National Register of Historic Places in San Francisco

National Register #89000197: Westerfeld House
16 October 2002
(Click Photo to Zoom)
National Register #89000197
Westerfeld House
1198 Fulton Street At Scott
Built 1889

"One of the most picturesque examples of the Stick Italianate Villa is 1198 Fulton Street, the most imposing building in the area. . . .

This enormous wood palazzo is the closest San Francisco equivalent to the Carson house in Eureka; both are exceptionally picturesque versions of the towered villa form, here seen in uncompromising Stick expression with the characteristic squared-bay window of the 1880s.

Source: Olmsted and Watkins, Here Today: The Historic Sites Project of the Junior League of San Francisco

"Up at Fulton and Scott is a great shambling old Gothic house, a freaking decayed giant, known as The Russian Embassy" Tom Wolfe wrote in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968).

By The Summer of Love (1967) and The Autumn of Love (1968), like many of San Francisco's grand but derelict old mansions, its roof leaked, and it was home to a commune, and it was this commune called Calliope that Wolfe visited.

San Francisco tour guides, eager to exploit The City's scandalous past, have decided that Charles Manson once lived here. He did live in San Francisco but not here.

Bobbie Beausoleil did live here just before he joined The Manson Family. He and his buddy Kenneth Anger, also in residence, would spend nights in the tower on the look-out for flying saucers. According to Anger he had "a couple of very good flying saucer sightings."

Anger shot his movie The Invocation of My Demon Brother here. Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, used to practice witchcraft in the tower, employing a lion cub and 500 candles.

San Franciscans of a certain age call this building the Russian Embassy, but it never housed an embassy, not even a consulate. During the 1930s, the Russian Club of San Francisco, a social center for Russian emigres, was located here.

The Westerfeld House is also San Francisco Landmark 135.

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