San Francisco Landmarks

San Francisco Landmark #208: McCormick House
12 January 2004
San Francisco Landmark #208
McCormick House
4040-4042 17th Street Between Castro and Collingwood
Built 1902

The following is excerpted from the San Francisco Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board Final Draft Report by Tim Kelley dated September 1999:

The McCormick House, designed by Kidd and Anderson, is an essentially unaltered example of high Queen Anne style flats which survived the 1906 earthquake and fire.

The most distinctive feature in a well composed design is the unusual onion dome which tops the eastern tower. Occupying a prominent position on the rise of 17th Street just above the intersection of Castro and Market, it is an important contributor to a streetscape famous worldwide.

Quality of composition and design is this building's salient virtue. The basic narrow gable front form, which so often results in a flat, angular expression, here becomes positively voluptuous. The matching round bay and tower, assisted by a subtly curved stair structure at the entrance - and crowned by the astonishing onion dome with its sinuous finial - establish a depth and movement unique among San Francisco Victorian façades.

Exterior and interior appear almost entirely original. Both flats retain fine woodwork, paneling, mantles and other details such as brass speaking tubes from the entrance to the flats, curved glass windows, and "patent stone entrances" and steps.

This block of 17th Street was severely impacted by the building of the Twin Peaks tunnel in 1917 and the extension of Market Street in the early 1920s. Several properties adjacent on the east were condemned, resulting in the loss of at least seven Victorian buildings. Because of this, the streetscape at the northwest corner of Castro and Market is now characterized by undistinguished modern buildings.

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