The Painted Ladies
San Francisco's Colorful Victorians
The famous Painted Ladies of San Francisco, a collection of colorful Victorian and Edwardian style houses and buildings around the city, are a wonderful expression of the fashion and history of the City By the Bay. If you love America’s Victorian architecture, throw on your sneakers and take a walking tour of the Painted Ladies, embellished with vibrant colors to enhance the unique architectural details.
Between 1849 and 1915, about 48,000 houses in the Victorian and Edwardian styles were built in San Francisco, painted in bright colors - from the mansions of Nob Hill to the Painted Ladies in the Lower Haight District. After WWII, when the houses where painted gray with war paint, many artists starting painting them back with vibrant hues. In 1963, San Francisco artist Butch Kardum used intense blues and greens on his Italianate -style Victorian and neighbors began to transform the houses into the beautiful Painted Ladies. By the 1970s, the colorist movement had changed entire streets and neighborhoods in San Francisco.
The Ladies of Postcard Row
One of the coolest clusters of "Painted Ladies" is the row of Victorian houses at 710-720 Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square in San Francisco. Known as Postcard Row, these stunning houses were built between 1892 and 1896 by developer Matthew Kavanaugh, who lived in the 1892 mansion at 722 Steiner - the oldest, largest, and most detailed of the seven sisters. You can see this famous block in media photographs of the city and in numerous movies and TV shows, including in the sitcom Full House. You can take a walking Tour of Pacific Heights and see the C. A. Belden House, a Queen Anne Victorian on Gough Street between Clay and Washington streets. This stunning house, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is of the most famous of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco.