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About Pacific Heights
Living in Pacific Heights provides an opportunity to rub elbows with some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent players. PayPal founder Peter Theil, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, and Apple designer Jonathan Ive have all made their homes in what is considered the most expensive neighborhood in the United States. Palatial highrise condos and luxurious row houses are the most common types of real estate you will find in Pacific Heights.
When Pacific Heights residents are ready to eat, there are plenty of outdoor dining opportunities on Polk, Fillmore and Union Street. If you'd rather eat in, there's also a Whole Foods, Mollie Stones and Trader Joe close by.
Pacific Heights, also boasts two large parks with beautiful views: Lafayette Park and Alta Plaza Park. Lafayette Park offers beautiful grassy hills, a playground, and an off-leash dog park, while Alta Plaza is perched even higher with most of the same amenities. Lastly, the southeast corner of Presidio is less than two miles away, so there is always something fun to explore near the Pacific Heights neighborhood!
About Lafayette Park
Its expansive green slopes and towering trees belie the battles embedded in its history, which is ironic, given that the park is named after the revolutionary war hero, Marquise de Lafayette. Battles over its ownership, beginning in 1864 were fought for 70 years. Lafayette Square and Who Owns It' asked a San Francisco Real Estate article in 1888. In 1856 the Van Ness Ordinance reserved the eleven and a half acres bounded by Sacramento, Gough, Washington and Laguna Streets as Lafayette Square, and in 1864 the U.S. Congress conveyed the title to the City of San Francisco 'for public use.'
Ratified by the State Legislature, Lafayette Park was created in 1867 but whether it had been dedicated as a park was questionable. City Attorney Samuel Holladay claimed it had not. His land stretched from Van Ness Avenue to the top of the Clay Street Hill, as Lafayette Park was then known. He fenced in six plots between Gough and Octavia Streets and built a white Italianate mansion with a barn and a windmill on the hilltop. The mansion became a political and literary salon for the likes of C.P. Huntington, Leland Stanford, Brete Harte and Mark Twain. The City sued Holladay saying the land had been reserved for a public park and the battle raged for almost 20 years, through four suits in local courts and up to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1896. Holladay won every time.
Beyond litigation, the park made other news above and below ground. The first astronomical observatory on the West Coast was set up in 1879 by University of California Professor George Davidson, still considered a pioneer in his field. And in the 1906 earthquake, Lafayette Square became one of the tent campsites for refugees-- with awesome views of the fire and destruction of the city below. When Holladay died in 1915, his property inside Lafayette Park interested San Francisco financier and real estate mogul Louis Lurie. He made a deal with Holladay's son to exchange some land in Oakland for the plots, and, in 1927, Lurie launched a campaign to extend Clay Street into the park for access to the apartments he planned to build.
Defeated by surrounding property owners and the City, in 1935, Lurie sold the land to the City for $200,000. Holladay's house was torn down the next year and in 1936, the City finally owned Lafayette Park. Almost. A handsome white six-story residence stands within the park, facing Gough Street. It is the St. Regis Apartments at 1925 Gough - the only privately owned building in a public park in San Francisco. Some say, in the country. Built between 1905 and 1908, it's a legacy Holladay left after the Supreme Court granted him the right to own property within the park. He sold this plot to Alexander Wilson, who built the St.Regis as luxury rentals that are now condominiums.
With a $10M renovation completed in 2012, the park today is a favored gathering place for the neighborhood who come to jog, stroll, picnic or walk their dogs. For those willing to make the climb, there are also benches with a front road seat of of North Bay views.
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