Headquarters of famous homebuilder could soon become a San Francisco landmark

Headquarters of famous homebuilder could soon become a San Francisco landmark

A white art deco building at 320 Judah St. could soon become a San Francisco landmark, but its historic 1930s design is only part of its significance. It also is where Henry Doelger operated the construction business that built most of the Sunset district.

Last month, the Historic Preservation Commission urged the Board of Supervisors to make the Doelger Building a landmark. Commission documents say it is eligible because it is architecturally significant and associated with a significant person or event.

Click on the photo to see the slideshow.

One of San Francisco’s most prolific builders, Doelger constructed tens of thousands of homes in southwestern San Francisco between the mid-1920s and 1940s. He also built the planned Westlake community in Daly City.

“He turned sandy wasteland into a neighborhood,” said David Gallagher, director of the Western Neighborhoods Project, which chronicles the history of the area west of Twin Peaks. “For years, it seemed uninhabitable, and he made it into a neighborhood.”

Doelger had the building constructed in 1932 to serve as the headquarters of his company. The building was constructed with a modern art deco facade. Improvements in 1936 added a garage and a second mezzanine, and a 1940 expansion added streamline modern detailing.

Such art deco themes also were design elements in some of the single-family houses that Doelger constructed for working- and middle-class San Franciscans. Commission records say his houses “share near-identical massing, floor plans, materials, and form, with differentiation provided by a profusion of facade styles.”

But Doelger’s houses, which infamously inspired Malvina Reynolds’ folk song “Little Boxes,” also used assembly-line production techniques to make them affordable.

“He gave the working-class people a place to live in the ’30s and ’40s,” Gallagher said.

mbillings@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalPoliticsSan Francisco Board of SupervisorsSunset district

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

 

Legacy: At the Doelger Building

Legacy: At the Doelger Building

Headquarters of famous homebuilder could soon become a San Francisco landmark

Headquarters of famous homebuilder could soon become a San Francisco landmark

Just Posted

Police seized ghost guns and other firearm manufacturing items while executing a warrant in February (Courtesy SFPD)
Ghost guns linked to rise in SF shootings as numbers jump

San Francisco police are seizing an increasingly alarming number of untraceable firearms,… Continue reading

San Francisco Giants pitcher Gregory Santos (78) makes his major league debut against the Marlins in the 6th inning at Oracle Park on April 22, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Giants post fifth shutout of 2021, all caught by Casali

After going the entirety of 2020 without shutting out an opponent, the… Continue reading

Shock G of Digital Underground performs during the BET Hip Hop Awards '10 at Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center on October 2, 2010, in Atlanta. (Taylor Hill/Getty Images/TNS)
Rapper Shock G of Digital Underground found dead in Tampa

Rapper Shock G, who was famous for the hit single “The Humpty… Continue reading

Students walk around campus near the Cesar Chavez Student Center at San Francisco State University. (Steven Ho/Special to S.F. Examiner)
California’s massive UC and Cal State systems plan to require COVID-19 vaccinations this fall

Nina Agrawal, Teresa Watanabe, Colleen Shalby Los Angeles Times The University of… Continue reading

From left, Esther Gulick, Sylvia McLaughlin and Kay Kerr started launched one of the country’s first environmental movements. (Courtesy Save The Bay)
Sixty years of Saving San Francisco Bay

Pioneering environmental group was started by three ladies on a mission

Most Read