San Francisco's historic Duboce Park neighborhood could be landmarked

The architectural details on the houses immediately north of Duboce Park reveal some of their historic nature, but the entire neighborhood could soon become a landmark.

The German Savings and Loan Association obtained a portion of the area near Duboce Park following some late-1800s legal disputes involving squatters on the land, according to Planning Department documents. When the bank took over the land, builders swooped into the subdivided plots and rapidly constructed homes. The prolific builder Fernando Nelson, who had a 77-year career building in The City, constructed more than half of the homes in the area.

Now San Francisco is moving toward making the 3½ blocks north of Duboce Park a historic district. The Historic Preservation Commission is scheduled to vote on the matter Wednesday. Such a designation would also need approval from the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.

If San Francisco formally designates the district and its several dozen buildings as historic, exterior
features such as doors, windows, trim, fencing and roof lines would be protected, and homeowners could qualify for special tax breaks for rehabilitation projects, according to the Planning Department.

The residential area has many architectural qualities that make it historically significant, city officials say. There are two prominent types of homes: 1½-story homes with a basement, and 2½-story homes and flats with a basement. Nelson and the neighborhood’s other main builder constructed homes in fairly similar styles that exemplify Queen Anne-era, Tudor-revival architecture, said Mary Brown of The City’s Historic Resources Survey team.

Of particular note are the homes directly adjacent to Duboce Park. The park itself is not included in the historic district since it “looks quite different than it did in the early 1900s,” Brown said.

The Duboce Park area is the first area to come up for landmark status in nearly a decade. The last neighborhood The City made a landmark was portions of the Dogpatch neighborhood, which occurred in 1993.

mbillings@sfexaminer.com

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