Hot Property: A seafarer’s dream home on Elm Street

Elm Street, located just north of downtown San Mateo, is home to a number of apartment buildings. Long before they were built, however, it was lined with grand mansions; one of them still sits at 205 Elm St., on the corner of Elm Street and Mount Diablo Avenue.

Built for Charles Binning, 205 Elm St. was purchased shortly afterward by ship designer George W. Dickie, whose family has held onto the home since. Dickie’s most famous creation was the Battleship Oregon, “the bulldog of the American Navy.” He also designed the Olympia, which served as Adm. George Dewey’s flagship for the 1898 battle of Manila Bay.

Dickie’s last surviving descendant, Nancy Ross Scammell, passed away earlier this year. Childless and with no other family, she willed the home to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which put the house on the market for $2.12 million. Mother-daughter team Marjorie Redlick and Cynthia Haupert are the listing agents.

Scammell had devoted her life to preserving family records and memorabilia. Before they listed the house, Redlick and Haupert had the San Mateo Public Library come through, and then the San Mateo Historical Society.

An antique dealer was next. They held a three-day sale of Dickie family items on the Fourth of July weekend.

Finally, the home was empty and ready to list. Redlick and Haupert chose not to stage it, revealing instead a century-old mansion that has been maintained but not updated. Everything is original, from the Douglas fir trim and moldings to the original light switches to the gigantic butler’s pantry. It is grand in a way that new construction can’t imagine, not only recalling a bygone era, but seemingly continuing to exist in it, as if the front door is a time portal, not only an entrance.

This part of San Mateo is zoned for multiunit use, and 205 Elm St. does not have historic landmark status, so it could be razed for more apartments or condos. Both agents say that they’d prefer the home be turned into a bed and breakfast. “Will it be off with her head or long live the queen?” Haupert said.

Or, maybe a large family will buy it and keep it in the family for another 100 years.

lrosen@sfexaminer.com

Hot property

205 ELM ST.
Where: San Francisco
Asking price: $2,120,000
Property tax: $27,560 (estimated)
The property: Four bedrooms, one-and-a-half bathrooms, 10,000-square-foot lot; near downtown San Mateo; original details intact.
Notable: Built in early 1900s; owned by ship designer George W. Dickie.
Agents: Marjorie Redlick, Cynthia Haupert, Alain Pinel, (650) 787-0817 (Redlick), (650) 343-1754 (Haupert). www.redlickgroup.com.

Other properties

60 RAVENWOOD DRIVE
Where:
San Francisco
Asking price: $2,100,000
Property tax: $27,300 (estimated)
The property: Monterey Heights detached home with four bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms, remodeled, 4,500 square feet, ocean views.
Notable: Remodel not completed; short sale.
Agent: Harald Stangl, Star Real Estate Brokerage, (415) 410-7710.

1670 ADOBE DRIVE
Where: Pacifica
Asking price: $2,200,000
Property tax: $28,600 (estimated)
The property: One-year-old Spanish Colonial Revival home with 4,400 square feet; four bedrooms, 4½ bathrooms, high-end everything.
Notable: Secluded, 53,000-square-foot cul-de-sac lot; white-water views.
Agents: Patrick Ryan, Alain Pinel, (650) 931-2842.

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