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A Walk by the Greatest Mansions in San Francisco

Now open for RSVPs. No sack lunches this time as we will eat our lunches in cafes. BIG GROUP WARNING to all who dislike big groups. Our starting point is on the sidewalk on California Street outside of a Whole Foods Market with a cafe called "Steep Brew Coffee." At 11:10 AM or later we will start walking. The only cost is $3 per adult. Kids free.

I will have clip boards for everyone to sign (print) themselves in, and name tags. Also I may need volunteers to help take roll and carry the clipboards at the first part of the walk.

I advise people to not drive to SF because driving and parking in SF is bad. However, if you have to drive you should NOT park in the Whole Foods Parking lot as you will be towed. You can likely find free street parking in Pacific Heights if you are prepared to look a long time over a large area. Below is the link to a Trip Planner that gives details on using Bay Area public transportation from one place to another:
http://tripplanner.tr...

The first giant mansion we will see is the great historical Spreckels Mansion where now an incredibly successful woman novelist lives. Finally, the renovations to Lafayette Square Park were completed and it reopened last June 8th. We will go inside the park to use the newly renovated big restrooms and then walk to the top of the little hill there where I will collect the $3 while everyone enjoys the great views.

Then we will walk to Jackson Street and then West on Jackson to Scott and then take a group photo in Alta Plaza. Then we will walk West on Washington to Spruce and then left to the cafes on California and take 50 minutes for lunch. Our next rendezvous spot will be in front of the Starbucks at California & Spruce.

Then we go back to Washington and one more block West to Le Petit Trianon which is the greatest mansion in SF. In front of this giant 1904 mansion with interiors of marble and exquisite stain glass is a big double staircase made entirely of marble and brass.

Then we walk East to Billionaires' Row and see things such as a 9' tall robot with a large male sex organ. The robot used to stare across the street at a famous computer pioneer billionaire's mansion that was being renovated. (After the renovation was done the robot turned his torso to the right.) We will see another mansion that was for sale for $65 million and needed $10 million to finish. They only let people look inside who could prove they're worth $800 million, except for low paid security guards. I read recently that it was sold months ago for a mere $20 million. In 2007 I was inside one of these mansions, but it at the time was for sale for only $55 million. We will see many strange things, but we will have adequate restroom stops. The walk is about 6 miles and we expect to end at our starting point about 4:30 PM.

A big old Hollywood color movie called "Portrait in Black" was filmed on Billionaires' Row in 1959. Many of the big stars of that time appear such as Anthony Quinn, Lana Turner, Sandra Dee, Lloyd Noland, Ray Walston, Richard Basehart, John Saxon and Anna May Wong. We will be walking up the Baker Street Steps which is where Anthony Quinn lands in a fall from a nearby mansion roof. They used a dummy for the fall. If you have Netflix you can watch it like I did. Below is a link to more details:

http://www.imdb.com/t...

Below are links about what we will see on this walk:

The old 1893 fire house turned into a residence with photos inside and the fire truck in the living room:
http://www.socketsite...
http://sf.curbed.com/...

History of Le Petit Trianon:

http://www.sfcityguides.org/public_guidelines.html?article=205&submitted=TRUE&srch_text=&submitted2=&topic=Buildings%20and%20Theaters

Photos of Le Petit Trianon:

http://sfluxe.com/2008/10/02/halsey-minors-grandiose-monstrosity/

Photos inside and out of the mansion previously for sale for $55 million:
http://www.2901broadw...
Photos & story about a robot that Pacific Heights people love & hate:
http://blog.wired.com...
Photos, 04/06/08, Obama visits Billionaires' Row in secret meeting for $:
http://www.zombietime...

Photo below is Spreckels Mansion viewed from Lafayette Park.

A group photo of us on this walk minus the photographer, me.

Photo of part of the front of the Mary Phelan Mansion

Interesting plantings along our route.

Photo below is in Presidio Heights

 

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  • Kelli V.

    i hate to cancell but I must.Will this be scheduled again?

    June 7, 2013

    • Howard S.

      Yes I will schedule it again this year, perhaps more than twice. We always do this walk right before Halloween because there are many decorations put up such as a fake spider the size of a pony.

      3 · June 7, 2013

    • Rita

      I have a friend that wants to do the walk. Thanks for hosting again Howard.

      July 9, 2013

  • Judy

    Excellent walk and Howard provides great SF history!

    1 · July 9, 2013

  • Sharon M.

    Great. Thanks for posting your route - so, though late, I was able to find you folks at park! As many mansions clustered by Lyon St steps, starting walk here is an idea.

    June 17, 2013

  • Chris

    This was great! So wonderful that you do these, Howard! We had to drop off early, so I can't believe we missed Robin!

    June 16, 2013

  • Howard S.

    We got back at 4:40 PM and we had a pretty big group of 61 which slows up the group. One of our members "Summer" helped me do the walk. Several of our members say that when we reached the "Mrs. Doubtfire House" they saw and talked to a man in a black Lexus who looked exactly like Robin Williams. One member also said that it was a very special kind (extra long) of Lexus that is very expensive. It is a good chance it was him. When we approached the house there were a bunch of people there taking photos of themselves and the house.

    1 · June 15, 2013

    • janelle

      It was Robin, he was driving with the drivers window down. He waited patiently for 50 people crossing the street, btw.

      2 · June 15, 2013

  • kiran

    Thanks! it was a gr8 walk..

    June 15, 2013

  • Sherry

    How come you were't good to see me

    June 15, 2013

  • Don S.

    Didn't make it. Sorry.

    June 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry wont come, next time!

    June 15, 2013

  • Tammy A.

    Touchy tummy last night, still recovering, being prudent & staying home. Catch you next time.

    June 15, 2013

  • Maureen

    Gonna bow out with this many people - will check for a later one!

    June 15, 2013

  • Jill I.

    I REALLY want to see the houses but that group is just a little too big for me! Have fun!

    June 14, 2013

    • Howard S.

      They really won't all show up. Usually only half show up, but with great weather more than half show up. The truth is I don't know how many will show up. I could schedule it again in about 6 weeks and less will probably show up. We always do it right before Halloween and that gets real big turnouts because of the Halloween decorations.

      June 14, 2013

    • Jill I.

      I would love that! Or both! The same walk in a couple of weeks and/or the Halloween walk in the neighborhoods! Keep us posted! Thank you!

      June 15, 2013

  • Lily Y.

    Can't make it after all. Sorry!

    June 15, 2013

  • Alfonso

    Have a great walk.

    June 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry i cancelled. Next time, perhaps?

    June 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    forget it, i found it!

    June 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    What is the estimated time of return?

    June 13, 2013

  • Karen K.

    This sounds great! I have bad backs problems-would this involve lots of steep streets? Thanks.

    June 13, 2013

    • Howard S.

      It is impossible for me to know if there are too many steep streets and what you consider to be steep. All you can do is try and if it is too much than you may leave early at any time without penalty.

      June 13, 2013

  • Meredith

    How do I get to whole foods via bart from the penisula?

    June 12, 2013

    • Howard S.

      One way is by getting off at the Embarcadero BART Station and walking to the nearby North East corner of Sacramento & Davis Streets. Then get on the #1 California bus, and then get off at Van Ness Avenue. From there it is a very short walk to the Whole Foods. The bus fare is $2 cash for adults.

      June 13, 2013

  • thu

    Hi Howard I am going to be late. Do you know where you will be around 12:30?

    June 12, 2013

    • Howard S.

      No, but one can wait in front of the Starbucks at California & Spruce and sometime after that we will arrive there.

      June 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    It's my first time and I'll be there alone, because my friend can't make it. But I'm looking forward to walk together !

    June 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry. Turns out that I'll need to work that day and won't be able to join you all. Have a fantastic walk!

    June 11, 2013

  • Brenda G.

    Excited about this event! :)

    June 11, 2013

  • SALLY

    Every time I see these meetups I become very enthuiastic
    about taking them....I think they are the best..... however I
    can only walk about 3 miles. Do you ever do shorter jaunts/,

    June 11, 2013

    • Howard S.

      The only walk we do that is about 3 miles long is our Telegraph Hill Walk, but it is just as long in time because of all of the historic places we visit. One may leave the walks early, but should let me know when leaving the group.

      June 11, 2013

  • Karl

    Myself and a friend.

    June 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm so excited to be there !

    June 10, 2013

  • Francine

    Not this time. Enjoy the walk.

    June 10, 2013

  • Cheri

    looking forward to this

    June 10, 2013

  • Jade C.

    First walk + site seeing in SF. Looking forward to meeting you all.

    June 8, 2013

  • Rich H.

    First walk with this group. I'm looking to seeing the great mansions and making some new friends

    June 6, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    out of town

    June 3, 2013

  • Alfonso

    Will need to make sure that my camera is charged.

    June 2, 2013

  • Kelli V.

    This sounds like a BLAST! I'm very excited to share this adventure with all of you.See you soon!!

    May 28, 2013

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