Nestled along Northern California’s stunning shores, San Francisco is an enthralling city with a unique history, culture, and architectural charm. The city stands out for many reasons, but architecture-wise, nothing is more iconic than its Victorian homes. In addition to defining the landscape, these elegant mansions fetch the highest prices in the local housing market. If you are considering moving here or are simply curious, here is a brief history of the Victorian Houses In San Francisco.

What Is a Victorian Home?

Victorian homes are widely popular and widespread in San Francisco. In fact, many properties and Homes for Sale in San Francisco currently are Victorians with stunning features and far-reaching history. But contrary to popular belief, ‘Victorian’ does not refer to a particular architectural style. The name refers to an era, specifically homes built during Queen Victoria’s reign from 1837 to 1901.

That said, Victorian homes were often built to mimic a certain aesthetic popular at the time. This means they share similar features, with key attributes including large sizes of two to three stories, one-story wrap-around porches, asymmetry, steep roofs, bright colors, and decorative trim.

The Rise of Victorian Architecture

When the Victorian ‘style’ made its way to the US, San Francisco was among the first cities in the country to embrace it. This was around the 1850s when the first developments were built in South Park. The developers endeavored to make the homes resemble the row houses of London, which was widely popular with summer houses but quickly spread to cottages and family homes. 

And while many other cities embraced the Victorian spirit, few did it better than San Francisco. The city benefited from a healthy deposit of redwood timber, which was easy to manipulate and produce the asymmetrical shapes characteristic of these homes.

So, over the rest of the century and into 1915, developers erected over 50,000 Victorian homes in San Francisco. History experts estimate that only 13,000 to 15,000 of these original buildings exist today and that many of them are private homes.

Said homes are closely guarded and protected by the city, which has continually passed historical preservation rules to maintain the city’s architectural fabric. Everything from kitchen fixtures to exterior paint is covered in these rules, so homeowners cannot change the city profile at will.   

Famous Victorian Houses in San Francisco

For those properties that are not private residences, San Francisco has found a way to make use of them – as popular attractions. Living In San Francisco often means you can run onto a movie set or tour some of the most iconic buildings of the last several centuries. Popular Victorian homes in the city include The Painted Ladies on Alamo Square Park (you may know them from the many photographs of San Francisco), the Westerfield House, the Haas-Lilienthal House (which was designated a National Treasure in 2012), and the Gothic Revival style Abner Phelps House.

Explore Victorian Homes for Sale in San Francisco with Bonnie Spindler

You cannot describe San Francisco Real Estate without mentioning its iconic Victorian home. And if you wish to move here, there is no better way to get the full experience than to live in one of these history-filled properties. Contact San Francisco real estate agent Bonnie Spindler today to explore this and other housing options in this architectural haven.