Lifestyles of the Victorians Live On

Lifestyles of the Victorians Live On

1212 Fell Street, San Francisco, CA 94117


Lifestyles of the Victorians Live On


Imagine San Francisco when it was just past its infancy. It had survived the ship-building boom and the gold and silver mining rushes. As the original city started to get denser, the city council decided it was time to annex more land into the city itself. They incorporated the lands west of Divisadero, a largely undeveloped series of sand dunes. Appropriately, they called it the Western Addition. At roughly the same time, they decided to create a 1000-acre park to rival Central Park in NYC. It was to have a Panhandle that stretched to Van Ness. When the citizens discovered that this plan would require the brand new Oak Street Fire Station and Sacred Heart Cathedral to be torn down, they protested, so the Panhandle ends where it does today, Baker St. 

Developers began to buy and build on the land lining the park. David McGraw, a contractor, bought a 50x137.5 foot lot for $2500 and created twin Eastlake-stick Victorians. He finished them in 1888. The first owners were a pharmacist and his wife, Samuel & Mary McDonnell who closed in 1889 and finally sold in 1961. After a remarkable 134 years, this home has only been owned by three families. 


The home incorporates a bit of earlier Victorian styles and the newer Eastlake Stick style, the details of which are authentic and preserved. The front porch has Corinthian columns with acanthus leaves and triangular pediments. The upper square bay hosts a curved sunburst pediment, a typical theme for the Eastlake style, which features nature themes heavily.  The grand entry has a  carved mahogany front bannister with a Beaux Arts newel post lamp featuring a sculpture of La Fortune. The triple parlor for formal entertaining feels expansive and luxurious without being cavernous The living room has a Carrara marble fireplace & a bright and sunny south-facing square bay. The dining room recalls Downton Abbey with a built-in china cabinet, jaw-dropping crystal chandelier, functioning butler pass-through & antique fireplace.  Functioning call tubes and bells (an early example of an intercom) run from the front of the house to the dining room and upstairs.  The informal breakfast room has two china cabinets and a functional Butler pass-through. Off the informal dining room, there is (everyone’s favorite) a second, back "servants” stairs. Soaring ceilings prevail throughout the house. Elaborate brackets, trims, moldings, hand-stenciling, painted polychrome medallions, Bradbury & Bradbury wallpapers, and one-of-a-kind crystal chandeliers bedazzle the senses. There is almost too much to take in at the outset. In the back of the first floor is a modern rear addition comprised of a new kitchen, full bathroom, and sunroom with a huge atrium skylight & french doors that lead to the landscaped rear yard.

Upstairs, four large bedrooms line the east side of the house. Each has its charms. Fireplaces, square bays, original broadloom to the house, anaglypta, Faux-Baux multi-panel doors, stained glass skylight window, and a full bathroom complete the picture of turn-of-the-century lifestyles. 

The large yard has limestone retaining walls and pavers and is framed at the end by a fountain.  An inner courtyard off of the atrium also has a fountain. Full-sized laundry, workshop, family room, half-bath, and garage are on the lower street level.  A Masonic Lodge meeting room was converted into a garage in 1914. Concrete foundation, and other upgrades. 


3,202 Sq.Ft. LIVING AREA

Bonnie  Spindler

Bonnie Spindler

Features & Amenities

Area & Lot

  • Status Sold
  • Living Area3,202 Sq.Ft.
  • MLS® ID422671939
  • TypeResidential
  • NeighborhoodNorth Panhandle


  • Sales Price$2,995,000

North Panhandle

Enjoy the amenity of not having to own an automobile.


Work With Bonnie

Bonnie has been in the business for over 30 years and knows what it takes to make your property legendary. Schedule an appointment today.