Ahhh, the Painted Ladies of San Francisco. What is it about these painted ladies that makes them so alluring, especially in a city full of alluring sights?
No doubt about it, San Francisco is an incredibly picturesque city. Honestly, if you’re not paying attention you might trip over a tourist attraction because they are EVERYWHERE. I mean we’ve got bridges, cable cars, the two crookedest streets in the world, a VERY famous park, a renowned hippie haven, a storied prison and I could go on and on.
With such a wealth of attractions, it’s easy to take it all for granted, which I do most of the time. However, one of the attractions I never seem to take for granted are the Painted Ladies at Alamo Square. Every time I see them I’m like “Damn they’re pretty.” I mean, they are pretty in and of themselves, but they also frame a gorgeous view of the city behind them. And they do kind of look like painted ladies.
The term painted ladies was first coined in 1978 by writers Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larson in their book “Painted Ladies–San Francisco’s Resplendent Victorians.” Any Victorian or Edwardian homes that use three or more colors to highlight their architectural details are considered painted ladies. The term is not specific to the postcard picture-perfect homes across the street from Alamo Square Park, but if you are in San Francisco and ask anyone to take you to or point you in the direction of the painted ladies that’s where you will end up.
The Ladies, which are also referred to as Postcard Row or The Six Sisters, live on 710 to 720 Steiner Street. They were built between 1892-1896 and are proud survivors of the 1906 earthquake. Oh, and they don’t just sit there looking pretty, people actually live in them. I imagine the residents must have to keep their drapes closed at all times otherwise they’ll end up in all kinds of photographs whether they want to or not.
710-720 Steiner Street San Francisco, CA
I showed you mine, now show me yours.
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