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The Story Behind the Liberty Hill Historic District

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From the Curbed inbox:

I was wondering if you could do a Hidden History with the Liberty Hill Historic District? I can't find much information about it online.The Mission's Liberty Hill district contains some of the most intact historic residential blocks in the city. But what's the story behind these swanky Victorian mansions and cottages?

The significance of the district goes back to nineteenth century middle class housing and developmental practices. It's basically the earliest residential "suburb" of SF, with development starting the 1860s and continuing until the turn of the century. Almost 70% of the 293 buildings in the district are Victorian, and for the architecture nerds out there, 42% are Italianate, 20% Stick and 8% Queen Anne styles. The area still retains a lot of its suburban feel, with lots of street plantings and some houses on Fair Oaks set back so far they have full-on front yards. According to the landmark designation, the initial residents in the Liberty-Hill Historic District comprised a mix of professionals, laborers and small scale entrepreneurs. There have been a bunch of famous SF folks associated with the district, including James Rolph, Jr., John Daly, Susan B. Anthony and Lotta Crabtree. For a comprehensive history, check out the landmark designation.Liberty Hill Historic District boundaries and contributing buildings
The Liberty Hill Historic District was established in 1985, bound by 20th, Mission, Dolores, and 22nd Streets. The southern boundary is the Yerba Buena pueblo charter line of 1834, while the fire following the 1906 earthquake was stopped at Twentieth Street, marking the northern boundary. The western boundary cuddles up to a natural topographical plateau, where houses changed scale of size, and the eastern boundary ends at "the working-man's cottages" that date from the period.


· Liberty-Hill Historic District [Noe Hill]
· Liberty Hill Historic District landmark designation (pdf) [SF Planning]
· Previous coverage of Liberty Hill [Curbed SF]