Haas-Lilienthal House

In 1906, an earthquake struck San Francisco. Buildings trembled and then collapsed. Fires raged throughout the city. The historic architecture of the beautiful Bay Area was destroyed. However, a few homes remained untouched by the damage due to the intricate web of lines along which the earthquake itself occurred and the lucky flukes of wind direction which swung fires away from them. One of these buildings was the Haas-Lilienthal House, a late nineteenth century Victorian home which stands today as a museum offering information to the public about the history of one family who lived in San Francisco when that earthquake hit.

A tour of the Haas-Lilienthal House exposes visitors to the daily life of San Franciscans in the Pacific Heights area as it was lived pre-quake. The architecture is that of the original Queen Anne Victorian design, complete with detailed wooden gables and decorative spindles. A circular turret completes this historic look for which San Francisco is well-known. The Haas-Lilienthal House offers more than just the detailed architecture of the era though; the house is completely furnished with authentic period pieces which bring the true flavor of the pre-earthquake period to the home. From the stately red carpeting in the parlor to the wooden staircases leading up to the second floor, every detail of this home reflects the area’s history.

The history of the area can be completely experienced simply by spending time in the house, but tours of the museum offer even more insight in to the relationship between the pre-earthquake architecture and the developments in the neighborhood which took place after that disaster. Through photographic explanations, visitors can learn about the lives of the Haas and Lilienthal families, bringing them closer to understanding the types of people who once lived in homes like this one.

The Haas-Lilienthal House is run by volunteers associated with San Francisco Architectural Heritage (www.sfheritage.org), a non-profit organization which is committed to preserving the historic architecture still remaining in San Francisco. In addition to educating the public about the area’s building design through museum tours and walking tours, San Francisco Heritage advocates in the political sphere for buildings endangered by modern growth. The main office of San Francisco Heritage is located at the Haas-Lilienthal House.

3 Comments so far

  1. SaneInSF (unregistered) on October 4th, 2006 @ 4:01 pm

    We need balance when it comes to architecture. The problem we have right now is that the balanced has shifted completely to trying to preserve everything, which has basically ossifed neighborhoods. Furthermore these houses were designed for the lifestyle of the mid-late 1800s. No one these days has use for a parlor. Houses are meant to be lived in.

    Free SF Architecture from its Victorian Drudgery!

  2. anna (unregistered) on October 4th, 2006 @ 5:04 pm

    I’m with ya- I’d like more variety, more interesting architecture. We have the Victorian thing, check that off the list. When restoration and conservation run wild: we turn into postcard-SF!

  3. Nancy (unregistered) on October 4th, 2006 @ 9:47 pm

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