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The South Mission: Another Contender for SF's Oldest House

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Photo credit: Mission Local

The prized designation as "The Oldest House in San Francisco" has a new contender, a house built by brothers George and John Treat, who arrived here in 1849. 1266-68 Hampshire Street was identified in the recently-completed architectural survey of the South Mission. The same Treats as in "Treat Street", they were apparently early real estate speculators, and amongst other things, members of vigilante committees and racetrack owners. But the Treat brothers were from Maine, and it makes sense they would build the kind of four-square clapboard house that they- and the ship's carpenters who likely built it- knew so well. Although there's no firm date of construction, it first shows up in an 1861 map closer to Capp Street and was moved to its present location on Hampshire about ten years later. Makes the Tanforan Cottages and 31 Alta Street (1853) seem like latecomers- both are fortunate survivors despite the 1906 firestorm, which did not reach as far as the Treat brothers' house. The house is tough to see from the street, shielded by two vintage myrtle trees, and the current streetscape is the usual Mission- recent bad stucco infill mixed with older clapboard houses, some worn and faded, some brightly painted.

The second story and roof of 1266-1268 Hampshire Street.
Photo credit: Mission Local

The former St. Patrick's Church c. 1854, now at 1822 Eddy Street

Mission Local's slide show- along with vintage maps- reminds us that moving buildings was common in San Francisco before the installation of overhead power lines. Houses were wood, and thus relatively easy to move, and while the redwood they were built of was relatively cheap, the labor involved in building probably was not. So you didn't just tear the house down if it was in the way of a new street grid, or your heart's desire. Just for reference, another survivor in the New England vernacular style is 1822 Eddy Street (above), built in 1854 as St. Patrick's Church on the site of the current Palace Hotel, and moved twice, now sitting tight in a parking lot surrounded by banal post-war urban "renewal."
· Mission Home Could be the City's Oldest [Mission Local]
· Telegraph Hill: Is This the Oldest Surviving House in SF? [Curbed SF Archives]
· The South Mission: Where Victorians and Interactive Maps Meet [Curbed SF Archives]
· Tanforan Cottages [NoeHill]