A Little Bit of Marin… in San Francisco

A San Francisco street – believe it or not!

I’ve been a Realtor in San Francisco for almost ten years, and there are (believe it or not) still streets I haven’t yet visited. While we have plenty of world-famous streets – Lombard, for example – we also have some rather shy and retiring streets that don’t get the attention of our more famous streets…

This past week on broker’s tour, I had the chance to visit once such street – Edgehill Way – perched at the top of Forest Hill Extension.


As you can see from the above video of Edgehill Way (which has been edited for motion stabilization), the “street” really isn’t much more than some forgotten asphalt that is in the process of being taken-back by nature, with branches hanging down and tree roots bubbling back up through the asphalt.

Fortunately (or not, depending on your perspective) there aren’t very many homes along Edgehill Way, so it isn’t a heavily¬†trafficked street – but it definitely wouldn’t be someplace you’d want to live if your car was a Hummer, SUV, Cadillac, or any other large vehicle! I was in a Prius, and could barely squeeze past a construction vehicle, and even after that the street was incredibly narrow with no shoulder and really not much room for¬†maneuvering.

Curious about how to get to Edgehill Way? It starts off of Garcia Ave. in Forest Hill Extension. From there, it winds and curves around, with a short off-shoot known as “Shangri-La Way” until it loops back on itself and comes back down to Garcia Ave.

What are some of the streets in San Francisco that you’ve stumbled upon and been very happily surprised with? What streets have you lived on that the delivery people were never able to find? Share your favorite (or least-favorite) streets in the comments below!

Mobile Homes of San Francisco

Tell someone you live in a mobile home in San Francisco and they’ll look at you like you’re crazy. Which you might be, but I digress. While San Francisco real estate might be known for six-figure sale prices in small packages, we aren’t known as the land of trailer parks. Perhaps it’s because we’re prone to earthquakes instead of tornadoes? There are a few homes in San Francisco, though, that are more mobile than their appearance suggests.

200 Woodside Ave., now found in the Forest Hill extension neighborhood but once part of St. Francis Wood, is one such house.

The Forest Hill Extension neighborhood was built out primarily in the 1920s, and most of the homes are finished in stucco and have a rather consistent look and feel to them – vaguely Spanish Med. 200 Woodside, on the other hand, is a cape-cod style home that is finished primarily with wood siding.

200 Woodside Ave. - A San Francisco Mobile Home

Below is a photo of the home in the context of its block, and as you can see 200 Woodside stands out as the home that doesn’t look like all of the others.

View of Forest Hill Extension

It turns out that the home was moved to this particular site back in the 1950’s, when Portola Drive was being widened. Below are several photos of Portola, before it was widened, during the construction, and how it looks today:

Portola before the street was widened
Portola when it was being widened, 1958
Portola Drive, 2012

Freeways were all the rage in the 1950s, and the plan at the time was to pretty much put a freeway everywhere. Portola wouldn’t have been turned into a freeway, but it was widened in the late 1950s to accomodate the additional traffic envisioned as a result of the freeway expansion. As you can see, it was doubled from a two-lane to a four-lane street.

I’m not sure where exactly the home at 200 Woodside Ave. started out, but it was somewhere over in the construction area and instead of being demolished it was moved to it’s current location.

The only other homes that I know of being relocated are a strip of Victorians in the Western Addition neighborhood that were moved back in the 1960s. How about you, what mobile homes in San Francisco do you know about?

Portola Dr & O’Shaughnessy Blvd. – Then and Now

While doing some research for an upcoming blog post about Portola Dr. I came across this great picture of the strip mall located along Portola between Evelyn and Fowler that was taken in 1938. For comparison, I went out and took a picture from roughly the same vantage point last Friday. As you can see, the more things change, the more they stay the same!

Portola Dr. in 1938, source: foundsf.org

The Miraloma Appliance co. is now home to the Portola Cleaners, while the Merit Food Center has made way for Tower Burger (yum!). I can’t quite read the signs on the next two buildings, does anyone know what was once there?  However, the Miraloma Market (far right hand side of the picture) is still the Miraloma Market (although way back in 1938 it didn’t have a taqueria).

Portola Dr. in 2012, source: Matt Fuller, GRI

If the street configuration and parking lot looks a little different to you, then you get bonus stars for your eagle eyes. Portola street was widened in the 1950’s during the lets-build-freeways-everywhere craze, which actually resulted in some of the original homes on Portola Dr. being relocated to other spots in the city.

Anyway, just a fun little then and now picture to satisfy you on this Tuesday. I’m headed out the door for broker’s tour shortly, and will be visiting neighborhoods from the north end to the south side of the city. Not much to view in Miraloma Park today, but inventory across the city is slowly creeping back up.

Have a favorite spot in the city, or an old picture that would make for a great then and now comparison? Get in touch, I’m a big fan of San Francisco history and always love to learn more about the history of the streets and homes in San Francisco.