Where and when built are the oldest residences in San Francisco?

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Does anyone know the oldest residences in San Francisco? Where are they located and when were they built? Thanks.

-- L. Swig (lswig@alum.calberkeley.org), August 30, 1999


Although there are a few Gold Rush-era residences in the City, I would vote for the Presidio Officer's Club. The "O Club" is a Spanish adobe built about 1801 (ignore the historical marker outside; it does NOT date from 1700s) that has had various uses throughout its Spanish, Mexican and American histories. Up until the 1880s, though, it served primarily as a barracks and officers' housing.

-- (anon@anon.net), August 30, 1999.

Besides the Presidio Officers Club and the Mission Dolores, early residences start with William Richardson who pitched a tent in 1835 and Upgraded to an adobe structure in 1837. His pre-1847 neighbors-- all around Portsmouth Square-- included Jean Jacques Voget, Robert Ridley, Nathan Spear and William Leidesdorff. (Incidentally the latter three all had streets named for them. Ridley is now Duboce.)

-- Kurt Iversen (iversenk@aol.com), August 30, 1999.

I thought all that was left of the original building on the site of the "O Club" was part of one wall. For residences in their more-or-less original condition I don't believe there's a consensus on which is the oldest. The Phelps House on Divisadero near Oak used to have that distinction, but I'm ashamed to admit I don't know it it's still standing. In my neighborhood, there are two houses on Blackstone, a remnant of the Laguna Survey, one of which is reputed to date from 1850 or 1851. Also, the Palmer and Haskell houses out on Black Point are pretty old too, and were private before the army expropriated them. The octagon house on Green between Leavenworth and Jones dates from the mid 1850s.

-- robert bardell (bbardell@pacbell.net), September 14, 1999.

The Phelps House is indeed still standing, though it's been moved three times in it's historical life. It has been referred to as the oldest extant intact house in S.F. There is some question about the claim, as it's origin itself is somewhat uncertain. Some say it was shipped around the Horn of Africa, others that it was built here by John Middleton. At any rate, when that house was built, it was sitting alongside a dirt trail that went from Mission Dolores to the Presidio. That trail is now Divisadero St.

-- Chris Dichtel (cyberiad@earthlink.net), July 18, 2000.

The Tanforan cottages on Dolores @ 15th are said to be the oldest houses in SF, built around 1851.

-- Steve DeMartini (esteeb65@pacbell.net), August 09, 2003.

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