the travel geek

"Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form."

The Painted Ladies

The Painted Ladies of Postcard Row are thought to be the most photographed houses in the US (after the White House). The view from Almo Square is most certainly iconic and people lay in the park to soak in a bit of sun and view.

Most descriptions on the internet say that in order for a Victorian house to be categorized as a Painted Lady, it needs to have more than three defining colours… however, on all the tours I’ve taken of San Francisco, the guides say that the number is at least 12 colours on the exterior of the house.

There are certainly more Painted Ladies in the city than the ones on Postcard Row — some appear in the gallery and others are simply beautiful Victorian houses. The thing that makes many of these houses special is they all pre-date the 1906 Earthquake.

At the northwest corner of Alamo Square is the Westerfeld House (dark green house with the red car parked in front in the gallery) — a rather notorious house known in the 60s for its connections to psychedelic drugs and hippy music. It’s mentioned in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test as the “…great shambling old Gothic house, a freaking decayed giant, known as The Russian Embassy.”

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