Did you know?
"Painted ladies" is a term in American architecture used for Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings painted in three or more colors that embellish or enhance their architectural details.
The term was first used for San Francisco Victorian houses by writers Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in their 1978 book "Painted Ladies - San Francisco's Resplendent Victorians."
One of the best-known groups of "Painted Ladies" is the row of Victorian houses at 710–720 Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square park. These houses were built between 1892 and 1896 by developer Matthew Kavanaugh, who lived next door in the 1892 mansion at 722 Steiner Street.
Noe Valley was primarily developed at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century, especially in the years just after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. As a result, the neighborhood contains many examples of the "classic" Victorian and Edwardian residential architecture for which San Francisco is famous.
As a working-class neighborhood, Noe Valley houses were built in rows, with some of the efficient, low-cost homes being more ornate than others, depending on the owner's taste and finances. Today, Noe Valley has one of the highest concentration of row houses in San Francisco, with streets having three to four and sometimes as many as a dozen on the same side.
Fact: About 48,000 houses in the Victorian and Edwardian styles were built in San Francisco between 1849 and 1915. (with the change from Victorian to Edwardian occurring on the death of Queen Victoria in 1901)
While many of the mansions of Nob Hill were destroyed by the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, thousands of the mass-produced, more modest houses survived in the western and southern neighborhoods of the city.
Victorian Homes on Waller St. near Masonic Avenue
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Russian Hill and Nob Hill
By the 1860s, the Italianate Victorian style began to supplant the Gothic, which had predominated in the 1850s. Few Victorians survive in this neighborhood today.
20th century: By the turn of the century, larger homes (such as the Fanny Stevenson residence) were again being built at the top of the hill. After the 1906 fire, flats replaced many smaller homes along the more level streets. The crest of the hill became increasingly elegant (and expensive), particularly after the end of World War I.