San Francisco’s Postcard Row

Six charming Queen Annes show off the City by the Bay’s more colorful side.

Postcard Row of Queen Anne houses in San Francisco

The photogenic houses of Postcard Row.

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Six charming Queen Annes show off the City by the Bay's more colorful side.

Among all the refurbished Victorian houses in San Francisco, the most photographed would have to be the six three-story Queen Annes on the city's famed Postcard Row in the 700 block of Steiner Street. Built between 1892 and 1896 by developer Matthew Kavanaugh, these gingerbread showplaces survived both the 1906 earthquake and draconian attempts at urban renewal in the 1960s. Today, thanks to the efforts of preservation-minded residents, their pastel facades combine with others on Alamo Square to create an elegant visual feast.

  • Artful Aliases The photogenic homes are also called the Painted Ladies and the Six Sisters.
  • A Seventh Sister Kavanaugh's own 1892 mansion at 722 Steiner (far left) was slated for demolition in 1976 before being restored.
  • Capital Gain The houses initially sold for $3,500,or about $87,000 in today's dollars.
  • Home Movies Postcard Row appears in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and The Woman in Red (1984) and in the opening credits of the TV sitcom Full House.
  • Technicolor Dreamcoast In 1997, the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America tapped 712 Steiner (second from right) as "Best Painted House in America."

Photography by Catherine Karnow

This article was first published in November 2007. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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Postcard Row—710 through 720 Steiner Street, on Alamo Square in San Francisco—consists of private residences not open for tours.

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