The area of Sea Cliff near the Presidio's 25th Avenue entrance is known for its mansions of high architectural caliber. One of them also has a pretty impressive resident pedigree—the two houses at the end of 24th Avenue were once home to photographer extraordinaire Ansel Adams.
The legendary photographer was born in San Francisco in 1902. His parents had a home built at what is today 129 24th Ave, but at the time of its construction in 1903, the house was one of only a handful on a sand dune overlooking the Presidio. His grandfather started a redwood lumber business that his father would later run, and the chalet-style house reflected the industry with wood shingling and large timbers. Ironically, Ansel Adams would later devote much of his time to environmentalism, condemning the practice of logging and lending his photographs to the environmental movement.
Ansel Adams married his wife Virginia in 1928, and a year later had a house built next to his childhood home—the two houses were even connected by a hallway. Designed by Alfred Henry Jacobs (of Avalon Ballroom fame), the new Adams house at 131 24th Ave also house his home photography studio. When the Adamses spent most of their time in Yosemite, they lent their house and studio to fellow photographer Minor White. The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite is still run by the Adams family.
Adams moved to Carmel in 1962 and left behind the family home in San Francisco. By 1971, local architect Peter Winklestein purchased the lot containing both houses. In 1995 the large house next door fell into a sinkhole, leaving the area between the Adams house and the Presidio open. Neighbors hoped to convert the newly vacant lot into the "Ansel Adams Grove" and fill it with oak trees, but instead the lot was subdivided and sold. A new three-story, four-bedroom house was constructed on one of the lots.
· People & Events: Ansel Adams (1902-1984) [PBS]
· Ansel Adams Grove Hearing at Budget & Finance Committee [Beyond Chron]
· Ansel Adams' boyhood San Francisco house [SF Gate]
· 107 24th Ave, San Francisco, CA [Zillow]
· Ansel Adams and the American Landscape: A Biography [Jonathon Spaulding via Google Books]
· Ansel Adams' Footprint / Would a grove in a sinkhole pay appropriate tribute to a native son? [SF Gate]