December 2014, by Britta Gustafson (CC BY-SA)

The Englander House at 807 Franklin Street (between Eddy and Turk) is a historic house that has fallen into disrepair. It's a Victorian Italianate house built in 1880, the only one remaining on the street, clearly built to line up with similar houses.

It's considered a great example of Victorian Italianate style in San Francisco: "The house at 807 Franklin is an elaborate example of the style, exhibiting many of the hallmark characteristics: quoins along the edges; tall, narrow windows with rounded tops, porch portico, a slanted bay window, classical columns and pilasters, as well as the look of a building that should be made out of stone." The architect was Wildrich A. Winterhalter, which is a pretty fine name. Closer view of the front door.

As of April 2015, there are plans under review to renovate the house and turn it into a six-unit building with a third-story addition in back, and build an eight-story 51-unit building on the right side of the lot.

What happened to it?

December 2014, by Britta Gustafson (CC BY-SA)

December 2014, by Britta Gustafson (CC BY-SA)

It last sold for $2,650,000 in June 2013"House is protected but needs major repairs and restoration. Tremendous potential for high rise condos on the unoccupied portion of the lot. Bankruptcy sale; requires court confirmation." That real estate listing says it has 6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and 5170 square feet. Another real estate listing (accompanied by a great drawing) said "The interior is richly decorated and well preserved, but all systems are antiquated and will need replacement."

A comment on a real estate blog in 2013 said "I have been inside of it (about five years ago) and it has what appears to be much of the original detail. It was never chopped up into apartments or modernized. I knew the owner. He lived alone in the house. I don’t think he intentionally let the house detiorate. He loved the house and all things Victorian, but he did not have the money to restore it."

There are lots of notes on the web about wonderful classical music performances hosted in the living room of the "Victorian Englander House" in the mid-2000s, such as the San Francisco Song Festival's Artist Salon and the Liszt in Leather Orchestra ("the only SF venue where you can sit 5 feet from a concerto pianist or a first violinist from the SF Symphony and wear full leather or a leash!").

The website for the house as a venue described the house in loving detail:

Grand, old, 1880 Italianate Victorian mansion, gilded, double parlor, music room, & dining room, (65 feet long), filled with museum quality American Victorian antiques. Featured in the books, "A Gift to the Street" & "San Franciso: Building the Dream City", by Jim Heig...

For parlor concert ticket purchasers, the large, 1880, Italianate, Victorian Englander House museum is open for free self guided touring 30 minutes before and after each performance. View the extensive collection of museum quality American furniture from 1865 through 1895...

...just 5 blocks from the former site of the Levy Victorian, and their neighbor, Alice B. Toklas. They both were inhabited by German, Jewish, merchant-class, emigrants...

When SF Chronicle's SFGATE columnist Ching Chang listed an Englander House Halloween 2003 concert in the Favorite Picks section of his Clef Notes, he wrote "if the Victorian Englander House's antique-stuffed parlors weren't so immaculately maintained, the house could convincingly be turned into a set for "The Addams Family."

The Victorian Englander House is available for rent for filming, sit-down formal dinner parties, concerts, Tango dancing with musicians, weddings, Christmas & New Years Eve parties, etc. In the future, Victorian Englander House will have its huge bedrooms available for bed & Breakfast use, and each will have its own grand piano.

According to this Socketsite post, the north side of the lot (currently empty) had a carriage house that burned down in 1950, and the house was owned by the First Baptist Church of San Francisco from 1982 to 1991.

A comment on that post says "note that 807 Franklin was in the final scene of “Days of Wine & Roses” starring Jack Lemmon & Lee Remick ( about 1962 ). Lemmon’s character is shown as finally leaving his wife ( Remick ) as he walks out the door & past the gas station." 

Original owners

It was originally the house of Theresa and Max Englander. Max's obituary in 1891 said "He was a native of Floss, Bavaria, born in 1819...He was in the draying business, with stands at the corner of Battery and Pine street. Mr. Englander was an honored member of the Jewish community, well to do and affiliated as a Mason, an Odd Fellow and in the Order of B'nai B'rith." A post on The Victorian Alliance of San Francisco said Englander's "family resided in this Italianate style Victorian until well into the 1930s. My favorite feature is the adorable balustraded 2nd story balconette...this is the Victorian on Franklin that used to belong to one of our members."

See also