Inventory of the St. Francis Wood Virtual Collection

Processed by: Betsy Frederick-Rothwell
Environmental Design Archives
College of Environmental Design
230 Wurster Hall #1820
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-1820
Phone: (510) 642-5124
Fax: (510) 642-2824
Email: archives@socrates.berkeley.edu
http://www.ced.berkeley.edu/cedarchives/
© 2005
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the St. Francis Wood Virtual Collection

Collection number: EDAVC-1

Environmental Design Archives

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California
Processed by:
Betsy Frederick-Rothwell
Date Completed:
October 2005
Encoded by:
Betsy Frederick-Rothwell
© 2005 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: St. Francis Wood virtual collection
Dates: 1912-1946
Collection number: EDAVC-1
Collector: Environmental Design Archives
Collection Size: 197 items 197 digital objects
Repository: Environmental Design Archives. College of Environmental Design.
University of California, Berkeley.
Berkeley, California
Abstract: Located in the southwestern corner of San Francisco, St. Francis Wood is a prime example of the "Garden City" ideals of neighborhood planning popular at the turn of the 20th century. The St. Francis Wood Virtual collection contains digital images of drawings, photographs, correspondence and other historical documents relating to the architecture and landscape architecture of the St. Francis Wood neighborhood of San Francisco, California. All items in this virtual collection are assembled from existing collections in the Environmental Design Archives
Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Access

Collection open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in the collection should be discussed with the Curator.

Preferred Citation

St. Francis Wood virtual collection, EDAVC-1, Environmental Design Archives. College of Environmental Design. University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, California.

Acquisition Information

All items in this virtual collection are assembled from existing collections in the Environmental Design Archives.

Historical Note

Located in the southwestern corner of San Francisco, St. Francis Wood is a prime example of the "Garden City" ideals of neighborhood planning popular at the turn of the 20th century. This neighborhood is of particular interest because it encompasses designs by many well-known Bay Area architects and landscape architects. Unlike many residential developments that offered only stock plans, St. Francis Wood developers encouraged houses designed by prominent architects for specific clients. The foresight of developer Duncan McDuffie provided the neighborhood with a visual cohesiveness that remains to this day.
The land on which St. Francis Wood was established once belonged to the Mission Dolores. However, when the Mexican government abolished the mission system in 1846, the land was granted to Mexican citizen Jose de Jesus Noe as part of a much larger piece of land called the Rancho San Miguel (4,443 acres). However, with the influx of American settlers during California's gold rush, Noe began selling off parts of his Rancho in 1852. Prior to development, this part of the city west of Mt. Sutro, Twin Peaks and Mt. Davidson was primarily sand dunes. The only uses in the area were racetracks, roadhouses, the Alms House (later Laguna Honda Hospital) and a Spring Valley Water Company flume. Some farmers rented parcels of land for growing vegetable crops, making the long trip over Twin Peaks to the markets in San Francisco. In 1880, mining magnate Adolph Sutro purchased the Rancho San Miguel and proceeded to plant thousands of trees on the land, which he kept as a nature preserve until his death in 1898. The land remained held up in a complicated probate battle over Sutro's estate until 1909.
Developers who had been successful in establishing residential subdivisions in the East Bay after the 1906 earthquake and fire, saw in the Sutro property opportunities for providing the same types of neighborhoods in San Francisco. Homebuyers had flocked to these East Bay developments, which had been modeled on the "Garden City." With origins in England, the concept of the Garden City proposed a weaving together of urban and rural, city and country. It called for large, park-like neighborhoods of single-family detached houses, with large landscaped lots set along curving streets and with no commercial buildings. This paradigm integrated easily into the larger City Beautiful movement, which at a city scale called for grand boulevards adorned with neoclassical monuments to cut through the city and to connect a system of open spaces. The assumption of these movements was that these types of cities and neighborhoods would be healthier and safer than crowded cities of grid streets and apartment buildings.
A strong supporter of the Garden City movement was Duncan McDuffie, a developer who had great success with his residential developments based on these ideals: the Northbrae and Claremont neighborhoods in the East Bay. McDuffie's personality was certainly suited to bringing nature into the neighborhood. He was twice president of the Sierra Club, was involved in establishing the state park system, and was a leader in the Save the Redwoods campaign. McDuffie's object with St. Francis Wood was to create "residence park," a neighborhood that not only had all the benefits of the open landscape of the East Bay but also had proximity to downtown. In 1910, McDuffie along with his business partner Joseph Mason purchased 175 acres of the Sutro estate to realize this ambition. With his eye toward quality, McDuffie hired some of the most well-known architects and landscape architects of the time to establish the layout and infrastructure of the neighborhood. The Olmsted Brothers firm laid out the curving street plan as well as the neighborhood parks. John Galen Howard acted as the first supervising architect and also designed the entrance gates, the Circle fountain and other neighborhood infrastructure. Lot buyers could hire any architect to design their houses, but they had to follow strict design guidelines, and the supervising architect had final approval.
Despite the initial popularity of these Garden City neighborhoods in other areas around the Bay, lot sales in St. Francis Wood were nearly nonexistent in the years 1914-1919. These stagnant years nearly drove Mason-McDuffie to turn their backs on the original intent of the neighborhood. Of the many factors keeping buyers away, WWI especially slowed new home sales and made building materials costly. In addition, the lack of transportation options to this region of San Francisco made its location less than desirable. It was faster to reach downtown San Francisco by ferry from the East Bay than to reach it by streetcar from St. Francis Wood. Consequently, McDuffie and several other developers with land west of Twin Peaks lobbied fiercely for the construction of a streetcar tunnel under Twin Peaks. Their demands were met with the opening of the Twin Peaks tunnel in 1918.
Once the Twin Peaks tunnel opened, lot sales in St. Francis Wood were brisk. In contrast to many developments in this area that often did not involve architects, St. Francis Wood boasted architectural designs of many well-known architects such as Julia Morgan, William Merchant and Gertrude Comfort Morrow and the landscape designs of Harry Shepherd. Henry H. Gutterson acted as supervising architect for most of these later homes, but many architects did not veer far from the preferred style: revivals of traditional English, French and Italian idioms. The St. Francis Wood Home Association, formed by Duncan McDuffie in 1912, took over the maintenance of the neighborhood's parks and boulevards. In 1926, 400 of the 557 lots had houses, and by the 1930s most of the lots in St. Francis Wood were sold. Today, much of Duncan McDuffie's original intent remains. St. Francis Wood is recognizably different from many of the neighborhoods that surround it. Its wide lots, curving streets and lush landscaping make the neighborhood a retreat from the rush of urban life.

Note

  • Barnhill, Donna. San Francisco's Residential Parks: St. Francis Wood. San Francisco: CityGuides tour script.
  • Beresford, Larry. "Neighborhood Historian Sheds New Light on the Image of Jose Noe." Noe Valley Voice September 2001.
  • Brandi, Richard. Images of America: San Francisco's West Portal Neighborhoods.San Francisco: Arcadia,2005.
  • Weinstein, David. "Signature Style: Duncan McDuffie. Natural neighborhoods: visionary developer created elegant urban 'residential parks'." San Francisco Chronicle, 7 February 2004.
  • Western Neighborhoods Project. St. Francis Wood. 5 February 2004. http://www.outsidelands.org/sfw.html (viewed on 22 Sep 2005)

Scope and Content of Collection

The St. Francis Wood Virtual collection contains digital images of drawings, photographs, correspondence and other historical documents relating to the architecture and landscape architecture of the St. Francis Wood neighborhood of San Francisco, California. All items in this virtual collection are assembled from existing collections in the Environmental Design Archives. The collections from which items are drawn are: Henry Gutterson Collection, John Galen Howard Collection, Stafford Jory Collection, William G. Merchant/Hans U. Gerson Collection, Julia Morgan Collection, Irving F. and Gertrude Comfort Morrow Collection, Olmsted Brothers, St. Francis Wood Homeowners Association Collection, Harry W. Shepherd Collection, Walter T. Steilberg Collection, and Ward Thomas Collection. Items from the Howard and Olmsted Brothers collections express information about the early stages of neighborhood development (1912-1917), namely the street layout, parks, fountains, entrance gates and other neighborhood infrastructure. Items from the Gutterson collection relate to Gutterson's position as supervising architect for St. Francis Wood. Items from the Harry W. Shepherd collection relate to the landscape architecture of individual homes. Items from the St. Francis Wood Homeowners Association were collected by that organization for the purposes of design approval and relate to the design of numerous individual homes by many different architects. Items from all other collections relate to the architecture of individual homes in the neighborhood.

Arrangement

The series for this virtual collection are arranged alphabetically by architect or organization, with subseries arranged by client or project name and followed by a list of items in that project. If a project has both drawings and photographs, these are divided into separate subseries. The exception is in the case of a single photograph. In this case, only the item (photograph) is labeled, and it is included in the same subseries as the drawings. This series structure is used primarily to support linking to digital objects. Thus, it is unlike other finding aids for collections held by the Environmental Design Archives, which are organized by the Standard Series for Architecture and Landscape Design Records.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Architects--California
Architectural drawings
Architectural firms--California
Architectural photographs
Architectural records
Architecture, Domestic--California--San Francisco Bay Area
Architecture--California
Gardens--California
Landscape architects--California
Landscape architecture drawings
Landscape architecture--California
Landscape photographs
Parks--Design and construction
Photographs
San Francisco (Calif.)
Women architects

Related Collections

Henry Gutterson Collection (1956-2), Environmental Design Archives
John Galen Howard Collection (1955-4), Environmental Design Archives
John Galen Howard Pictorial Collection, 1885-1920 (PIC 1967.016-1967.018), The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
Stafford Jory Collection (2005-12), Environmental Design Archives
Mason-McDuffie Co. Records, 1904-1983 (MSS 89/12 c), The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
William G. Merchant/Hans U. Gerson Collection (2001-15), Environmental Design Archives
Julia Morgan Collection (1959-2), Environmental Design Archives
Irving F. and Gertrude Comfort Morrow Collection (1992-1), Environmental Design Archives
Olmsted Brothers Collection (1969-2), Environmental Design Archives
St. Francis Wood Homeowners Association Collection (2005-17), Environmental Design Archives
Harry W. Shepherd Collection (1998-11), Environmental Design Archives
Walter T. Steilberg Collection (1973-1), Environmental Design Archives
Ward Thomas Collection (2005-1), Environmental Design Archives

Series Description

 

Series I. Henry Gutterson

Creator: Henry Gutterson
Physical Description: 4 items

Series Scope and Content Summary

Consists of neighborhood plot maps probably used for marketing purposes, a plot plan of a neighborhood extension, and details of brick and cement walks. Arranged alphabetically by project name
 

A. Mason-McDuffie Co./Westgate Park Co., 1915-1925

 

St. Francis Wood block 3105A, Lots 17-20 (Houses Surrey, Sussex, and Kent)

 

St. Francis Wood brick and cement walks

 

St. Francis Wood map

 

St. Francis Wood map with extension

 

Series II. John Galen Howard

Creator: John Galen Howard
Physical Description: 37 items

Series Scope and Content Summary

Consists of working drawings of neighborhood infrastructure projects for Mason-McDuffie Co. (e.g. entrance gates, fountains, street lamps) and photographs of these projects during and after construction. These materials represent some of the earliest work done at St. Francis Wood. Arranged by medium
 

A. Mason-McDuffie Co. drawings, 1912-1913

 

Mason-McDuffie San Francisco office, elevation

 

St. Francis Wood entrance gate (1): plans, elevations and sections

 

St. Francis Wood entrance gate (2): plans, elevations and sections, revised

 

St. Francis Wood entrance gate (3): revised plan of sidewalks

 

St. Francis Wood entrance gate (4): typical elevation and section

 

St. Francis Wood entrance gate (5): typical details

 

St. Francis Wood entrance gate (6): typical details, revised

 

St. Francis Wood entrance gate (7): plan of north court

 

St. Francis Wood tract office (1): plan, elevations and details

 

St. Francis Wood tract office sign (1)

 

St. Francis Wood Commons (1): plans, elevations and sections

 

St. Francis Wood Commons (2)

 

St. Francis Wood balustrades (1)

 

St. Francis Wood balustrades (2)

 

St. Francis Wood street lamps

 

St. Francis Wood lamp standards

 

St. Francis Wood Circle fountain (1)

 

B. Office Records: Photograph Scrapbook, circa 1912

 

St. Francis Wood Commons (3)

 

St. Francis Wood Commons (4)

 

St. Francis Wood Commons (5)

 

St. Francis Wood entrance gate (8)

 

St. Francis Wood entrance gate (9)

 

St. Francis Wood entrance gate (10)

 

St. Francis Wood entrance gate (11)

 

St. Francis Wood entrance gate (12)

 

St. Francis Wood entrance gate (13)

 

St. Francis Wood entrance gate (14)

 

St. Francis Wood Circle fountain (2)

 

St. Francis Wood Circle fountain (3)

 

St. Francis Wood Circle fountain (4)

 

St. Francis Wood Circle (1)

 

St. Francis Wood Circle (2)

 

St. Francis Wood Circle (3)

 

St. Francis Wood tract office (2)

 

St. Francis Wood tract office (3)

 

St. Francis Wood tract office (4)

 

St. Francis Wood tract office sign (2)

 

Series III. Stafford L. Jory

Creator: Stafford L. Jory
Physical Description: 5 items

Series Scope and Content Summary

Consists of working drawings for the Conklin Residence. Arranged alphabetically by project name
 

A. A.D. Conklin Residence, 1922

 

Plot and basement plans

 

First and second floor plans

 
 

Interior elevations and other details

 

Various details

 

Series IV. William G. Merchant

Creator: William G. Merchant
Physical Description: 22 items

Series Scope and Content Summary

Consists of working drawings for three residences in St. Francis Wood. Arranged alphabetically by project name
 

A. A.J. Callahan Residence, 1937

 

Landscape plan

 

Plot and roof plan

 

Basement plan

 

First floor plan

 

Second floor plan

 
 

Elevations and sections

 

B. R.A. Clarke Residence, 1937

 

Basement, roof and plot plans

 

First and second floor plans

 
 
 

Entrance and stair details

 

Sections and details

 

Simplified floor plans

 

C. Arthur J. Vollert Residence, 1936

 

Basement and foundation plan

 

First floor plan

 

Second floor plan

 

Roof plan and details

 

East and west elevations

 

South elevation and interiors

 

North elevation, sections and interior elevations

 

Foundation details

 

Series V. Julia Morgan

Creator: Julia Morgan
Physical Description: 7 items

Series Scope and Content Summary

Consists of working drawings for the Dixwell Davenport Residence. Arranged alphabetically by project name
 

A. Dixwell Davenport Residence, 1917

 

Foundation plan

 

First floor plan

 

Second floor plan

 

South elevation

 

East and west elevations

 

North elevation

 

Interiors and details

 

Series VI. Irving F. and Gertrude Comfort Morrow

Creator: Gertrude Comfort Morrow
Creator: Irving F. Morrow
Physical Description: 84 items

Series Scope and Content Summary

Consists of working drawings, presentation drawings, photographs and promotional brochures for residences in St. Francis Wood. Arranged alphabetically by project name
 

A. S.E. Heckscher Residence, addition, 1919

 

Pergola and birdhouse

 
 

Foundation and basement plan

 

First floor plan

 

Second floor plan

 
 

Northwest elevation

 

Northeast elevation

 

Southeast elevation

 

Southwest elevation

 

Interior details

 

Exterior details

 

B. Maurice Heppner Residence, 1923

 

Presentation drawing

 

C. R.C. Mason Residence drawings, 1918

 
 

Basement plan

 

First Floor plan

 

Second Floor plan

 

North elevation

 

West elevation

 

South elevation

 

East elevation

 

Interior details

 

Stair details

 

Exterior details

 

D. R.C. Mason Residence photographs, circa 1918

 

Exterior, front view

 

Exterior, rear view

 

Interior, bedroom (1)

 

Interior, bedroom (2)

 

Interior, dining room

 

Interior, living room (1)

 

Interior, living room (2)

 

Interior, living room (3)

 

E. James F. Rice Residence drawings, 1918

 
 

Foundation plan

 

First floor plan

 

Second floor plan

 

South elevation

 

West elevation

 

North elevation

 

East elevation

 

Interior and exterior details

 

F. James F. Rice Residence photographs, circa 1918

 

Exterior (1)

 

Exterior (2)

 

Interior, fireplace

 

Interior, entrance hall

 

G. St. Francis Home Bldg. Co: Terrace Drive Houses, 1919-1921

 

Proposed residence (later Sauter Residence), perspective

 

Proposed group of homes, perspective (1)

 

Proposed group of homes, perspective (2)

 

Proposed group of homes, perspective (3)

 

Proposed group of homes, elevations

 

Proposed group of homes, plans

 

Proposed group of homes, photograph

 

House 1: Plot plan

 

House 1: Foundation and basement plan

 

House 1: Main floor plan

 

House 1: North and south elevations

 

House 1: West elevation

 

House 1: East elevation

 

House 1: Interior details

 

House 1: Exterior details

 

House 2: Plot plan

 

House 2: Basement and foundation plan

 

House 2: First floor plan

 

House 2: Second floor plan

 

House 2: South elevation

 

House 2: West elevation

 

House 2: North elevation

 

House 2: East elevation

 

House 2: Details

 

Houses 1 & 2: Fence and double garage

 

Houses 1 & 2: Double garage

 

H.  Sales brochure: Lot 10, Block 21 of St. Francis Wood circa 1919

 

Brochure cover

 

Perspective and plans

 

I.  Sales brochure: Lot 24, Block 22 of St. Francis Wood circa 1919

 

Brochure cover

 

Perspective and plans

 

J. C.J. Sauter Residence, 1919

 
 

Foundation and basement plan

 

Main floor plan

 

North and south elevations

 

West elevation

 

East elevation

 

K. Floyd C. Shank Residence, alterations, 1933

 
 
 

Series VII. Olmsted Brothers

Creator: Olmstead Brothers
Physical Description: 3 items

Series Scope and Content Summary

Contains drawings of planting plans for a park, streets, and model homes. Arranged alphabetically by project name
 

A. Westgate Park Co., 1915-1917

 

Planting plan for houses M-N-O-P

 

Planting plan for park at junction of Santa Cruz, San Lorenzo, and Santa Ynez

 

Planting plan for the Terrace Road and Santa Clara Avenue

 

Series VIII. St. Francis Wood Homeowners Association

Creator: St. Francis Wood Homeowners Association
Physical Description: 0 items

Series Scope and Content Summary

The Homeowners Association collected these documents for the purposes of design review. Thus, this series contains blueprints and specifications for a number of different homes by different architects. Arranged alphabetically by project name
 

Series IX. Harry W. Shepherd

Creator: Harry W. Shepherd
Physical Description: 33 items

Series Scope and Content Summary

Contains letters, specifications, drawings and snapshots related to plantings in St. Francis Wood. Arranged by medium
 

A. St. Francis Wood plantings, drawings and correspondence, 1926

 

Letter from H.W. Shepherd to J. English re: Surrey, Sussex and Kent gardens

 

Letter from Westgate Park Co. to H.W. Shepherd re: Valentine garden

 

Specifications for Surrey, Sussex, and Kent gardens, page 1

 

Specifications for Surrey, Sussex, and Kent gardens, page 2

 

Embankment planting plan, lots 1,2,3,4

 

B. St. Francis Wood plantings, photographs, circa 1926

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (1)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (2)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (3)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (4)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (5)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (6)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (7)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (8)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (9)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (10)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (11)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (12)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (13)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (14)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (15)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (16)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (17)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (18)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (19)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (20)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (21)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (22)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (23)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (24)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (25)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (26)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (27)

 

St. Francis Wood plantings (28)

 

Series X. Walter Steilberg

Creator: Walter Steilberg
Physical Description: 1 item

Series Scope and Content Summary

Contains one working drawing of an addition to the Stephens Residence. Arranged alphabetically by project name
 

A. Garrol Stephens Residence, addition, 1936

 
 

Series XI. Ward Thomas

Creator: Ward Thomas
Physical Description: 1 item

Series Scope and Content Summary

Contains one presentation drawing of Ahearn Residence. Arranged alphabetically by project name
 

A. W.J. Ahearn Residence, 1946