This mansion belonged to William Bourn, the head of Spring Valley Water Company who had made his fortune from his Empire Mine near Grass Valley. He commissioned the house in 1897 and chose a young Willis Polk to design the townhouse in a Carolingian style. Polk had previously designed the offices and main residence at the Empire Mine, and contributed much of the design towards Bourn's magnificent estate, Filoli, on the Peninsula
Backstory and Context
In the 1970s the building was sold to eccentric Arden Van Upp, turning the classic Georgian home into a modern party pad. The building became known for lavish hedonism and attracted the likes of movie stars, rockers, and porn stars, all looking for a good time. Sadly, the good times came to an end, the building fell into disrepair, and Van Upp became a recluse, with only her cats for companionship.
The house was finally cleaned up and sold at auction in 2010, and despite assessments that repair would cost quite a bit more than the house is worth, it remains a Historical Landmark and still stands.
Bourn Mansion. Atlas Obscura. Accessed May 07, 2017. http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/bourn-mansion.
Here is Where I Live in San Francisco. Anusha. Accessed May 07, 2017. http://www.anusha.com/bourn.htm.
Boulware, Jack. The Fortress on the Hill. SF Weekly. Accessed May 07, 2017. http://archives.sfweekly.com/sanfrancisco/the-fortress-on-the-hill/Content?oid=2135996.