When the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire wiped the city’s slate clean, the wealthy stood around the burned rubble of their Nob Hill homes and took a cool, hard look at San Francisco Bay.
The best view in the city was in Pacific Heights, and with that swathe of real estate now up for grabs the big money built there and settled in.
Through the Great Depression and both World Wars, the residents of Pacific Heights built mansions in an ex-frontier town that now sell for nearly $3,280 per square foot.
Today’s buyers, however, have given this slice of San Francisco the name “Billionaire’s Row.” And those billionaires include a lot of tech names mingling with San Fran’s “Old Money” crowd.
In the 1870s, the highest hills overlooking San Francisco Bay were filled with laborers enjoying a building boom in America's tenth largest city -- thousands of miles beyond the frontier.
The building boom of the 1870s, however, was just a shadow of the rebuilding that took place after the the 1906 'quake.
In the years after 1906, many of Nob Hill's wealthy residents moved to Pacific Heights and changed it from a place of plain homes built for about $US1,000 on small lots, to a place like this:
The hilltop is also blessed with a mild micro-climate that is said to be clearer than other areas of the city.
The neighbourhood seems so affluent and homogeneous that some call Pacific Heights, 'Specific Whites.'
And its residents are very wealthy. Pacific Heights is the most expensive neighbourhood in the United States.
Fifty-six billionaires live in the Bay Area. Twenty live in San Francisco and many of those people live in Pacific Heights.
The San Francisco Chronicle says Pacific Heights is 'populated by impossibly groomed and outfitted locals who seem capable of strolling through a windstorm without having a hair get out of place.'
Pacific Exchange was founded in 1882 and was one of the more august San Francisco institutions for generations.
With the rear of the house overlooking San Francisco Bay, there wasn't a bad view to be had from the property.
A stone's throw away from the former stock exchange chairman's home, Oracle founder Larry Ellison lives in this $US40 million home.
San Francisco society's grande dame Denise Hill told Vanity Fair that her new tech neighbours are: '(O)ne-dimensional and can only talk about one thing. I'm used to brilliant men in my life who leave their work, and they have many other interests. New people eventually will learn how to live. When they learn how to live, I would love to meet them.'
Hale makes an exception for Marissa Mayer, who was once rumoured to be buying this house. (The rumour turned out to be false.) 'Marissa is something which I like. Marissa has a handsome husband, in love, beautifully dressed, a lady. I don't go for this slob culture ...'
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