As stories of San Francisco lore go, the tale of the Ingleside Racetrack ranks somewhere below the Gold Rush and above Candlestick Park. Located in The City’s southwestern corner, the Ingleside Racetrack operated for a decade before playing its swan song as a refugee camp following the 1906 earthquake. During its short existence, it hosted dog racing, horse racing and auto racing. On opening day in 1895, it drew 8,000 spectators.
Very few reminders of Ingleside’s short run remain. One is the layout of Urbano Drive, whose oval shape follows the path of the original track. Another is the house at 280 Byxbee St., whose front elevation was once a racetrack jockey house.
By the time construction began on 40 De Soto St., the racetrack was long gone. Developer Joseph Leonard bought the track in 1910. His Urban Realty Improvement Company set about creating a residential park of characteristic beauty and grace. Ingleside Terraces, as it would be called, would be comprised of detached single-family homes on double-sized city lots. Subdivision roads (save for Urbano Drive) would wind around the contours of their setting, mimicking Daniel Burnham’s “City Beautiful” philosophy of urban planning.
The Arts & Crafts home at 40 De Soto St. was one of the first houses constructed at Ingleside Terraces. Ninety-six years after its completion, it is for sale, listed at $1.249 million by Melinda Lee of Coldwell Banker Residential
Inside, the home reflects the ambitions of Leonard’s vision. Unlike the majority of San Francisco homes, 40 De Soto St. is roomy and sprawling, with large rooms on each of its three living levels.
Plenty about this house has been upgraded, but one quirk remains from its post-racetrack days: Downstairs there is a paneled den, set apart from the rest of the lower level. Its unfinished ceiling beams and wood-burning fireplace remind us of a time before media rooms and wet bars.
Over a century has passed since the last race ran at Ingleside Racetrack. In its place, a neighborhood of 90-something homes carries its sporting and stately tradition into the present.
40 De Soto St.
Where: San Francisco
Asking Price: $1,249,000
Property Tax: $14,988
The Property: Three-story Arts & Crafts home with three bedrooms and 2½ baths.
Notable: Built in 1913, one of the first homes on the former site of the Ingleside Racetrack.
Agent: Melinda Lee, Coldwell Banker, (415) 338-0161