San Francisco Landmarks

San Francisco Landmark 55: Lilienthal-Pratt House
5 February 2009
San Francisco Landmark 55: Lilienthal-Pratt House
31 May 2003
Viewed from Bransten House
on Franklin Street
(Click Photos to Zoom)
San Francisco Landmark #55
Lilienthal-Pratt House
1820 California Street
Built 1876

The Lilienthal-Pratt House is one of the best demonstrations of Victorian architecture in San Francisco. The impressive façade reflects basic Italianate lines and complementary elements of the stick style.

The house was built by Louis Sloss Senior in 1876 as a wedding gift for his daughter Estelle and her husband Ernest L. Lilienthal. The Slosses lived in the vicinity and were associates of the Wormsers who built and lived in the house immediately to the west.

Sloss, who dealt in mining stocks, also foresaw the potential of the Alaska seal trade. After the United States bought the land from Russia In 1867, Sloss formed the Alaska Commercial Company, with a concession from the federal government to obtain seal skins on two of the Aleutian Islands. This concession netted him a large fortune.

In 1907, the Lilienthals sold the house to Orville C. Pratt Junior, the son of Judge Pratt, who lived on Rincon Hill and owned land for cattle raising in Butte and Colusa Counties. In addition to being a prominent family in San Francisco, the Pratt Juniors were well known in the Sacramento Valley, where they owned a large ranch near Chico.

After Orville Pratt's death in 1944, Emily Pratt remained in the house until her death in 1953.

In 1955, the Bransten family bought the house, thus preserving the park-like-quality of the four Victorian mansions and their adjoining gardens.

Source: Adapted from City Planning Commission Resolution 6956 dated January 18, 1973.

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