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The exterior of a building in San Francisco. The facade has elaborate designs around the entrance and along the front of the building. Getty Images

Julia Morgan's design masterpieces, mapped

Morgan built the Bay Area one design at a time

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Julia Morgan was a notoriously private person who shunned publicity. Little is known about her childhood or personal life. But no matter—she left behind a most lasting impressions on California’s landscape and a hard-to-miss hole in the architecture field’s glass ceiling .

Born in San Francisco and a graduate of UC Berkeley, Morgan was the first woman to graduate of UC Berkeley’s civil engineering program, the first woman ever to be admitted to the prestigious École de Beaux-Arts department of architecture in Paris, the first woman architect licensed in California, and in 2014 she became the first woman to be awarded the AIA Gold Medal for Architecture (more than 50 years after her death)

Morgan holds the record for total completed structures designed by a single American architect—she designed more than 700 buildings (most of them houses), so many that even just her Bay Area contributions exceeds the capacity of any one map or index.

Here are just some of her most visible contributions to the region:

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1. Girton Hall (1911)

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Girton Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720

Girton Hall was originally designed as a meeting place for female students on UC Berkeley’s campus. Morgan’s design used wide redwood clapboard and low pitched roof with deep eaves, calling on the First Bay Area Tradition architectural style she was known for at the time.

Originally named after Cambridge’s first women’s residential college, the building was later moved and became a campus child care center. It was moved once more in 2014 to the Botanical Gardens (after being chopped into four pieces and reassembled) and renamed Julia Morgan Hall, now housing exhibitions and special events.

The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and a Berkeley city landmark.

2. Hearst Gymnasium for Women (1927)

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(510) 642-3894
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Designed with her mentor and colleague Bernard Maybeck, Morgan’s design for the Hearst Gym for Women on UC Berkeley’s campus echoes classical sensibilities.

William Randolph Hearst funded the building as a memorial to his mother Phoebe Apperson Hearst, whom Morgan knew well and worked with to design Asilomar in Pacific Grove.

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3. Colby House (1905)

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2901 Channing Way
Berkeley, CA 94704

One of Morgan’s first residential commissions was for Berkeley professor William Colby. The shingle exterior and plateglass windows showcase her early use of the First Bay Region Tradition style. In the 1980s it was converted into a house for Dominican nuns, but now it’s a frat house, and they added a big concrete patio to replace the front garden.

The building is a city of Berkeley Landmark.

4. Berkeley City Club (1929-1930)

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2315 Durant Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 848-7800
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In 1927 the Berkeley City Club was organized by women to contribute to social, civic, and cultural progress. When Morgan was selected as architect, the building earned the nickname “Little Castle” since she was working on Hearst Castle simultaneously and mirrored many of its Romanesque and Moorish elements.

The indoor plunge pool in particular harkens to the Roman Pool of Hearst Castle, as do the tiled courtyards and loggia. By the time the clubhouse opened in late 1930, the organization had enrolled over 4,000 female members. In 1965, the club opened its door to both men and women, and today hotel rooms are available to the general public.

The building is a Berkeley city landmark, California historic landmark, and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

5. St. John's Presbyterian Church (1910)

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2640 College Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704

Now the Julia Morgan Theater, the church building was desanctified and sold when the congregation moved to a new building in 1974. The interior features exposed redwood paneling and beams with smoked glass clerestory windows, making it feel more like a home than a church.

It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a Berkeley city landmark.

6. Seldon Williams House (1927-1928)

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2821 Claremont Blvd
Berkeley, CA 94705

Morgan adapted an eclectic style, according to her clients’ wishes on each building. In the house built for Seldon and Elizabeth Williams, there are influences of Gothic, Moorish, and Mediterranean techniques.

Seldon Williams died only two years after construction finished, and Elizabeth became a recluse, rarely leaving the house over the next 40 years. UC Berkeley bought the mansion in 1971 and used it as a residence and place to entertain for a handful of the system's vice presidents. It has since returned to private ownership.

7. Sausalito Woman's Club (1918)

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120 Central Ave
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 332-2700
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The Sausalito Woman's Club is a small Craftsman Style woodframe building featuring a Morgan auditorium full of soaring ceilings and wood paneling. The club itself was founded in Sausalito’s early days when it was a provincial rough-and-tumble town full of saloons and gambling dens. Ten female locals aimed to clean things up, so they hired Morgan, who designed a clubhouse reminiscent of her residential work.

The building was the first historic city landmark in Sausalito and is listed on​ the National Register of Historic Places.

8. College Avenue United Presbyterian Church (1917-1918)

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5951 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

The Arts and Crafts design of the church keeps the interior simple to create an intimate scale. One of the churches founding members was a building contractor who worked with Morgan on many of her projects, including Mills College and Hearst Castle.

The building is an Oakland city landmark.

9. Chapel of the Chimes (1926-30)

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4499 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 379-5200
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Formerly the California Crematorium, Morgan expanded and renovated the building in 1926. Her Moorish-Gothic design created a labyrinth of courtyards and fountains, complete with European antiquities and expertly crafted mosaics and stained glass. Frank Lloyd Wright-protege architect Aaron Green created six Aztec-inspired additions in 1959.

The building is an Oakland city landmark.

10. King’s Daughters Home (1908-1912)

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3900 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94611

Morgan designed several tuberculosis hospitals for women throughout California, and pediatric nursing homes for children with terminal illnesses. The biggest commission of these was the King's Daughters of California Home for Incurables in Oakland.

The original buildings covered an entire city block and consisted of five brick masonry buildings surrounding a landscaped courtyard. An Art Nouveau style entrance arch was donated by Morgan’s mother Edith in memory of her younger brother who died in 1913. The hospital remained open until the early 1980s, when it was sold to Kaiser Health who use the main building as a psychiatry facility and demolished the rest for parking.

The site is a Oakland city landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

11. The Heritage (1924-1925)

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3400 Laguna St
San Francisco, CA 94123

The Ladies Protection and Relief Society of San Francisco established The Heritage as high-quality housing and nursing care for senior citizens in 1924, and today it still functions as such. Constructed from reinforced concrete and faced with brick, this building was carefully designed by Morgan to withstand an earthquake since it was sited on landfill from the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition.

12. Methodist Chinese Mission School (1907-1910)

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940 Washington St
San Francisco, CA 94108

Now known as the Gum Moon Residence Hall, missionaries commissioned the Methodist Chinese Mission School to provide temporary housing and social services to women and children in need. Morgan’s design used bright colored tiles in the entrance and cornice that included Chinese design details.

13. Chinatown YWCA (1930)

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965 Clay St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 391-1188
Visit Website

Now home to the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, Morgan’s design employed many traditionally Chinese motifs: the courtyard with a koi pond and cloud lift detail, three towers, tiles glazed with Chinese patterns, and a dragon painted on the floor of the corridor between the courtyard and the gymnasium.

The building is a registered San Francisco city landmark.

14. Donaldina Cameron House (1908)

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920 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 781-0401
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The Cameron House has its origins in the Occidental Mission Home at the same location, which was opened in 1873 by the Presbyterian Church to rescue Chinese girls and women from prostitution, sweatshops, and domestic service. Donaldina Cameron took over as superintendent of the Home in 1900. And when the original building burned in the Great Quake, Morgan was hired to rebuild.

Many of the bricks were salvaged and reused from the original building. The building is a registered San Francisco city landmark.

15. Hotel Fairmont (1907)

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950 Mason St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 772-5000
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Originally designed by the Reid Brothers, the Fairmont Hotel suffered major damage in the 1906 earthquake and fire. Morgan was hired for restoration and repair work, thanks to her civil engineering degree and her concrete work at Mills College, which survived the quake without a scratch.

While her design fingerprint at this Nob Hill hotel may not be as readily visible, the commission was the most important of her career since forming her own firm and highlights her engineering prowess.

16. San Francisco University High School (1917)

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3065 Jackson St
San Francisco, CA 94115

Originally the Katherine Delmar Burke School, the building housed a girls' school from 1917 until 1975. Morgan was a friend of Katherine Burke, who founded the girl’s school in 1908. Today the Burke school has relocated to the tony Seacliff neighborhood and the old building houses University High School’s history and english departments, college counseling offices, and administrative offices.

Morgan’s original design has been altered and expanded over the years. SFinFilm has some great photos comparing the original to current courtyards.

17. Hearst Building (1938)

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5 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94103

The Hearst building was constructed in 1911 by Kirby, Petit, and Green in a Spanish-Revival style to house the printing department of Hearst’s San Francisco Examiner (and replacing a 1898 Hearst building destroyed by the earthquake and fire).

In 1938 Hearst brought in Morgan to completely remodel the exterior entry, ground floor lobby, and parapet roof. She spiced it up with bronze medallions, a giant “H” crest above the door, ornate terra cotta and metal grill work, and a gilded lobby.

The exterior of the Hearst Building in San Francisco. There are elaborate design flourishes on the front of the building. Getty Images

18. Nihonmachi Little Friends (1932)

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1700 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 346-5064
Visit Website

Originally the Japantown YWCA, Morgan designed the building pro bono. Started in 1912 by first generation Japanese women to provide social services to women and girls, the women were prevented from acquiring property by the 1913 Alien Land Laws. The San Francisco YWCA purchased the property for them in trust with additional funds from the Japanese community.

Morgan was commissioned in 1932 to design the present building. It included a dorm, meeting rooms, and an auditorium with an authentic Noh theater stage to perform classical Japanese dramas—the only one in the western United States. In 2002 Nihonmachi Little Friends purchased the property and today it functions as Japanese bilingual childcare.

The building is a San Francisco City Landmark.

19. Mills College (1903)

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Mills College
Oakland, CA

Licensed in 1904, one of Morgan’s first independent commissions was for a bell tower at Mills College, reportedly the first freestanding bell tower on a United States college campus.

Built of exposed reinforced concrete, El Campanil survived the 1906 earthquake without a lick of damage. Morgan’s second commission on campus, the Margaret Carnegie Library of 1905-06, uses Mission-style details. The original reading room on the second floor, with high beamed Arts and Crafts style ceiling, remains intact.

The Ethel Moore Memorial Center, today’s Student Union, was the third commission and also features a swoon-worthy entry level social hall.

Mills College is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

20. Native Daughters of the Golden West Home (1929)

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555 Baker St
San Francisco, CA 94117

In 1929 the Native Daughters of the Golden West hired Morgan to design a new home to serve as a meeting place and assembly hall, and provide lodging to the members who wanted to travel to San Francisco from smaller communities for “educational advantages.”

Today the home still offers accommodations to members and guests, but also includes a museum, reference library, and corporate offices.

21. Emanu-el Sisterhood Residence (1921-22)

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300 Page St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 863-3136
Visit Website

Commissioned by a Jewish women's group, this building provided housing for single working women and recreational facilities. While the Palladian archway and symmetrical facade showcase Morgan’s Beaux-Arts training, the iron balcony on the building’s loggia incorporates the Star of David as part of its design.

The building was purchased by San Francisco Zen Center in 1969, but they did not make any major alterations.

22. Potrero Hill Neighborhood House (1922)

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953 De Haro St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 826-8080
Visit Website

Morgan was hired to design a neighborhood house for a Russian sect of the Presbyterian Church known as the Molokani. Many had fled Czarist oppression in Russia and settled in Potrero Hill, so the neighborhood house served as place for them to learn English and practical skills, as well as host social and religious celebrations and ceremonies.

Morgan designed the building to look and feel like a house, offering a safe and comforting space. Despite changing neighborhood demographics the building continues to offer community programs, group space, and a venue for weddings.

The building is a registered San Francisco city landmark.

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1. Girton Hall (1911)

Girton Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720

Girton Hall was originally designed as a meeting place for female students on UC Berkeley’s campus. Morgan’s design used wide redwood clapboard and low pitched roof with deep eaves, calling on the First Bay Area Tradition architectural style she was known for at the time.

Originally named after Cambridge’s first women’s residential college, the building was later moved and became a campus child care center. It was moved once more in 2014 to the Botanical Gardens (after being chopped into four pieces and reassembled) and renamed Julia Morgan Hall, now housing exhibitions and special events.

The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and a Berkeley city landmark.

Girton Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720

2. Hearst Gymnasium for Women (1927)

Berkeley, CA 94720

Designed with her mentor and colleague Bernard Maybeck, Morgan’s design for the Hearst Gym for Women on UC Berkeley’s campus echoes classical sensibilities.

William Randolph Hearst funded the building as a memorial to his mother Phoebe Apperson Hearst, whom Morgan knew well and worked with to design Asilomar in Pacific Grove.

3. Colby House (1905)

2901 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

One of Morgan’s first residential commissions was for Berkeley professor William Colby. The shingle exterior and plateglass windows showcase her early use of the First Bay Region Tradition style. In the 1980s it was converted into a house for Dominican nuns, but now it’s a frat house, and they added a big concrete patio to replace the front garden.

The building is a city of Berkeley Landmark.

2901 Channing Way
Berkeley, CA 94704

4. Berkeley City Club (1929-1930)

2315 Durant Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

In 1927 the Berkeley City Club was organized by women to contribute to social, civic, and cultural progress. When Morgan was selected as architect, the building earned the nickname “Little Castle” since she was working on Hearst Castle simultaneously and mirrored many of its Romanesque and Moorish elements.

The indoor plunge pool in particular harkens to the Roman Pool of Hearst Castle, as do the tiled courtyards and loggia. By the time the clubhouse opened in late 1930, the organization had enrolled over 4,000 female members. In 1965, the club opened its door to both men and women, and today hotel rooms are available to the general public.

The building is a Berkeley city landmark, California historic landmark, and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

2315 Durant Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704

5. St. John's Presbyterian Church (1910)

2640 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

Now the Julia Morgan Theater, the church building was desanctified and sold when the congregation moved to a new building in 1974. The interior features exposed redwood paneling and beams with smoked glass clerestory windows, making it feel more like a home than a church.

It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a Berkeley city landmark.

2640 College Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704

6. Seldon Williams House (1927-1928)

2821 Claremont Blvd, Berkeley, CA 94705

Morgan adapted an eclectic style, according to her clients’ wishes on each building. In the house built for Seldon and Elizabeth Williams, there are influences of Gothic, Moorish, and Mediterranean techniques.

Seldon Williams died only two years after construction finished, and Elizabeth became a recluse, rarely leaving the house over the next 40 years. UC Berkeley bought the mansion in 1971 and used it as a residence and place to entertain for a handful of the system's vice presidents. It has since returned to private ownership.

2821 Claremont Blvd
Berkeley, CA 94705

7. Sausalito Woman's Club (1918)

120 Central Ave, Sausalito, CA 94965

The Sausalito Woman's Club is a small Craftsman Style woodframe building featuring a Morgan auditorium full of soaring ceilings and wood paneling. The club itself was founded in Sausalito’s early days when it was a provincial rough-and-tumble town full of saloons and gambling dens. Ten female locals aimed to clean things up, so they hired Morgan, who designed a clubhouse reminiscent of her residential work.

The building was the first historic city landmark in Sausalito and is listed on​ the National Register of Historic Places.

120 Central Ave
Sausalito, CA 94965

8. College Avenue United Presbyterian Church (1917-1918)

5951 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

The Arts and Crafts design of the church keeps the interior simple to create an intimate scale. One of the churches founding members was a building contractor who worked with Morgan on many of her projects, including Mills College and Hearst Castle.

The building is an Oakland city landmark.

5951 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

9. Chapel of the Chimes (1926-30)

4499 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

Formerly the California Crematorium, Morgan expanded and renovated the building in 1926. Her Moorish-Gothic design created a labyrinth of courtyards and fountains, complete with European antiquities and expertly crafted mosaics and stained glass. Frank Lloyd Wright-protege architect Aaron Green created six Aztec-inspired additions in 1959.

The building is an Oakland city landmark.

4499 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611

10. King’s Daughters Home (1908-1912)

3900 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

Morgan designed several tuberculosis hospitals for women throughout California, and pediatric nursing homes for children with terminal illnesses. The biggest commission of these was the King's Daughters of California Home for Incurables in Oakland.

The original buildings covered an entire city block and consisted of five brick masonry buildings surrounding a landscaped courtyard. An Art Nouveau style entrance arch was donated by Morgan’s mother Edith in memory of her younger brother who died in 1913. The hospital remained open until the early 1980s, when it was sold to Kaiser Health who use the main building as a psychiatry facility and demolished the rest for parking.

The site is a Oakland city landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

3900 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94611

11. The Heritage (1924-1925)

3400 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94123

The Ladies Protection and Relief Society of San Francisco established The Heritage as high-quality housing and nursing care for senior citizens in 1924, and today it still functions as such. Constructed from reinforced concrete and faced with brick, this building was carefully designed by Morgan to withstand an earthquake since it was sited on landfill from the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition.

3400 Laguna St
San Francisco, CA 94123

12. Methodist Chinese Mission School (1907-1910)

940 Washington St, San Francisco, CA 94108

Now known as the Gum Moon Residence Hall, missionaries commissioned the Methodist Chinese Mission School to provide temporary housing and social services to women and children in need. Morgan’s design used bright colored tiles in the entrance and cornice that included Chinese design details.

940 Washington St
San Francisco, CA 94108

13. Chinatown YWCA (1930)

965 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94108

Now home to the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, Morgan’s design employed many traditionally Chinese motifs: the courtyard with a koi pond and cloud lift detail, three towers, tiles glazed with Chinese patterns, and a dragon painted on the floor of the corridor between the courtyard and the gymnasium.

The building is a registered San Francisco city landmark.

965 Clay St
San Francisco, CA 94108

14. Donaldina Cameron House (1908)

920 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94108

The Cameron House has its origins in the Occidental Mission Home at the same location, which was opened in 1873 by the Presbyterian Church to rescue Chinese girls and women from prostitution, sweatshops, and domestic service. Donaldina Cameron took over as superintendent of the Home in 1900. And when the original building burned in the Great Quake, Morgan was hired to rebuild.

Many of the bricks were salvaged and reused from the original building. The building is a registered San Francisco city landmark.

920 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94108

15. Hotel Fairmont (1907)

950 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94108

Originally designed by the Reid Brothers, the Fairmont Hotel suffered major damage in the 1906 earthquake and fire. Morgan was hired for restoration and repair work, thanks to her civil engineering degree and her concrete work at Mills College, which survived the quake without a scratch.

While her design fingerprint at this Nob Hill hotel may not be as readily visible, the commission was the most important of her career since forming her own firm and highlights her engineering prowess.

950 Mason St
San Francisco, CA 94108

16. San Francisco University High School (1917)

3065 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94115

Originally the Katherine Delmar Burke School, the building housed a girls' school from 1917 until 1975. Morgan was a friend of Katherine Burke, who founded the girl’s school in 1908. Today the Burke school has relocated to the tony Seacliff neighborhood and the old building houses University High School’s history and english departments, college counseling offices, and administrative offices.

Morgan’s original design has been altered and expanded over the years. SFinFilm has some great photos comparing the original to current courtyards.

3065 Jackson St
San Francisco, CA 94115

17. Hearst Building (1938)

5 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94103
The exterior of the Hearst Building in San Francisco. There are elaborate design flourishes on the front of the building. Getty Images

The Hearst building was constructed in 1911 by Kirby, Petit, and Green in a Spanish-Revival style to house the printing department of Hearst’s San Francisco Examiner (and replacing a 1898 Hearst building destroyed by the earthquake and fire).

In 1938 Hearst brought in Morgan to completely remodel the exterior entry, ground floor lobby, and parapet roof. She spiced it up with bronze medallions, a giant “H” crest above the door, ornate terra cotta and metal grill work, and a gilded lobby.

5 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94103

18. Nihonmachi Little Friends (1932)

1700 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94115

Originally the Japantown YWCA, Morgan designed the building pro bono. Started in 1912 by first generation Japanese women to provide social services to women and girls, the women were prevented from acquiring property by the 1913 Alien Land Laws. The San Francisco YWCA purchased the property for them in trust with additional funds from the Japanese community.

Morgan was commissioned in 1932 to design the present building. It included a dorm, meeting rooms, and an auditorium with an authentic Noh theater stage to perform classical Japanese dramas—the only one in the western United States. In 2002 Nihonmachi Little Friends purchased the property and today it functions as Japanese bilingual childcare.

The building is a San Francisco City Landmark.

1700 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94115

19. Mills College (1903)

Mills College, Oakland, CA

Licensed in 1904, one of Morgan’s first independent commissions was for a bell tower at Mills College, reportedly the first freestanding bell tower on a United States college campus.

Built of exposed reinforced concrete, El Campanil survived the 1906 earthquake without a lick of damage. Morgan’s second commission on campus, the Margaret Carnegie Library of 1905-06, uses Mission-style details. The original reading room on the second floor, with high beamed Arts and Crafts style ceiling, remains intact.

The Ethel Moore Memorial Center, today’s Student Union, was the third commission and also features a swoon-worthy entry level social hall.

Mills College is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Mills College
Oakland, CA

20. Native Daughters of the Golden West Home (1929)

555 Baker St, San Francisco, CA 94117

In 1929 the Native Daughters of the Golden West hired Morgan to design a new home to serve as a meeting place and assembly hall, and provide lodging to the members who wanted to travel to San Francisco from smaller communities for “educational advantages.”

Today the home still offers accommodations to members and guests, but also includes a museum, reference library, and corporate offices.

555 Baker St
San Francisco, CA 94117

21. Emanu-el Sisterhood Residence (1921-22)

300 Page St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Commissioned by a Jewish women's group, this building provided housing for single working women and recreational facilities. While the Palladian archway and symmetrical facade showcase Morgan’s Beaux-Arts training, the iron balcony on the building’s loggia incorporates the Star of David as part of its design.

The building was purchased by San Francisco Zen Center in 1969, but they did not make any major alterations.

300 Page St
San Francisco, CA 94102

22. Potrero Hill Neighborhood House (1922)

953 De Haro St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Morgan was hired to design a neighborhood house for a Russian sect of the Presbyterian Church known as the Molokani. Many had fled Czarist oppression in Russia and settled in Potrero Hill, so the neighborhood house served as place for them to learn English and practical skills, as well as host social and religious celebrations and ceremonies.

Morgan designed the building to look and feel like a house, offering a safe and comforting space. Despite changing neighborhood demographics the building continues to offer community programs, group space, and a venue for weddings.

The building is a registered San Francisco city landmark.

953 De Haro St
San Francisco, CA 94107