San Francisco, CA

This Is the Oldest House in San Francisco

Diana Rus
Abner Phelps HousePhoto byAbner Phelps House/ Wikipedia

The Abner Phelps House is currently the oldest house in San Francisco. It was built in approximately 1850 by Abner Phelps and his wife Augusta Roussell with pre-constructed house parts.

It is situated at 1111 Oak Street in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, just west of Divisadero Street. In 2019, a private business moved into the house, so the house is not open to the general public.

Since May 23, 1979, the building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it has been a San Francisco Designated Landmark (number 32) since May 31, 1970.
Abner Phelps HousePhoto byAbner Phelps House/ Wikipedia

Abner Phelps House

From 1846 to 1848, Abner Phelps served as a colonel in the Mexican-American War. He thereafter worked as a lawyer on Montgomery Street. To get to his workplace, which was where the Transamerica Pyramid is now, he rode a horse.

By 1854, the San Francisco city borders extended to the property. 

The house's architecture is a combination of Gothic Revival and Colonial features.

The house was moved three times: first in 1890 for road grading on Divisadero Street and subsequently repositioned in the same location, once in 1904 to reposition the house so that stores could be built along Divisadero, and once in the 1970s to allow for a front yard.

The house was formerly located at 329 Divisadero Street.

When was the house built

There are two contradictory stories about how the house was built.

The oldest one was published around 1934. The story says that the home was built in 1850 by John Middleton & Sons, one of the city's early real estate firms, and was made with lumber brought around the Horn from Maine, as there were no sawmills at the time.

The second story dates from 1961. According to Phelps' great-granddaughter, the house was constructed in New Orleans, transported in bits, and then rebuilt in San Francisco between 1850 and 1851 because his wife Roussell was homesick for Louisiana.

The house was located on a 160-acre estate that also included what is now the Golden Gate Park Panhandle, just outside of San Francisco.

(Source: Abner Phelps House/ Wikipedia)

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