Willis Polk (1867-1924)

All Saints Episcopal Church by Willis Polk All Saints' Episcopal Church
1350 Waller Street
15 June 2012
(Click Photo to Zoom)

Willis Polk built mansions for William Bowers Bourn II, Harriet Pullman Carolan and other plutocrats of America'a First Gilded Age. Polk could also work on a more modest scale as shown by his design for the All Saints' Episcopal Church in the Haight-Ashbury District.

Willis Polk, the son of a carpenter architect, was born in Jacksonville, Illinois. He apprenticed to a carpenter when he was fourteen. At fifteen, he won a competition for the design of a six-room schoolhouse in Hope, Arkansas.

In 1885, Willis and his father and his brother founded W. W. Polk & Sons in Kansas City. For several years, Polk traveled extensively and acquired experience working for many architects including Ernest Coxhead and A. Page Brown.

In 1889, Polk joined the office of A. Page Brown and moved with Brown’s firm to San Francisco. After Polk's family moved to San Francisco in 1892, they formed the firm of Polk & Polk with Willis providing the creativity, Daniel doing the drafting, and their father supervising construction.

During the 1890s, Polk produced unusually diverse architectonic forms, space, scale, and imagery. He drew from post-medieval vernacular sources and from classical schemes.

In 1901 Polk and his wife moved to Chicago to work with Daniel H. Burnham who had inspired the American Renaissance known as the City Beautiful Movement. Burnham's firm had already designed two important building in San Francisco, the Chronicle Building in 1889 (San Francisco Landmark 243) and the Mills Building in 1890 (San Francisco Landmark 76).

Polk returned to San Francisco in 1903 and worked with Burnham on a master plan for San Francisco following the precepts of the City Beautiful Movement. The 1906 Earthquake and Fire ended any hope of implementing the plan.

Polk was placed in charge of Burnham's west coast office after the catastrophe. The association lasted until 1910 when Polk converted the office to his name.

Polk and his partners completed more than one hundred major commercial buildings and residences in the Bay Area.


Name Year Address City Sort Address Sort Name
All Saints' Episcopal Church19041350 Waller StreetSan FranciscoWaller 1350All Saints' Episcopal Church
Alvinza Hayward Building1906400 MontgomerySan FranciscoMontgomery 0400Alvinza Hayward Building
Atkinson-Escher House19001032 BroadwaySan FranciscoBroadway 1032Atkinson-Escher House
Barreda House19002139-41 Buchanan San FranciscoBuchanan 2139Barreda House
Batten House1892116 CherrySan FranciscoCherry 0116Batten House
Beach Chalet19251000 Great HighwaySan FranciscoGreatBeach Chalet
Bourn Mansion18972550 WebsterSan FranciscoWebster 2550Bourn Mansion
Building at 50 Fell Street193250 Fell StreetSan FranciscoFell 0050Building at 50 Fell Street
California Volunteers' Memorial 1903Dolores at MarketSan FranciscoDolores 0001California Volunteers' Memorial
Carolands1915565 Remillard DriveBurlingameRemillardCarolands
Coryell Carriage House 191248 Lloyden DriveAthertonLloyden 0048Coryell Carriage House
Cottage1905726 44th AvenueSan Francisco Avenue 44 0726Cottage
Dickinson House189026 Alexander AvenueSausalitoAlexanderDickinson House
Doyle House19102151 Sacramento StreetSan FranciscoSacramento 2151Doyle House
Ehrman House19002880 BroadwaySan FranciscoBroadway 2880Ehrman House
Filoli191786 Cañada RoadWoodsideCañadaFiloli
First Church of Christ Scientist 1905East St. James at St. James ParkSan JoseSt. JamesFirst Church of Christ Scientist
First National Bank19081 Montgomery StreetSan FranciscoMontgomery 0001First National Bank
Flood Mansion19061000 California StreetSan FranciscoCalifornia 1000Flood Mansion
Four Townhouses1917831-849 MasonSan FranciscoMason 0831Four Townhouses
Fuller Company Glass Warehouse190750 Green StreetSan FranciscoGreen 0050Fuller Company Glass Warehouse
Gibbs House18942622 JacksonSan FranciscoJackson 2622Gibbs House
Griffith House19122820 PacificSan FranciscoPacific 2820Griffith House
Guggenhime House19293450 WashingtonSan FranciscoWashington 3450Guggenhime House
Hallidie Building1917130 Sutter StreetSan FranciscoSutter 0130Hallidie Building
Hobart Building1914582 MarketSan FranciscoMarket 0582Hobart Building
Hooker House19133277 PacificSan FranciscoPacific 3277Hooker House
Insurance Exchange Building1913433 CaliforniaSan FranciscoCalifornia 0433Insurance Exchange Building
Jessie Street Substation1909220 Jessie StreetSan FranciscoJessie 0220Jessie Street Substation
Joliffe House18942015 PacificSan FranciscoPacific 2015Joliffe House
Keith House19003204 Washington StreetSan FranciscoWashington 3204Keith House
Livermore House189140 FlorenceSan FranciscoFlorence 0040Livermore House
McCullagh-Jones House190118000 Overlook RoadLos GatosOverlook 18000McCullagh-Jones House
Mechanics Monument Base1894Market at Battery and BushSan FranciscoMarket 0400Mechanics Monument Base
Merced Manor Reservoir1912Sloat Between 22nd and 23rdSan FranciscoSloatMerced Manor Reservoir
Merchants' Exchange Building1903465 California StreetSan FranciscoCalifornia 0465Merchants' Exchange Building
Mills Building1906220 Montgomery StreetSan FranciscoMontgomery 0220Mills Building
Mission Dolores1918Dolores at 16th StreetSan FranciscoDolores 0100Mission Dolores
Moffitt House191286 Sea ViewPiedmontSea View 0086Moffitt House
Moore House1895416 Golden Gate AvenueBelvedereGolden Gate 0416Moore House
Napthaly House19132960 BroadwaySan FranciscoBroadway 2960Napthaly House
Native Sons Monument1896Market at MontgomerySan FranciscoMarket 0500Native Sons Monument
One Lombard Street19001 LombardSan FranciscoLombard 0001One Lombard Street
Organ House1900433 Golden Gate AvenueBelvedereGolden Gate 0433Organ House
Osborne (Fanny) House19002319-23 Hyde San FranciscoHyde 2319Osborne (Fanny) House
Osborne (Lloyd) House19001100 Lombard StreetSan FranciscoLombard 1100Osborne (Lloyd) House
Path of Gold Light Standard1908MarketSan FranciscoMarket Path of Gold Light Standard
Petit Trianon1892De Anza College CampusCupertinoDe AnzaPetit Trianon
Residence19172840 BroadwaySan FranciscoBroadway 2840Residence
Residence19162233 LyonSan FranciscoLyon 2233Residence
Residence19202255 LyonSan FranciscoLyon 2255Residence
Residence19103255 PacificSan FranciscoPacific 3255Residence
Residences19141-7 Russian Hill PlaceSan FranciscoRussian Hill 0001Residences
Rey House1893428 Golden Gate AvenueBelvedereGolden Gate 0428Rey House
Robert Louis Stevenson Monument1897Portsmouth PlazaSan FranciscoPortsmouth PlazaRobert Louis Stevenson Monument
Russian Hill Crest Double Access Ramp1914Vallejo and JonesSan FranciscoVallejo 1100Russian Hill Crest Double Access Ramp
San Francisco Water Department1922425 Mason StreetSan FranciscoMason 0425San Francisco Water Department
Seacliff House #119149 Scenic WaySan FranciscoScenic 0009Seacliff House #1
Seacliff House #2191425 Scenic WaySan FranciscoScenic 0025Seacliff House #2
Seacliff House #3191445 Scenic WaySan FranciscoScenic 0045Seacliff House #3
Sheppard House18903203 PacificSan FranciscoPacific 3203Sheppard House
St. Francis Yacht Club192599 Yacht RoadSan FranciscoYacht 0099St. Francis Yacht Club
St. Matthew's Episcopal Church 1908El Camino Real and Baldwin AvenueSan MateoEl CaminoSt. Matthew's Episcopal Church
Sunol Water Temple1910Niles Canyon Road and Paloma Way SunolNilesSunol Water Temple
Tobin House19151969 CaliforniaSan FranciscoCalifornia 1969Tobin House
Uplands1913400 Uplands DriveHillsborough Uplands 0400Uplands
Villa Veneta189316 San Carlos AvenueSausalitoSan Carlos 0016Villa Veneta
White Memorial Retreat 19132 El Capitan AvenueMill ValleyEl Capitan 0002White Memorial Retreat
Williams-Polk House18921013-1019 VallejoSan FranciscoVallejo 1013Williams-Polk House
Wilson Building1900973-977 MarketSan FranciscoMarket 0973Wilson Building
Wright House1907950 LombardSan FranciscoLombard 0950Wright House
Building at 735 Market Street 1908735 Market Street San FranciscoMarket 0735Building at 735 Market Street

Architectural Styles | Architects