at 2323 Vallejo at Fillmore, dedicated in 1959.

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A home for the telephone king

Both client and architect of this corner house shared a fascination with telephones.

Both the owner and architect of 1900 Pierce Street shared a fascination with telephones.

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.

John I. Sabin

John I. Sabin, first owner of 1900 Pierce

Both architect and client appear to have shared a fascination with telephones. In 1877, Sabin founded the American District Telegraph Co., the first telephone company on the west coast. Later he became the president of the Pacific States Telephone Co. and acquired the nickname the “Telephone King.” In 1901, architect Smith filed for a patent for a “message transmitting and recording mechanism for telephone systems.” This device was capable of passing a message from one switching station to another and recording it on paper tape at the receiving end.

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An architect’s classic but understated homes

An attractive grouping of E.E. Young’s work graces the southwest corner of Octavia and Jackson.

An grouping of E.E. Young’s work graces the southwest corner of Octavia and Jackson.

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 some of the city’s important developers. Several homes were often crafted in a small group, each with a similar floor plan but with varying facades.

Three of Young’s more distinctive Pacific Heights collections still stand at the corners of Octavia and Jackson, Divisadero and Green, and Presidio and Jackson.

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First a Masonic meeting hall, now a church

The brick and stone building at 2135 Sutter was completed in October 1907.

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY

Built as the Golden Gate Commandery for the Knights Templar, the distinctive structure at 2135 Sutter Street between Steiner and Pierce Streets was under construction when the 1906 earthquake struck, delaying its completion. Claiming to descend from the Knights Templar of the Crusaders, who in the 12th century served to protect pilgrims to the Holy Land, the Masonic Order of the Knights Templar built the meeting hall there after outgrowing an earlier structure.

When the brick and stone building was finally completed in October 1907, the San Francisco Chronicle reported: “The hall is said to be one of the finest and best appointed temples in the land.” Designed by the architectural firm of O’Brien and Werner, a partnership known for other Masonic-related projects, the building has been an important neighborhood landmark for a century.

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An anti-Victorian pair of townhouses

The Tudor style townhouses at 3356 and 3362 Jackson Street are a perfectly matched set.

The Tudor style townhouses at 3356 and 3362 Jackson Street are a perfectly matched set.

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY

The two English-inspired Tudor style townhouses at 3356 and 3362 Jackson Street are a perfectly matched set. Built for George and Ruth Beveridge in 1898, this charming Presidio Heights ensemble was designed by the short-lived architectural partnership of Newton J. Tharp and Edward L. Holmes.

George Beveridge, a successful miner who made considerable investments in Mexico, married Ruth Coffin in 1895. Two years later, he purchased the double lot on Jackson Street and commissioned Tharp and Holmes to design two abutting, well-appointed townhouses — one for the Beveridges to occupy and the other to sell or rent.

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One twin without the other

Photograph of 1969 California Street by Shayne Watson

Photograph of the Tobin house at 1969 California Street by Shayne Watson

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY

Something appears to be missing from the house at 1969 California Street.

Indeed, the other half of the intended complex was never built. Originally conceived to have a twin to the west, the half arch that would have accessed a center drive between the two houses terminates mid-air and crashes into a mismatching building next door.

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Moved from Union Square

The home at 2355 Washington was moved from its original location near Union Square.

The home at 2355 Washington was moved from its original location near Union Square.

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY

“The large frame dwelling which for so many years stood at the northeast corner of Sutter and Mason Streets has been removed to the south side of Washington between Buchanan and Webster, where it is being remodeled and improved by Dr. Merritt, daughter of the late Adolph Sutro.” So reported the Chronicle on July 7, 1900.

That handsome residence now sits at 2355 Washington Street. Constructed around 1870, the house changed hands at least one other time before coming into the possession of Emma Sutro Merritt and her husband, George Washington Merritt, who was also a doctor. The wood-frame, Italianate and Second Empire influenced house with an unusual mansard roof originally sat a few blocks below the apex of Nob Hill.

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The Grabhorn brothers were master printers

A plaque at 1335 Sutter Street notes the building’s history.

A plaque at 1335 Sutter Street notes the building’s history.

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY

Brothers Edwin and Robert Grabhorn founded their Studio Press in 1916 in Indianapolis. They moved to San Francisco in 1919, and a few years later their enterprise formally became known as Grabhorn Press. During that time, California was becoming a hub for small, craft-driven print houses. The Grabhorn brothers soon became among the state’s most respected specialty printers.

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A modern cathedral celebrates 45 years

St. Mary's Cathedral soon after it opened in 1971.

St. Mary’s Cathedral soon after its opening, beyond the tower of St. Marks Lutheran Church. Photos: San Francisco History Center | San Francisco Public Library

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY

May 2016 marks the 45th anniversary of the dedication of the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, a recognized masterpiece of religious architecture at 1111 Gough Street. Opening after an agonizing design process, the building was not immediately loved by many of San Francisco’s Catholics, who had previously worshiped in two very traditional churches.

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A new outlook on the park

The home at 2570 Jackson (far left), built in 1924, has been completely renovated.

The home at 2570 Jackson (left), built in 1924, has been completely renovated.

LANDMARKS | BRIDGET MALEY

A  flurry of recent renovations along the north side of Jackson Street facing Alta Plaza Park are nearing completion. The two blocks include a string of historic residences that have been home to many prominent San Franciscans. The exquisite French Revival style house at 2570 Jackson Street has been meticulously renovated and is again a private residence, after serving for decades as the official residence of the French consul general.
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