AKA: Octagon House, San Francisco, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1861

2 stories

2645 Gough Street
Cow Hollow, San Francisco, CA 94123-4402

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The house is a rare survivor on the West Coast of the mid-19th century American fad for octagonal houses. Phrenologist and philosopher, Orson Squire Fowler (1809-1887), wrote a popular treatise on the practicality of octagonal houses in 1847. This house reflected his planning ideas.

Building History

The McElroys lived here with their daughter and a nephew in the 1850s. It functioned as a residence until the 1920s, after which a local utility purchased it.

The California Society of the Colonial Dames of America purchased the residence in 1952. Misses Edith Winslow and Lucy Helen Allyne donated land across the street and the society had the house moved to its present location. The University of California Berkeley Professor of Architecture, Warren Charles Perry, supervised a full-scale restoration in 1953. A new cornerstone was laid on 04/07/1953; a time capsule, placed in an old cornerstone box by McElroy in the 1850s, was discovered just prior to this.

Building Notes

San Francisco Beautiful presented this house with an award for its gardens in 1993.

San Francisco Historic Landmark: 17

National Register of Historic Places: 72000250 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 11379