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The French Chateau Sanatorium Nestled Near West Portal

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Welcome to Curbed's ongoing series titled Hidden History, where Curbed highlights a Bay Area location with a secret past. Maybe it's no longer there, maybe it's been converted into something else, but each spot holds a place in Bay Area history - even if not many people know it. Have a suggestion or know a place with a secret history? The tipline's always open or you can leave a comment after the jump.

Arden Wood, 1930 [Photo: Architect & Engineer via Internet Archive]

Nestled into the hillside at the south end of West Portal is Arden Wood, a massive French Chateau style residential care facility. Built back in 1929 as the Christian Science Sanatorium, it pretty much functions in the same capacity today.

Arden Wood, today [Photo: Google Maps]

The massive 11 acre estate was designed by Henry H. Gutterson (of St. Francis Wood fame) with a sprawling park-like setting designed by landscape architect Helen Van Pelt. Not a style typically found in California, the French Chateau building is a rare one in these parts. The whole place is surrounded by Eucalyptus trees, meant to "provide a place of rest and recuperation." There was lots of thought put into access to light and air – think high ceilings, balconies on every room, etc.

Arden Wood sun room, 1930 [Photo: Architect & Engineer via Internet Archive]

Arden Wood living room, 1930 [Photo: Architect & Engineer via Internet Archive]

Back in 2007 eight lots for eight new single-family houses were subdivided along 15th Ave and Wawona. The houses were designed to each be three-story, three-bedroom units with two off-street parking spots. The project was appealed, and in the end only seven of the houses were built.

New houses on Arden Wood property [Photo: Google Maps]

Historic Resource Evaluation Response: 15th Ave & Wawona [SF Planning]
A Christian Science Sanatorium [Architect & Engineer via Internet Archive]