The other day, I walked to the Painted Ladies, a well known landmark in San Francisco. Painted Ladies is a generic term meaning any Victorian or Edwardian house painted in three or more colors. However, it is also is well associated with five prime examples in San Francisco near Alamo Square. Across the street from these painted ladies is a park that affords an amazing view of the San Francisco skyline.
Painted ladies are found in many cities across the US. In San Francisco, there were over 48,000 built between 1849 and 1915. There was a real explosion in colors used at that time. As one newspaper critic noted in 1885, “…red, yellow, chocolate, orange, everything that is loud is in fashion…if the upper stories are not of red or blue… they are painted up into uncouth panels of yellow and brown…”
The houses on these painted ladies were built between 1892 and 1896. They were build by a developer on spec for $8,000 apiece next door to one he was living in himself. The most recent one to go up for sale was in 2010 for $4,000,000. The owner bought the house in 1975 for $65,000. When he bought it there was a “parlor full of intractable Haight-Ashbury” hippies, over 30 of them. They refused to budge until the new owner spread rumors that the FBI was coming by for a search, and that cleared them out in short order. For more interesting story and some inside pictures of the house check this article out.
How bout it? Do you have any painted ladies in your life??