National Register of Historic Places in San Francisco

San Francisco Landmark #123: John McMullen House 2 February 2004
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National Register #83001231
John McMullen House
827 Guerrero Street Between 20th and Liberty Streets
Built 1881

The John McMullen House is a superb example of Queen Anne styling, one of the residential styles whose prevalence in the city creates San Francisco's unique visual environment. It is an important work by one of the most influential of California's 19th century designers, Samuel Newsom.

The house as it now exists is the result of extensive 1890 alterations to the existing Stick Style house. Originally built in 1881 on a 25' x 100' lot, the builder and architect are unknown. The visual quality of the exterior of the original building can be sensed particularly clearly along the north side, where such details as an original wooden awning are intact. The jerkinhead gable form and the under eave texture of the wall surface are legacies of the Stick Style.

Samuel Newsom altered the house in 1890 by widening it, adding a tower, extending it to the rear and creating a basement. The 1890 additions deferred in the manner of roof form, but the round tower, the horseshoe arch and elaborate ornament of the entry, and the textured shingle surfaces are up-to-the-minute Queen Anne fashion of the 1890's. No traces remain of the 1881 interior, with the possible exception of the second floor door facings.

In 1892 the kitchen was extended and widened. In the late 1890's a rear extension was added to the house. In 1904 a butler's pantry was built. Other later alterations include a sprinkler system, and alterations to the bathrooms and kitchen/serving area.

Adapted from the NRHP Nomination Form.

The John McMullen House is also San Francisco Landmark 123.

John McMullen, a native of Connecticut, arrived in San Francisco in 1876 and became a carpenter/builder by trade.

In 1877, McMullen established the San Francisco Bridge Company, the first of a number of contracting and dredging companies which he hounded. Others include the Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Company of New York, which is still in existence; the Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Company; and the Atlantic and Pacific Gulf Company of Manila.

These firms were responsible for such jobs as:

  • coal bunkers at the Green Street Wharf
  • dredging Oakland Harbor
  • construction of the tidal canal between Oakland and San Leandro Bay
  • dredging at Mare Island Navy Yard
  • various bridges in the Northwest and Canada, including forty-seven bridges for the Canadian Pacific Railway
  • Section 6 of the San Francisco Seawall
  • filling in of the Islais Bay
  • Hunter's Point Drydock
  • piers at Fort Mason
  • harbor improvements and construction in Manila Bay in the Philippines
  • hydraulic dredging of Boston Harbor

Adapted from the NRHP Nomination Form.

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