The Victorian Middle Class

Getting There
Cable Cars: California Street line to last stop on Van Ness.  Walk one block west (uphill) on California.  
Muni:  1 Calfornia - Catch on Sacramento Street, get off one block past Van Ness on  Franklin
             Walk one block north (uphill) to California.
    OR:  10 Townsend - Catch on Sansome or Pacific, get off at Franklin, one block past Van Ness
             Walk four blocks south to California.
Parking: Street parking tight weekdays, better on weekends. Some private garages near Van Ness.

We'll begin our tour of Pacific Heights Victorians with a look at  one of the best preserved corners of a middle class neighborhood from the Victorian era.  
1. Edward Coleman House
1701 Franklin St, at California
W. H. Lillie / Salfield & Kohlberg built 1885

This is a fine example of the relatively rare Queen Anne  Tower Victorian.  Most Queen Annes were built in attached rows. This one stands alone on a corner lot and is beautifully decorated on all sides.

Edward Coleman was one of the few people who actually did make a fortune from gold mining.  He and his brother John owned the Idaho Mines near Grass Valley in the Sierra foothills.  When he had this house built in 1885, Edward was 64, childless and and a widower.  He moved here to be near his brother John, who was expanding  a house two doors up California to accommodate his nine children.  

The 1900 Federal Census reports Edward living here with three female servants, two Irish  and one Chinese. When he died in 1913, his will stated that the house be left in trust "to be a home for the unmarried daughters of my brother John C. Coleman including such as may become widows. They have the right to occupy it free of charge as long as they live."  Instead it became a boarding house.

It was purchased in the 1920s  by Florine Haas Bransten, owner of the red brick house at 1735 Franklin just past the hedges, as part of a family compound that would later include the Pratt House on the California Street side.
The classical torch-and-wreath design in a band around the top was a favorite of  builder W. H. Lillie and is repeated on many of his houses, although the landmark application for this house lists the architects as Salfield & Kohlberg.

2. Florine Bransten House
1735 Franklin
Herman Barth, architect, built 1904
This Georgian brick style is uncommon in San Francisco, but reflects the trend away from the excesses of Victorian architecture beginning after the turn of the 20th century.

The Haas was built by William Haas, owner of the Haas-Lilienthal House further up Franklin Street, as a wedding gift for his oldest daughter Florine.  She married Edward Brandenstein (later simplified to Bransten) whose brother Max started MJB coffee. It was Florine who would eventually purchase both 1701 Franklin next door and the Pratt House around the corner at 1818 California, combine them into one large family compound, and assuring their preservation.

3.  Pratt House
1818 California Street, built 1876
A fine example of the Italianate style of Victorian architecture.  Note the slanted bay windows, the  substantial cornice at the top and quoins along the edges to mimic stonework, and the Juliette balcony over the front door -- all hallmarks of the Italianate style.

Some sources connect the Lilienthal family with the Pratt house but there is little evidence for this. City assessor records show that Lillie Pratt owned the house as far back as 1896.  The last Pratt in the house was Emily, who lived here until her death in 1954.

The house was bought by Florine Haas Bransten and  the property was combined with 1701 Franklin next door and 1735 Franklin around the corner.

4. Wormser-Coleman House
1834 California,    built 1876
Left tower, Percy and Hamilton, 1895

The slanted bay windows on the right side are part of the original house built in 1876 by Isaac Wormser.  Twenty years later, John Coleman purchased the house and added the Queen Anne style tower on the left. He also enlarged the grounds of the house by buying the strip of land fifty feet to the right (west) to use as a vegetable garden.

Wormser was a merchant who together with his son-in-law Samuel Sussman and other family members formed S&W Foods.

John Coleman made his fortune in gold mining with his brother Edward. After moving to San Francisco in 1893, he became involved involved in Pacific Telephone & Telegraph, Pacific Gas & Electric, the California S. Cable Car, and Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. 

The 1910, U.S. Census shows John, 76,  living here with his second wife, Persis, 58 and six of their nine children, including daughters Florence, 34, Sara, 27, and Persis 21.  Daughter Persis remained in the house through the 1970s.

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