National Register of Historic Places in San Francisco
The flat front Italianate residence at 1254-56 Montgomery was constructed around 1865 on the site believed to be the former location of Hudson's Windmill. The Windmill, shown in a lithograph dated 1851, probably fell victim to the fire on July 4, 1861, which destroyed many of the structures on Telegraph Hill.
The site is a secondary summit of Telegraph Hill.
The building was only one story in 1865, but an analysis of the interior layout reveals a two story design was contemplated from the beginning. The only real structural change occurred in 1939 when the city lowered the street in front of the building by twelve feet.
The building was originally a rooming house with twenty-five rooms, all with a door to a hall, and most with additional doors to any adjoining room in case a family wished to rent more than one room. At some uncertain time, the building was converted to six railroad flats. Some walls were removed to enlarge the living spaces. Baths and kitchens were squeezed in at the rear of each flat.
The building is both architecturally and historically significant.
Architecturally it is an interesting variation of the formal Italianate style of the l860's designed to accommodate the needs of a rooming house.
Historically, the building is important as one of a handful of buildings on Telegraph Hill which survived the 1906 fire. A rather humorous account of how the local residents helped save these buildings is related in San Francisco's Telegraph Hill. A tenant of the building, one Giovanni Doneri with his oldest son and neighbors cooled the walls of the building with burlap sacks soaked in wine from casks in the basement.
Adapted from the NRHP Nomination Form