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Home, James: 1920

Home, James: 1920

San Francisco circa 1920. "Studebaker Big Six town car." In what must be one of the city's tonier districts. 5x7 glass negative by Christopher Helin. View full size.


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Just roof things

To answer Kolo's question, yes, they're fire escapes. Many of these single family homes were subdivided and sub-subdivided as rentals, which required them to come up to (then) fire-codes, and many ugly but utilitarian escape stairs mar the face of the victorians around here.

As to the roof ridge ladders, it looks like there's a flat spot in the roof with some utility "stuff" mounted on it. It could be HVAC, it could be a solar hot water heater, or communications stuff, so it'd be good to have a safe way to access that space. It could also be an additional escape route.

Housing prices.

Most of us probably could not afford most of the homes in San Francisco. The median price for a home there is about $1.6 million and expected to rise by 7 percent over the next year. The median income is about $120,000.

Thanks to tterrace for the view of the house. The ladders/stairs on the front of the home are interesting. Are they fire escapes? If so, why the ladder leading to or from the roof? Or does the ladder provide access to the roof for some kind of regular maintenance?

One block west of Auto Row

All three houses are still there! There are two houses at the left, one behind the back fence. That one is still standing too, but its porch has been enclosed. This same garden was in another photograph by Christopher Helin. This location is one block west of the fancier part of Auto Row, and a block and a half from the southeast corner of Lafayette Square, the park where Helin photographed many cars.

Today's housing prices

Wonder what that same house is worth today, Probably couldn't afford it.

[The answer: $7 million. -Dave]

The tonier district

Thanks to clever sleuthing, in which I played a small but (ahem) crucial part, we find that this is on the 1700 block of Franklin Street. Both houses are still there.

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