Driving on Interstate 280 during the holidays, I was elated when I spotted several metal dinosaur sculptures emerging from the hillside of the high-net-worth hamlet of Hillsborough, 17 miles south of San Francisco. Even taking liberties with the highway’s 70 miles-per-hour speed limit, you can clearly see a Triceratops, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and a Brontosaurus now roaming the backyard of the Flintstone house, a quirky series of colorful domes that really stands out in this staid stretch of upscale suburbia.
Joining the trio of dinos are a woolly mammoth and a giraffe, formed from oxidized metal. Plus, the home’s front yard now sports a five-foot tall, multi-colored statue of a rooster, the Tyrannosaurus Rex’s closest living relative.
Overlooking the Crystal Springs Reservoir, the Flintstone House gets its unofficial but commonly-used name from its resemblance to something out of The Flintstones, a 1960s animated sitcom set in a cartoon stone age. Personally, I always thought the place looks like the buildings from the 1968 version of Planet of the Apes, where Charlton Heston gets harassed by talking gorillas on horseback. The house was something I looked forward to seeing during family trips up the Peninsula ever since its construction from shotcrete and rebar in 1976.
The 2,730-square-foot home was purchased in June 2017 for $2.8 million, down from the original asking price of $4.2 million in a rare recent instance of a Bay Area home actually decreasing in value. And public records show that the Flintstone House’s new owner is none-other-than Florence Fang, former owner of the San Francisco Examiner, and a longtime force in Bay Area media and politics.
While Fang is no stranger to local controversy — she took over the Examiner in a bit of Willie Brown approved business that helped clear the way for Hearst Corp to acquire the Chronicle in 2000 — she’s hardly who you’d expect to go around installing prehistoric creatures in well-to-do neighborhoods, making this chapter of the Peninsula’s weirdest home that much weirder.
While Fang didn’t return SF Weekly’s calls for comment on the dinosaurs, listing agent Judy Meuschke of Alain Pinel Realtors told the Mansion Global that the then-unidentified buyer intends to “preserve the home and enhance the landscaping.”
Consider the landscaping enhanced.