San Francisco Landmarks

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San Francisco Landmark 270
Cowell House
171 San Marcos Avenue
Built 1933
Forest Hill

The Cowell House is possibly the first modern single-family house built in San Francisco. It was designed by the architectural firm Morrow & Morrow for Olive Thompson Cowell. The design incorporates elements of both the Second Bay Tradition and Streamline Moderne. Because of the steeply sloped site, the four-story house is largely hidden from the street. The most striking design elements are on the back of the house: prominent window, balconies and a roof deck.

The architect Irving Morrow is best known for designing the architectural components of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Olive Thompson Cowell was the stepmother of composer Henry Cowell. She hosted salons and performances in the living room, which had been designed with acoustics in mind.

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