William F. Curlett (1874-1916)

Charles Crocker Mansion on Nob Hill - Destroyed in 1906 Earthquake & Fire Charles Crocker Mansion on Nob Hill
Designed by Curlett & Cuthbertson
Prior to 1906 Earthquake and Fire
Courtesy Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley
(Click Photo to Zoom)
Crocker Mansions on Nob Hill Commemorative Plaque Plaque on the Wall of Grace Cathedral
Near California Street Entrance

The Crocker Mansions

At this location "1150" California Street, now the site of the choir, stood William H. Crocker's Queen Anne style mansion (1888). The Deuxieme Empire - Italian villa style mansion (1877) of his father, Charles Crocker, was at the N. W. corner of California and Taylor Streets. Both buildings were destroyed by the Earthquake and Fire of 1906. Subsequently, the Crocker family, in consultation with the Rt. Rev. Willaim Ford Nichols, second bishop of California, donated this entire block as the site for Grace Cathedral. The cornerstone was laid on January 24, 1910.

In commemoration of their generosity of spirit and in the presence of their descendants, Charles Crocker III and Charles de Limur, we dedicate this this memorial.

Photographed 10 July 2012
(Click Photo to Zoom)

William F. Curlett was born in Ireland in 1846 and came to San Francisco in 1871.

He was among the most prolific architects on the Pacific Coast in the final decades of the 19th and first decade of the 20th Century with a practice that typified the successful architectural profession of that period. Contacts with the gentry and well-heeled were of paramount importance. Curlett had his wealthy friends both in San Francisco and Los Angeles. He built many buildings, both public and private, in each city and throughout California.

He possessed another trait critical to the success and survival of architects in his time, the ability to adapt the current stylistic vogue to one's own design. During some forty years of practice, he designed buildings of many different styles.

His residences ranged from flamboyant Victorian (the Crocker Mansion and the Payne Residence in San Francisco) to sober Roman Renaissance (Villa Montalvo in Saratoga and the Payne country home in Menlo Park).

His commercial and public projects ranged in style from Richardson Romanesque (Los Angeles County Courthouse and the California State Bank in Sacramento) to an eclectic combination of Classic, Roman, and Flemish forms (Mutual Savings Bank in San Francisco.)

Adapted from NRHP Nomination Form #80000847: Theodore F. Payne Residence

William Curlett and Walter Cuthbertson designed the Charles Crocker and William H. Crocker houses on the present site of Grace Cathedral.

Willis Polk regarded the Charles Crocker house as the ugliest building in the city and offered to burn it down as a civic gesture.

Curlett spent the later years of his life in Los Angeles and was elected President of the State Board of Architects.

Adapted from the Phelan Building website


Name Year Address City Sort Address Sort Name
Clunie House1897301 Lyon StreetSan FranciscoLyon 0301Clunie House
Federal Hotel19121083-1087 Market StreetSan FranciscoMarket 1083Federal Hotel
Frederick Post Company1906133-137 Second StreetSan Francisco!Street 02 133Frederick Post Company
Haas Candy Factory190754 Mint StreetSan FranciscoMint 0054Haas Candy Factory
Head Building1909201-209 Post StreetSan FranciscoPost 0201Head Building
MacDonough Building1907333-343 Kearny StreetSan FranciscoKearny 0333MacDonough Building
Mutual Savings Bank1902704 Market StreetSan FranciscoMarket 0704Mutual Savings Bank
Packard Library1905301 4th Street Marysville Street 04 0301Packard Library
Payne Residence18811409 Sutter StreetSan FranciscoSutter 1409Payne Residence
Phelan Building1908760-784 Market StreetSan FranciscoMarket 0760Phelan Building
Shreve Building1905210 Post Street and 201 Grant AvenueSan FranciscoPost 0210Shreve Building
Villa Montalvo189215400 Montalvo RoadSaratogaMontalvo 15400Villa Montalvo
Head Building Designed by William F. Curlett
The building in the foreground is the Shreve Building,
also designed by Curlett.

Head Building Designed by William F. Curlett
When we photographed the Head Building, Cartier occupied the retail space. The Shreve Building, across Post Street, is reflected in the windows.

Head Building Designed by William F. Curlett

Head Building
201-209 Post Street
Built 1909
Photographed 28 November 2019

The Head Building and the Shreve Building, on the corner of Grant Avenue and Post Street, are he tallest buildings on Grant Avenue. Both buildings were designed by Curlett.

The Head Building is a three-part vertical block sheathed in glazed terra cotta with Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation. The glass base was remodeled in 1959 by William B. Meyer for Brooks Brothers.

Shreve Building
210 Post Street and 201 Grant Avenue
Built 1905
Rebuilt 1906
Photographed 28 November 2019

The Shreve Building was completed in 1905 and rebuilt after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.

The building is supported by a steel frame with brick curtain walls sheathed in Colusa sandstone with Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation.

Shreve & Co., founded in 1852, is probably the oldest commercial establishment in San Francisco. By the 1880s, it was considered one of the the finest silversmiths in the United States, selling high quality timepieces and jewelry made from gold, silver and precious stones.

Shreve & Co. operated from this building from 1905 until 2015, when the company lost its lease to Harry Winston and moved to the Jewelers Building at 150 Post Street.

Architectural Styles | Architects