Saturday, August 2, 2008

Parkway Terrace

If you've driven along Lincoln Way you have probably noticed that the homes between 27th and 32nd Avenues are larger, detached, and more elaborate than your typical Sunset homes.

Parkway Terrace was designed in 1916 by the prolific San Francisco builder, Fernando Nelson who later developed West Portal. I will defer to the great articles about Parkway Terrace and Fernando Nelson on the Western Neighborhoods Project site for the history. One fact of note from the article - like other developments in San Francisco, Nelson intended Parkway Terrace to be for white residents only.

There are some very beautiful homes in the development.

The homes become more modest as you approach Irving.

The sidewalks are extra-wide closer to Lincoln Way on some blocks.

What physically defines Parkway Terrace are the corner benches with "Parkway Terrace" plaques.

(Nelson built this house for himself in 1916).

It was fun strolling down the street looking for the plaques. Some of them are well taken care of:

Others are hidden in the brush:

While others are gone:

This one is well taken care of:

But the bench is inaccessible:

I wonder if people used to walk around the neighborhood and sit on the benches to rest or chat. I do walk around with my son, but it doesn't seem like it would be a very relaxing break with all the traffic zooming by. Maybe in by-gone days?

This plaque is somewhat of a mystery.

It is in front of this house, which is not a real historic site.

In fact, San Francisco historic site #29 is the firehouse on 10th Avenue. It has been suggested that a lot of great parties were held in this home and the plaque was put in by a former homeowner to celebrate that fact.

Finally, you can still find a Nelson sewer line cover on the sidewalk.


Anonymous said...

just stumbled upon your blog. this is great! i live on the eastern shore and dont get out to the western lands all that much.

do you know where those cable car houses are located? id love to do a post on them sometime.

email me:

keep up the good work!!

Mike Tattoo said...

That house that Fernando Nelson built for himself has always stood out for me for two reasons.

1) It’s a very unique looking house. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another one like it out here.

2) It’s in a horrible state of disrepair.

You know that mold that grows by your window after every storm? It’s all over the outside of that house. I think there’s even some fungi up by the roof. It’s in bad shape. There’s always a car parked in the driveway, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is living in the house. People that live out here know which houses are occupied and which ones are empty and the braver neighbors take advantage of the empty driveways. Thanks for sharing your research on this very interesting home.

Anonymous said...

the picture you used for
"The homes become more modest as you approach Irving."

is actually not part of parkway terrace. it's across the street from where parkway terrace actually begins.

Janice said...

To anonymous. If we are talking about the same photo, the one above the bumped out curb, I'm not sure what you mean.

That is 32nd Ave. The photo was taken at Lincoln, and the Parkway Terrace signs exist in front of each house there.

Anonymous said...

The mystery plaque in the side walk at the SE corner of 29th and Lincoln Way was to commemorate a St. Patrick's Day Party that was held there in the mid-seventies. The party was held at the house on the corner where the plaque was laid.

I lived up the block and remember watching all the cars park all over and the music and people coming and going. It was a big party!

Anonymous said...

Terrific photos and info. Fernando Nelson had a great talent for building unique homes of various styles. However, his home on Lincoln Way is the ugliest I've seen from that time period. Not sure what he was thinking with his own personal home design because the others he built in Parkway Terrace are beautiful. The home was in decay and seemingly abandoned for the past decade. On a recent drive-by I noticed scaffolding was erected. It recently sold "off market" for $3 million. Wow!!! Apparently it will be used as a Buddhist temple. It is being renovated and will no longer be an eye sore in the neighborhood. Fernando can once again rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

If you would like some more information about Parkway Terrace and an update about the status of the Fernando Nelson House please refer to the October-December 2015 issue of SF West History of the Western Neighborhoods Project, p.5-10.