The Haas-Lilienthal House is San Francisco’s finest Victorian house museum, and is open to the public year-round for docent-led tours. In addition, it houses the offices of San Francisco Architectural Heritage and functions as residence and popular event rental site.
Built in 1886 for Bavarian immigrant William Haas and the family, it was occupied by 3 generations of his family until it was donated by them to Heritage. The Haas-Lilienthal House was opened to the public for tours in 1972. It is the only intact private home of the period that is open regularly as a museum, complete with authentic furniture and artifacts.The House beautifully exemplifies upper-middle class life in the Victorian era. Considering its age, the House has never been significantly remodeled or modified and remains one of the very few examples of its era in the neighborhood. Built of redwood & fir, the House withstood both the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes with only minor damage.
Designed by Peter Schmidt, it is an exuberant example of Queen Anne style, with its prominent open gables, varied styles of shingles and siding, and turreted corner tower topped by a “witches cap” roof. The original cost of the House was $18,500 [significantly more than the average for the day, which was $700-2000] Because it was the house of a merchant and not the mansion of a millionaire, it is an informative illustration of how early San Franciscans might have lived at the turn of the 20th century.
William Haas was born April 24, 1849, in the village of Reckendorf, Bavaria, to a family of modest means with many children.
In 1865, sixteen-year-old William and an older brother, Abraham, sailed for New York City. He arrived in San Francisco on October 9, 1868, and joined the grocery firm of Leopold Loupe and Kalman Haas. His first recorded address, in Langley’s San Francisco Directory of 1869, was the Nucleus Hotel, on Third and Market.
The Haas-Lilienthal House tours are every Wednesday, Saturday [noon-3pm] and Sunday [11am-3pm]. Tours leave every 20 to 30 minutes and last about 1 hour. All visits to the house must be guided. Reservations are not required. General admission is $8, and admission for seniors and children under twelve is $5.
You can also rent out the house for special occasions. If you are interested in renting the house [you can get it for 8 hours for $2950 January-November, $3400 in December] You can visit the SF Heritage Site for more details.
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