William F. Curlett (1874-1916)
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)
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 House||1897||301 Lyon Street||San Francisco||Lyon 0301||Clunie House|
|Federal Hotel||1912||1083-1087 Market Street||San Francisco||Market 1083||Federal Hotel|
|Frederick Post Company||1906||133-137 Second Street||San Francisco||!Street 02 133||Frederick Post Company|
|Haas Candy Factory||1907||54 Mint Street||San Francisco||Mint 0054||Haas Candy Factory|
|Head Building||1909||201-209 Post Street||San Francisco||Post 0201||Head Building|
|MacDonough Building||1907||333-343 Kearny Street||San Francisco||Kearny 0333||MacDonough Building|
|Mutual Savings Bank||1902||704 Market Street||San Francisco||Market 0704||Mutual Savings Bank|
|Packard Library||1905||301 4th Street||Marysville||Street 04 0301||Packard Library|
|Payne Residence||1881||1409 Sutter Street||San Francisco||Sutter 1409||Payne Residence|
|Phelan Building||1908||760-784 Market Street||San Francisco||Market 0760||Phelan Building|
|Shreve Building||1905||210 Post Street and 201 Grant Avenue||San Francisco||Post 0210||Shreve Building|
|Villa Montalvo||1892||15400 Montalvo Road||Saratoga||Montalvo 15400||Villa Montalvo|
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.
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.