252 Holyoke Street Shack Saved


1906 earthquake cottages

252 Holyoke Street

Earthquake refugee cottage at 252 Holyoke Street in the Portola District, November 2005. - WNP Photo

In the craziness of getting the Kirkham earthquake shack renovated for the centennial of the 1906 earthquake and fire, two more refugee cottages were identified in the Portola neighborhood by Moses Corrette at San Francisco Planning:


Formerly at 252 Holyoke Street, this Type A 1906 earthquake refugee cottage was restored and moved to a backyard in the Haight neighborhood. - WNP Photo

The front portion of the building is a single Type B. The middle section is a single Type A. An addition to the north of the middle section (opposite driveway) contains a bathroom, making the 10 foot wide A shack a bit wider, but the side walls are not disturbed. The third section is 1920s construction as is the garage. I pulled the siding from the exterior of all three sections, and found the tell-tale green paint on the front two sections of the building.

What made these shacks particularly interesting is they seemed to have been moved to the site quite a number of years after the refugee camps closed in 1908. Fire insurance maps from the 1910s don't show the buildings on the site. The cottages could have come from the shack communities of Villa Maria or Hillcrest near Daly City… When development wiped those shack-towns out, it's not unlikely that people recycled shacks again for living space.

As usual, what brought these cottages to light were demolition plans. The owners called us asking if we could take the shacks for them (we couldn't) to clear the way for new development.

Happily, a couple in the Haight—true shack lovers—took on the smaller Type A and restored it to its 1906 look for their backyard.



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Page launched 16 April 2010.