Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1855

2 stories

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Yung moved to the Nob Hill Neighborhood in 1855 before it became fashionable with the city's plutocrats in the mid-1870s. One of the Big Four, owners of the Central Pacific Railroad, Charles Crocker purchased 2.6 acres of land above Yung at the crest of Nob Hill c. 1876 and proceeded to plan a multi-million dollar house that would be larger, taller and more impressive than those of his neighbors. Yung had the misfortune of occupying a corner piece of the lot next door to Crocker's huge new mansion, marring it in the latter's eyes. (The Yung House also adjoined the property of Crocker's fellow owner of the Central Pacific Railroad, Collis P. Huntington [1821-1900] who didn't seem to mind the small dwelling.) Crocker at first tried to bully the undertaker into taking a market-rate offer for his highly desirable plot. Yung liked the views and did not take the first offer; Crocker then doubled it, desperate to rid his estate of Yung's eyesore. Yung again refused. The railroad mogul and banker then decided to erect a three-sided wall or "spite fence" around Yung's House, blocking his views and killing his lawn. Yung died in 1880; his heirs relented and sold out to Crocker later in the 1880s, at which time, the millionaire tore down the spite fence and Yung's House. Supposedly, the undertaker, in retaliation for the spite fence, mounted a large coffin on his roof, and pointed it in Crocker's direction. This feud became politicized in late 1878 at a time of significant unemployment in the city following the Panic of 1873. A local politician, Denis Kearney, organized the Workingman's Party of California, which focused public resentment on wealthy railroad moguls (who they felt caused the economic collapse) and the Chinese, whom the railroads brought in en masse to build the railroads. Kearney sought to expand his party's power in city government by focusing anger on the Crocker and Yung, David and Goliath, fight. A rally was held on Nob Hill 10/29/1878, where the Big Four lived, with Kearney threatening to tear down the spite fence. Not surprisingly, Crocker pulled strings and had Kearney arrested, and the spite fence remained for the time being. (See James Sederberg, "Crocker's Spite Fence," Found SF,Accessed 06/30/2011.)

The German immigrant and undertaker Nicholas Yung's (d. 1880) powerful neighbor, railroad and banking mogul, Charles Crocker (1822-1888), owned a block long parcel bounded by Sacramento Street on the north, Taylor Street on the east, California Street on the south and Jones Street on the west. Yung's small house was located on the southwest corner of Sacramento Street and Taylor Street.

Demolished c. 1882.

PCAD id: 16598