Tuesday, August 4, 2009

a mystery in the making -

every time i have walked past this house way up at the very top of one of the pacific heights hills i wonder - why was this huge and probably once very beautiful house built and then abandoned. i always find it so interesting and extremely peculiar that a house should stand abandoned in the middle of a city - some how it seems less curious in a rural setting - but this house is of particular interest. its grand, ornate, has stunning views and is falling apart. and so i wonder -

in a quick search here is what i found out about this beautiful place - it is called the bourn mansion and was built by (at that time) the richest man in california - william bowers bourn II - he was among other things the head of what would become Pacific Gas and Electric - the mansion is a four-story victorian with 30 rooms and three queen anne towers and is made from brick, wood and red sandstone. of note also - the mansion was designed by the famous san francsico architect Willis Polk -

here is what i don't know - why it is falling down on the top of this magnificent hill in the middle of san francisco - of course i have started to make up all kinds of stories - like a once beautiful and stately female relation to mr. bourn is still living in this house (hummm perhaps i have read jane eyre too many times) - in the windows that remain intact there are delicate now yellowing lace curtains - of course i pretend that the material once came in on a ship straight from paris wrapped up in beautiful packaging from the finest haberdashery in the city (ok maybe now i have read ladies paradise too many times)- and i can see a few empty wire hangers hanging if i peer in to the bottom window through the gate - regardless, the fact remains that this once symbol of the grandiosity of america and the promise of the west stands, a crumbling guard, atop the highest point in the city -

so i have created a lovely little mystery for myself - does someone still live in this lonely house or is it abandoned all together - imagine the beautiful parties and clothing that would have been a part of the comings and goings of this place in its prime - it is the stuff of fairy tales - i am hoping that i will be able to find out some more information at the historical society and a few other places i am going to inquire.

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