Mission District’s ‘Oldest House’ is Up For Sale

It cost about $500 to build in the 1850’s, but now you can own this piece of S.F. history (for $849,000).

It might not look too old, but the house above was originally built in the early 1850s at the cost of around $500. It is now on sale for $849,000 as a tenancy-in-common (TIC), in which one section of this house — that is the oldest in the Mission and may be San Francisco’s oldest house still standing  — is for sale.

Mission Local reports that this house at 24th and Hampshire streets which might be the oldest house in San Francisco is for sale. The “oldest house” claim is based on this San Francisco Planning Department South Mission Historic Resource Survey that lists the house as being built in 1855. But there is some competition on that title, as a Haight Ashbury house known as the Abner Phelps House may have been built as early as 1850.

While there are claims that the Mission District house in question here was built in 1849, these claims appear to be based on historical reports that the original owners “arrived here in 1849.”

The Mission District’s oldest house was apparently rooted up and moved about 100 feet from its original location sometime before 1861, a fairly common practice in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Original owner George Treat (of Treat Street fame!) also built San Francisco’s first horse race track close to this Mission District parcel.

“Appears to be the original home of pioneer settlers George and John Treat,” states historical footnotes from the Planning Department. “1894 block book shows ownership by Jno. Treat.”

Of course, the Redfin listing for this house and Planning Department records both say the structure was built in 1907, indicating it was a post-1906 quake rebuild. But it’s likely that previous records were lost in the earthquake fires and the records just started over in 1907, and there is historical documentation of the house being there prior to 1907.

The Abner Phelps house in the Haight is likely the older of the two, but neither of these houses is in the running for the oldest building in San Francisco. That distinction goes to the Mission Dolores church basilica, the little structure just south of the main church that has been there since 1791.

Update: Mission Local has posted a sad and heartbreaking follow-up to this story, reporting that a Latino family who had lived there for 32 years was evicted using the Ellis Act so an LLC could separate it and sell it as four separate TICs. The whole saga deserves a read.

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