Sellers throw around the world “historical” pretty freely in the real estate game sometimes, but in case anybody doubts the credentials of 294 Page Street it’s even got a plaque certifying its landmark status, visible before visitors even get through the gate.
Although this particular four bed, four bath Hayes Valley home could probably get by just on its reputation. Generally referred to as the Dietle House or Dietle Mansion, this classic Queen Anne Victorian originally belonged to German-born bootmaker Charles Dietle.
It’s anybody’s guess precisely how many boots you have to sell before to afford to pay San Francisco architect Henry Geilfuss to put together a house like this.
The present listing dates the house to 1885, although the Planning Commission previously declared that it was even older, possibly built in 1878.
Right after the Big One in 1906 it passed on to John DeMartini, “a fruit and vegetable commission merchant who was also an original director [...] of the Bank of Italy, now Bank of America.”
Apparently old school San Francisco really was the land of opportunity: Even our bootmakers and grocers were making and buying mansions good left and right.
In fact, local historians have it that “Dietle sold it to John DeMartini for a bag of gold that Mr DeMartini had salvaged from his destroyed business.”
If there’s a more quintessentially old time San Francisco real estate deal than a bootmaker selling his mansion to a fruit merchant for a sack of earthquake gold, nobody’s yet heard it.
It’s not clear which if either of these gentlemen the jaunty lamplighter figure on the banister right in front of the lavender-colored front door is supposed to be, but judging from his expression he’s getting ready to burst into a Disney-style song and dance number as soon as the next buyer steps inside.
This one of a kind piece of San Francisco storytelling last sold in 2013 for more than $3.36 million. The new list price: $5.19 million. Although a bag of gold pried from the jaws of a seismic disaster may still do in a pinch.