San Francisco Landmarks
The following is excerpted from the San Francisco Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board Final Case Report dated 16 March 1977:
When the Italianate Ortman-Shumate House was designated as a San Francisco landmark in 1977, it was still occupied by the family that built it in 1870.
On February 25, 1870, John Frederic Ortman purchased this large lot. The extensive gardens are unusual in a city that has few private gardens of any size. [Webmaster note: This observation seems inaccurate to me. Every residence on my block has a small private garden. In San Francisco, rear yards are common in residential neighborhoods.]
Ortman, who was born in Germany in 1829, came to California in 1851. He obtained a position as a grocery store clerk and later owned his own grocery business. A few years after moving to Scott Street in 1870, he retired from the retail business. The Directory of 1876 listed him as a "Capitalist".
Prior to 1890, Ortman owned the entire block frontage from California to Pine, and he built residences for his two daughters when they married in the 1890's. He further enlarged his holdings some time between 1894 and 1906 by acquiring an adjoining lot to the west on California Street. This lot was taken by Emerson School when they demolished the wooden school on Pine Street and built the present concrete building in the 1920's.
The loss of this lot resulted in the loss of the Shumate cow, one of the last, if not the very last, cows owned by a private family in the Western Addition.
In 1959, a further expansion of the Emerson School resulted in the demolition of two houses leaving only the original house on the original lot.
Dr. Albert Shumate, one of the Shumates three children, resided here in 1977 when the property became a San Francisco landmark. Dr. Shumate served as President of the California Historical Society and as the first President of the San Francisco Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board.