|Photo: Wikimedia Commons|
This is an interesting morsel of history. The S.F. Pacific Union Club was originally the private residence of James C. Flood. He acquired the large sand hill of a lot in 1882 and had it leveled in order to build his Italianate brownstone. It had 42 rooms and an army of servants including one person whose sole job was to polish the brass fence that surrounds this magnificent piece of architecture. The fence is still there, but without the daily polishes it has lost its shiny appearance which has now aged to a fine patina.
Because it was a brownstone mansion, and not the popular wooden Victorian design, it survived the 1906 earthquake and fire. Well, I say it survived, but not without its war wounds. In fact, the fire storm did sweep through the house, but the brownstone walls remained.
After the damage, the S.F. Pacific Union Club bought the mansion and commenced on some renovations and additions.
You can drive by or walk by the old mansion today, but don’t expect to be invited in. The club is a very exclusive gentlemen’s club whose membership is limited to 750. Only if a current member dies can a new one be added to the roles. It is interesting to note that women are not formally excluded from the organization, there just have never been any female members. Talk about your glass ceiling.
Historic Walks in San Francisco, by Rand Richards (Awesome book by the way).