Home to three generations of Haas and Lilienthal descendants, the Haas-Lilienthal House is the only undamaged Victorian era house situated at 2007 Franklin Street in the city of San Francisco, California. Most of the Pacific Heights and the House withstood the fire that was triggered by the 1906 earthquake that burnt and destroyed around 3700 acres of property, about 40% of San Francisco.
The house was owned and built by the Haas family, specifically the couple William and Bertha Haas, both of German descent. From Germany, William migrated to the city of New York in 1865 and eventually ended up in San Francisco in 1868 where he practiced his entrepreneurial skills that made him one of the wealthiest and most successful entrepreneurs in the city. Both William and Bertha lived active social lives, mostly within the Jewish society, and engaged themselves in many charitable and cultural activities. The couple had three children namely Florine, Charles William, and Alice, consecutively.
The Haas? youngest daughter Alice married Samuel Lilienthal, whose father was William Haas? contemporary. Alice and Samuel held their wedding ceremony and lived in the House until it was donated to the Foundation for San Francisco?s Architectural Heritage in 1972. The Lilienthals were the last to occupy the house. The Foundation was later renamed San Francisco Architectural Heritage.
Although considered an average house in the area where it stands, the Haas-Lilienthal House has 24 rooms and a land area of just about 12,000 square feet. At a cost of 18,500 dollars to construct the house, it was considered quite expensive during the time it was built.
The Haas-Lilienthal House was constructed in the then very popular Queen Anne style architecture (characterized by the circular tower and the asymmetrical layout of the structure) designed by Peter R. Schmidt in 1886.
The house is a great example of middle-class lifestyle in the Victorian era and has been a famous tourist spot when it was opened to the public by the Heritage in 1972. It is currently the only period era home open to the public in San Francisco. The house features prominent open gables, diverse styles of chippings and siding, and a corner steeple crowned by a roof that looks like a witch?s hat.
The Haas-Lilienthal House is a property now owned and managed by the San Francisco Architectural Heritage, a non-profit organization that promotes the appreciation of the man-made environment and understanding of the importance of conserving momentous San Francisco architecture.
The Heritage, which holds office here, converted the Haas-Lilienthal House into a museum that flaunts the beauty of the house and provides a decent understanding of how the well-off used to live. There is a one-hour tour, led by volunteers of the Architectural Heritage Foundation, which creates an at-home feel. It is also noteworthy to mention that all the furniture, as well as all artifacts in the house, is authentic.
The tour in the museum starts in the basement ballroom. On the lower floor, photos as displayed that illustrate the history of the edifice and many other Victorian mansions. Visitors can also tour the first, as well as the second floor where the original main bedchamber, one other bedchamber, a nursery, and one bathroom are accessible. The House also functions as a popular special event venue.