Out of Sight

Liberty Hill

HISTORICAL DISTRICT

Hard to find factor : 1

1 Not too bad

2 Takes some searching

3 Ask anative

4 Bring a map

Neighborhood: Mission/Eureka Valley

On the downlow since: the late 1800s

Preserved precipice: The cluster of ridiculously quaint homes that hug Liberty Hill (it’s that elevated land mass that gazes kindly over Dolores Park) represents The City’s oldest and best-preserved Victorian neighborhood. Lush with mighty Queen Anne mansions, but balanced out by the charming, yet modest, row houses, this neighborhood stretches over 40 posh acres and contains 51 homes deemed historically significant. In 1985, the hill’s residents managed to get the entire neighborhood designated a historic landmark.

Tough love: Sure, you stroll along the well-maintained sidewalks that zigzag ever so elegantly throughout this neighborhood that preens like a peacock, and you think to yourself, “Right, but what happens when mommy and daddy aren’t around to take care of you?” Well, it seems like these fanciful homes are stalwart, resolute and fiercely independent. When the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906 barreled into the Mission District, engulfing everything in sight, the homes on the hill stood strong and remain the largest lot of pre-earthquake buildings in the area. Some of the buildings show a few battle scars from the fire that halted at 20th St.

Tourist season: Folks are welcome and encouraged to enjoy self-guided tours of the Liberty Hill Historic District, without risk of neighbors’ scorching them with the evil eye, but www.sfmission.com has details on how to get in on an official touring jaunt. Or get an even closer look by getting a home tour of the John McMullen house, originally a Stick-style home that housed, well, John McMullen, the man responsible for building San Francisco’s modern shoreline through a slew of dredging and fill projects. Visit http://www.mcmullenhouse.com for more details.

Know any hidden gems? E-mail us at outofsight@examiner.com and tell us your favorite off-the-beaten path haunts.

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