The Early Victorians

Early Italianate Flat Front House
1884 Bush Street
Early 1870s (est.)



This is a well-preserved example of one of the earliest types of Victorian houses built in San Francisco. The false front with the high bracketed cornice has the feel of the old West.  
Bush Street was one of the earliest streets to be graded and was used as a route out to the cemeteries on Lone Mountain, now the campus of San Francisco  University.   This house was probably built as part of an early commercial complex which included the two story building on the corner and the storefront next door, which may have originally been a stable.  Note the row of houses further west on the same side of this block, almost certainly by the same builder.    

KoKoRo – Japanese Senior Center

1881 Bush
Moses Lyon, architect 1895

Originally a Jewish temple, during the building’s long history, it has been home to a Buddist Center, a Christian Congregation and later was the San Francisco Zen Center.  The design replicates a Venetian Palace, using cleverly cut redwood to mimic stonework.  It now houses the dining and community rooms for the new assisted living facility next door, which caters primarily to seniors of Japanese heritage. 

Italianate Slanted Bay Row
1800 – 1832 Laguna
The Real Estate Associsates (TRE), builder 1877


Houses on the east side of this block were built by The Real Estate Associates or TREA, the city’s first large scale housing development.   TREA bought up blocks of lots and built hundreds of houses in the Mission and Western Addition. In 1876, TRE reported selling 355 houses for a total of $2 million, an average of about $6,000 each.  They offered buyers financing at  8% interest over 10 years.    

 San Francisco Stick Row
1801 – 1863 Laguna
William Hinkel, builder 1889



This row was built by a well-known local builder who used the same basic plan for each, but varied the combination of machine made embellishments, probably bought in bulk. Note the interesting false roofs -- gabled, mansard and witch’s hat -- that anticipate the turrets of the Queen Anne style that will follow. These homes originally sold for about $3,500 complete but now fetch upwards of $1 million or more.


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