Presidio Terrace

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Homes in Presidio Terrace

Presidio Terrace is a small, very wealthy neighborhood in San Francisco which was the first of the master-planned communities built in the western part of the city. It consists of 36 large lots laid out around a single street, consisting of a two way access road leading to a one-way elliptical cul-de-sac. The road is also called Presidio Terrace. Access is off Arguello Boulevard.


Construction started in 1905, just south of and adjacent to the Presidio, a former army base which is now a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Amenities unusual for residential developments of that time included electric street lights, underground utilities and roads designed for auto traffic.[1]

The neighborhood was developed by the firm of Baldwin & Howell, a leading San Francisco real estate development company.[2] The neighborhood thrived following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake as prosperous families rebuilt outside the destroyed neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city.


Presidio Terrace homes with Temple Emanu-El behind

Temple Emanu-El was built on an adjacent parcel on the northwest corner of Arguello Boulevard and Lake Street in 1925, and the Little Sisters of the Poor is also close by.[3]

Racial covenant[edit]

Presidio Terrace originally was marketed to white residents only: "There is only one spot in San Francisco where only Caucasians are permitted to buy or lease real estate or where they may reside. That place is Presidio Terrace," according to a brochure distributed by the developer.[4] These restrictions were later invalidated by a 1948 Supreme Court case, Shelley v. Kraemer which banned enforcement of racial covenants in housing. This led eventually to the integration of the city's neighborhoods.


Architectural styles in the neighborhood include Beaux-Arts, Mission Revival, and Tudor Revival. Julia Morgan designed an Italian Renaissance villa in Presidio Terrace in 1909.[5]

Notable residents[edit]

Many notable San Franciscans have lived in Presidio Terrace over the years, including San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, United States Senator Dianne Feinstein and her husband, financier Richard C. Blum,[6] and novelist and newspaper columnist Merla Zellerbach.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Johung, Jennifer (2016). Landscapes of Mobility: Culture, Politics, and Placemaking. Routledge. ISBN 9781317108061. 
  2. ^ "Guide to the Baldwin & Howell Records". Online Archive of California. California Digital Archive. The real estate firm of Archibald S. Baldwin (1858-1924) and Josiah R. Howell (1868-1916) was one of the most important residential development companies in San Francisco and the Bay Area between 1890 and 1940. Baldwin & Howell was instrumental in the development of such San Francisco neighborhoods as Westwood Park, Forest Hills, Presidio Terrace, Balboa Park, the Richmond / Sunset, Forest Hill, West Portal, and St. Francis Wood. 
  3. ^ "Outside Lands Podcast - Western Neighborhoods Project - San Francisco History". Retrieved 2016-02-02. 
  4. ^ Clemence, Sara (August 1, 2005). "Presidio Palace". Forbes. Retrieved September 18, 2016. 
  5. ^ Wilson, Mark Anthony (2012). Julia Morgan: Architect of Beauty. Gibbs Smith. ISBN 9781423636540. 
  6. ^ Sandalow, Mark (2008). Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi's Life, Times, and Rise to Power. Rodale Press. p. 45. ISBN 9781605299693. 

Coordinates: 37°47′18″N 122°27′38″W / 37.78833°N 122.46056°W / 37.78833; -122.46056