The first published account of the Spreckels Mansion appeared in the San Francisco Call for Sunday, May 2k, 1913- A brief description of the residence " (estimated cost: $1,000,000) and the name of the architect, George Applegarth, accompany a drawing of the building with an elaborately formal Baroque garden cascading down the hillside site behind the house. Period postcard and watercolor of City of Paris by Marius Hubert-Robert. In 1896, William H. Crocker commissioned the Sky Farm mansion to be built as a wedding gift for his sister-in-law and her husband. As a result of the preservation fight, Neiman Marcus agreed to save the old department store’s glass dome and incorporate the City of Paris’ signature rotunda into their building. In time, the fame of the Ashes as hosts of distinction became worldwide, and their home on Van Ness became a Mecca for many visiting celebrities. The Ashe/Hobart mansion survived the earthquake. Porter traced his origins to a “first family” of the Old South — a family that contributed governors, lawmakers and warriors to colonial history. Charles Templeton Crocker spared no expense when he built a mansion for his new bride, C&H sugar heiress Helene Irwin. #984 Los Angeles, CA 90046, prepare to be startled - The Queen of Bohemia is here. The story of how Porter won the hand of E.B. She would present the home to Aimée and Porter as a wedding gift. Eight days later renegade newlyweds Aimée and Porter boarded a train for Los Angeles from San Francisco on the same Southern Pacific Rail Line headed for a sunny honeymoon. Rumored to have married Miss Crocker for the family riches, Amy soon grew weary of her groom, who spent plenty of time and money at the racetrack. On December 12, 1948, Crocker died in his suite at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco after a long illness. George Crocker gave to the architectural firm of Bright & Bacon the task of replacing the Henry Knickerbocker house with an up-to-date mansion . Margaret was the widow of Edwin Bryant Crocker, a California Supreme Court Justice, who with his brother, Charles, amassed a fortune in the railroad industry. In 1876, he joined the handful of San Francisco's super-rich in building a mansion on Nob Hill. Hobart family. In the north, recessed within a square bay window, was a mantel of California onyx, surmounted by a mirror in a frame of bronze relief. Access exclusive content, dig in to wild tales from Aimee Crocker and company, and support independent journalism. In 1906, an earthquake and related fire swept through San Francisco, gutting the Crocker mansion and neighboring buildings. The fence was torn down in 1905. Two-year-old Alma was the daughter of Amy Crocker and playboy Robert Porter Ashe, who had previously scandalized the family in 1882 by eloping. The following year, the Great San Francisco's earthquake levelled Crocker’s ostentatious mansion. Evacuees drag trunks from the fire on Van Ness Avenue. 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Digital Collection: Selections from the Huntington Library Rights Information Please contact the contributing institution for more information regarding the copyright status of this object. Nicholas Yung, who was in the undertaking business and who was comfortably fixed, although not wealthy, preferred to stay in his Nob hill home. There were seven cars on the train, a day coach filled with Chinese coolies, two sleeper cars, an express car, a baggage car, and the mail car. Many of the passengers were roasted alive before the eyes of those who were unable to afford them the slightest help. Van Ness gradually was filled with auto showrooms — from four in 1908 to fifty in 1921. No one would lived there, in spite of its fashionable location. The Wealthy of Old Nob Hill Posted May 12, 2015 & filed under FORGIVEN History. The noise of the crackling, burning wood blended with the piercing shrieks of the wounded and dying, all lighted up by the lurid glare, made a hideous scene. Another neighbor on California Street was Richard Tobin, a lawyer, co-founder of The Hibernia Savings and Loan Society and one of … Railroad tycoon Charles Crocker bought a lot in San Francisco in 1878 and built a big mansion. No pomp, no frills, no bridesmaids. The Crocker Mansion subsequently closed its doors as a boarding house and plans were soon drawn up to renovate the residence for use as social quarters for the Elk’s, who were putting up a new building on the eastern portion of the property. California St. [Nob Hill.] From the Encyclopedia of San Francisco: "Arthur Page Brown was born in Adams, New York in 1859. The mammoth house for Charles Crocker (1822-1888) and his wife, Mary Ann Deming Crocker (1827-1889), had Second Empire and Neo-classical motifs. A bath with the young men and maidens of the Ashe set was the chiefest aspiration of the rapid jeunesse dorée — the youthful part of San Francisco’s fashionable society. Their plunge pool, which was said to have no counterpart in California, was the realization of a Romanesque ecstasy. Porter lost $1600 in cash, which was in his clothes. Though its reign over Bunker Hill was short, the Crocker Mansion remains an indelible part of early Los Angeles history. The mansion was sold in 1905 for $50,000 along with the land that ran 120 feet on Olive and 150 feet on Third, down to Clay Street. David Scannell, Esq., Chief Engineer San Francisco Fire Department — My Dear Sir : I have just received a telegram from my father, who is in New York, in which he requests me to distribute $5,000 among the families of, and to those dependent upon, the firemen who were killed and … Despite several attempts to save the historic building, including a case heard before the California Supreme Court, the building was demolished in 1981 to create room for the current Neiman Marcus department store. Beyond the library, and also entered from the main hall, was the dining room, finished in mahogany. The Ashe-Hobart estate after the earthquake. Southern Pacific Railroad had consolidated its dominance over rail traffic to the Pacific. At this location, '1150' California Street, now the site of the Choir, stood William H. Crocker's Queen Anne style mansion (1888). Van Ness was used as a firebreak by the U.S. Army during the earthquake and fire. Designed by architect John Hall and erected in 1886, the ornate residence was built by Mrs. Margaret E. Crocker at a cost of $45,000 (a little over a million in today’s dollars). Thousands of homes had gas lines filling their walls, ceilings and all branching off the main street lines. “Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Essence of Sunshine and Noir” By Nathan Marsak, Pershing Square’s Spanish-American War Memorial (part 1), Lady McDonald Residence – 321 South Bunker Hill Avenue, Hershey Residence/Castle Towers – 350 South Grand/750 West Fourth, The Salt Box – 339 South Bunker Hill Avenue, CRA Relocation Offices – 232 South Grand Avenue, Looking Backward: Depopulating Pershing Square, 2012-1954. The entry of the Ashe residence at Van Ness and Washington. In addition to the vivacious Turkish bath on the third floor, the Ashes’s San Francisco mansion had an exotic Turkish parlor with burnished metal walls, Eastern upholsteries and ornaments, and a ceiling frescoed with sunbursts. On February 10, 1913, in spite of a salt water sprinkler system that was installed, the house “passed out in a blaze of some magnitude.” It was surmised that tramps took over the deserted structure and carelessly left a lit cigarette. Crocker’s third son, banker/philanthropist William H. Crocker, completed a noted Queen Anne mansion in 1889 next to his father’s home, on the future site of the cathedral choir. The rotunda from the original City of Paris department store was installed in the current Neiman Marcus building at Union Square. The bodies and parts of bodies were similarly numbered. She eloped with Richard Porter Ashe, a randy gent who recently graduated from Hastings College of the Law. Mail: Frugoli & Taylor 7119 W. Sunset Blvd. The line opened to great fanfare on January 12, 1883. Crocker’s first house was on Nob Hill in San Francisco, a wedding gift from her mother given when she was eighteen The house was featured in Artistic Homes of California in 1888 and proclaimed, “magnificent in its proportions, impressive in its architecture and harmonious in every detail.” ln the same sleeper as the newlyweds, it was reported, were sixteen other people that were killed. Every scrap of baggage on the train was consumed; half the mail was burned up. Mr. Ashe had his left eye bruised slightly. Alice and sister Ella would both have their debut there and, like the Ashes, threw many raucous parties. Soon the secret was out. As millions in gold and silver poured down from the Mother Lode and Nevada, San Francisco became a city almost overnight. The Ashes were sensualists. Aimée went home to Sacramento. After suffering a stroke, Crocker lived the last four years of his life at the hotel. Rather than rebuild, the … Article from flickr.com Charles Crocker Mansion 5 May 2020 ca. With the shaking came breaking of these lines. It also became the center of the West Coast printing industry. Many of the buildings were dynamited along the street by soldiers in an ultimately successful attempt to prevent the firestorm from spreading west to the entire city. When it moved back downtown, the Ashe-Hobart house again was left to itself, to become the basis of tales of ghosts and mysteries and romance, which grew as years passed. (Photo from the collection of Bob Bragman.) . The Crocker, Stanford and Colton mansions, as illustrated in an 1891 edition of San Francisco's 'Morning Call' newspaper. All photos courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection. At the turn of the 20th Century, no building dominated Bunker Hill like the Crocker Mansion. The woodwork in this apartment, including a high paneled dado, was of satin finished redwood. Following the quake, Van Ness served as the temporary commercial center and main thoroughfare of San Francisco, as it ultimately evolved into a busy commercial district in its own right. Porter’s friendships with actresses Lillie Langtry and Lotta Crabtree were the source of much gossip. From the stairwell, set above the landing, was a rich stained-glass window, representing a battle scene. California St. [Nob Hill.] Jewelry of all kinds, rings, watches, bracelets, were picked up and tagged. Mr. and Mrs. Ashe escaped miraculously. Yung saw no reason to move, and refused to sell his corner property. The scene was appalling beyond description. By the 1890s there were many a fine mansion and well known residents including not only the Ashes but the Spreckles, the Neustadters, the Stetsons and the Giannini family. Aimée was unhurt. It went down grade at a frightful speed for about four miles when the hindmost sleeper, occupied by Aimée and Porter and her maid, Minnie Patterson, jumped the track and went over a fifteen-foot embankment pulling the other cars with it. At the summit of the Tehachapi grade, the ill-fated train broke loose. Margaret Crocker sent the runaway couple off to Europe, then commissioned a splendid mansion, on Van Ness Avenue in the ultra-exclusive Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, blocks from Uncle Charles Crocker’s stately manor. Finally in 1904, the descendants of the Yungs sold the property to the descendants of the Crockers and the fence came down. Lange Exterior view of the David and Ellen Colton House, San Francisco, n..d.; from the San Francisco Public Library, Southern Pacific Historical Collection Nov 18, 2013 - ca. Several suitors were named by various publications as involved in the showdown over the years including Governor Stoneman’s controversial executive secretary Harry Dam; Lans Mizner, an ambassador’s son, described as “three-quarters Irish and one-quarter Devil”; William Wallace, son of a California Supreme Court judge and grandson of California’s first governor; and the dashing opera singer and Bohemian Club darling Harry Gillig, who would become her second husband. The Yung lot is the only portion of the block bounded by California, Taylor, Sacramento and Jones streets which Charles Crocker was unable to secure, when he erected his mansion there. The Crocker Building was designed by Arthur Page Brown, who is best known for his design of the 1898 Ferry Building in San Francisco. Designed by architect John Hall and erected in 1886, the ornate residence was built by Mrs. Margaret E. Crocker at a cost of $45,000 (a little over a million in today’s dollars). News of their hasty marriage became secondary to the catastrophic story of their honeymoon which immediately catapulted Mr. and Mrs. Ashe from the gossip columns onto the front pages of newspapers on both coasts. In the rear hall, which was of considerable length, was the smoking room and then the basement, which was a cluster of rooms including a kitchen, laundry, storerooms, servants’ dining room and furnace room. The Ashes intended to keep the marriage a secret. --Ambrose Bierce From Pacific Coast Architecture Database: "The front facade of the redwood-framed Crocker House featured a 75-foot … The City of Paris fell victim to the nationwide trend of local department store closures and announced their departure in 1971. As progress on the mansion continued, Crocker became more … The posh Pacific Heights residence boasts a solarium, a repurposed carriage house, spacious gardens -- and the most expensive price tag in the city. Beware of wormholes, black holes and supernovas. Communicating with both the library and dining room, was a cozy little breakfast room finished in ash. San Francisco high society was shocked and appalled. As the earth rumbled and streets shifted so did the gas lines throughout the city. (Photo from the collection of Bob Bragman.) Ashe and the child holed up in the St. Elmo Hotel on Main Street for a couple of days until a judge formally ordered he hand the child over to the Crockers. It was the world’s first runaway passenger train wreck. Charles Crocker house on Nob Hill "There are uglier buildings in America than the Crocker House on Nob Hill, but they were built with public money for a public purpose; among architectural triumphs of private fortune and personal taste it is peerless." The death of his parents at that time left the old A flight of massive granite steps mounted to a marble porch before the double entrance doors of solid oak. Required fields are marked *. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. He wrote a long, scathing poem about Porter Ashe in his piece in Black Beetles in Amber called “The Van Nessiad.” When Porter sought to build stables on his estate without the permission of the city and against the wishes of his neighbors, Bierce held that the property didn’t need stables for horses as it already housed an ass. Charles Crocker: Chief of construction of Central Pacific Railroad, Crocker was an iron forger in Indiana who also opened a store in California during the Gold Rush. At the time she commissioned the Los Angeles residence, Mrs. Crocker owned homes in Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and New York. Porter and his grandiose home would later receive a heaping helping of consternation from one of his chief critics — Ambrose Bierce. Directly opposite the reception room was the library finished in black walnut, heavily carved and highly polished with panels of brass relief and a frescoed ceiling. 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