Blackstone Court

Unfinished History

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11 Blackstone Court, behind a private fence, part of the Blackstone Historic District just off the intersection of Franklin and Lombard behind the diagonal hotel.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

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The view across Franklin towards the opening of Blackstone Court behind the hotel.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

11 Blackstone Court (c.1850) is the most visible contributor to the Blackstone Historic District. The Blackstone Historic District is composed of only five buildings which remain from pre-1906 earthquake. They are sited on the former trail that led around Washerwoman’s Lagoon, and ran between the Presidio and the village of Yerba Buena, later named San Francisco. The 11 Blackstone building, which may have been moved here, is first documented on this site in 1893. Before 1899 it was raised a story by the Favilla family from North Beach, very early Italian-American residents in what became the Marina District.

The court and its buildings have survived primarily because Charles Abraham, who lived at #30 (1885 and enlarged in 1905) owned and operated the Western Nursery on this block from 1885 to 1947. As post-WWII housing demand reduced the size of the parcel, the last five buildings were saved and the access-limited district was designated in 1987. The Western Nursery was the last agricultural enterprise in the Cow Hollow, from which its name is derived.

—noodlingaround_sf on Instagram


Here is an 1858 segment of the Western Addition map showing the irregular layout of the Sparks Tract, with Blackstone running into it in the middle. Today's Blackstone Court runs in the perpendicular direction from this original one, but its odd orientation is a remnant of this long-ago layout of an early property claim in the dunes near Washerwoman's Lagoon.

Map courtesy David Rumsey collection

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1849 Eddy Re-survey.

Map courtesy David Rumsey Map Collection