San Francisco Landmarks
Willis Polk designed this house for George W. Gibbs, one of the leading producers of iron and steel on the west coast.
Polk drew largely from Italian Renaissance sources, then at the height of fashion in New York. The massing recalls that of a Tuscan villa, with details adapted from Raphael's Palazzo Pandolfini and a portico inspired by the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli.
The San Francisco Examiner pronounced the Gibbs House to be "the first classical residence in San Francisco." The house was among the city's earliest houses constructed entirely of stone and that almost no dwelling of comparable size matched the restraint of its exterior. In a metropolis of wood, the Gibbs house became an instant symbol of grandeur and permanency.
Adapted from On the Edge of the World: Four Architects in San Francisco at the Turn of the Century by Richard W. Longstreth