James Francis Dunn (1874-1921)
Little is known about James Francis Dunn.
In August 2019, Wikipedia had a one-line entry: "James Francis Dunn (1874-1921) was an American architect who designed many buildings in San Francisco, California."
An article by Dave Weinstein in the San Francisco Chronicle provided an appreciation of several of Dunn's buildings along with some autobiographical information. According to Mr. Weinstein, Dunn was born and raised by a widowed mother in an Irish, working-class neighborhood South of Market. He taught himself architecture. He mastered Parisian architecture by studying the latest journals. In later years, he traveled throughout the United States, and probably visited France.
San Francisco Planning Department Landmark Designation Case Report 2016-010894DES, dated 15 March 2017, enumerated architectural features which characterize Dunn's style:
"Dunn is best is known as a designer of multi-unit residential buildings in the Beaux-Arts style. His designs often featured curved balconies and bay windows, delicate ironwork, and exuberant ornamentation, including animal and human faces. Decorative details like cartouches and shields are common. Dunn used eagles or phoenixes to support balconies and cornices. Many of his buildings have a broad, heavily ornamented cornice and a rusticated first story topped with a belt course, defining the ground level from the upper, full-living levels.
Dunn's most famous building is the Chambord Apartment Building on Nob Hill.
You can view Dunn's buildings in chronological order here, or use a link in the following table to visit a specific property.
|Name||Year||Address||City||Sort Address||Sort Name|
|Residence on Baker Street||1904||405 Baker Street||San Francisco||Baker0405||Residence on Baker Street|
|Residence on Central Avenue||1905||91 Central Avenue||San Francisco||Central0091||Residence on Central Avenue|
|Gaughran House||1900||2731-2735 Folsom Street||San Francisco||Folsom2731||Gaughran House|
|Apartment Building on Franklin Street||1900||2415-17 Franklin Street||San Francisco||Franklin2415||Apartment Building on Franklin Street|
|Alhambra Apartments||1913||860 Geary Street||San Francisco||Geary0860||Alhambra Apartments|
|Residence on Haight Street||1906||1677-81 Haight Street||San Francisco||Haight1677||Residence on Haight Street|
|Apartment Building on Hyde Street||1920||625 Hyde Street||San Francisco||Hyde0625||Apartment Building on Hyde Street|
|Apartment Building on Leavenworth Street||1910||1201-19 Leavenworth Street||San Francisco||Leavenworth1201||Apartment Building on Leavenworth Street|
|Marchbank Apartments||1917||630 Leavenworth Street||San Francisco||Leavenworth0630||Marchbank Apartments|
|Bliss Flats||1901||1347 McAllister Street||San Francisco||McAllister 1347||Bliss Flats|
|Apartment Building on Pine Street||1912||961 Pine Street||San Francisco||Pine 0961||Apartment Building on Pine Street|
|Apartment Building on Pine Street||1909||1201 Pine Street||San Francisco||Pine 1201||Apartment Building on Pine Street|
|Residence on Pine Street||1909||1250 Pine Street||San Francisco||Pine 1250||Residence on Pine Street|
|Ross-Early Apartments,||1913||798 Post Street||San Francisco||Post 0798||Ross-Early Apartments,|
|Chambord Apartments||1921||1298 Sacramento Street||San Francisco||Sacramento 1298||Chambord Apartments|
|Residence on Vallejo Street||1901||2250 Vallejo Street||San Francisco||Vallejo 2250||Residence on Vallejo Street|
|Apartment Building on Webster Street||1911||2411 Webster Street||San Francisco||Webster 2411||Apartment Building on Webster Street|
401 Baker Street, architect unknown, is a classic Queen Anne Victorian built around 1891. The house is listed in Here Today: San Francisco's Architectural Heritage and described as "unusually large and heavily ornamented in the spirit of the times [with] two Queen Anne corner towers, each expressing individuality in shape, size and culmination.
405 Baker Street, built in 1904, was designed by Dunn in an eclectic Mission Revival style.
The Haight-Ashbury District is characterized by the juxtaposition of grand residences in many architectural styles popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
"Opulence worthy of fine stone is seen in this Baroque Revival house built entirely of wood and plaster. Especially notable is the molded frieze - deep enough to incorporate the top floor windows."
From Here Today: San Francisco's Architectural Heritage, Chronicle Books, 1968