The listing of 2525 Webster sparked a discussion about 2550 Webster (a.k.a. The Bourn Mansion). And while we could have sworn we had previously profiled the San Francisco landmark clinker brick property, alas we had not.
Designed by Willis Polk (think the landmark Hallidie Building, 2820 Pacific, and Filoli down south) and built for William Bourn (think gold mines, PG&E, and the aforementioned Filoli as well) in 1896, the 27-room Pacific Heights mansion has since fallen into disrepair.
It is, however, currently home to the eccentric Arden Van Upp and her cats.
With its enormous second-floor ballroom, and two-story stained-glass windows, the Bourn Mansion was an ideal place for throwing wild parties in the ’70s. Great meals, fine wines, good drugs, the promise of sex in the air. Celebrities showed up: the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, the Pointer Sisters. Porn films were shot there.
But that’s all over now. The four-story Bourn Mansion stands in extreme disrepair. An estimated $2 million of work is needed to meet earthquake safety codes, more than the building is worth. The roof leaks and the wallpaper peels. Recent visitors say everything stinks of cat urine. The back yard is knee-deep in weeds, and garbage is heaped in a compost pile. Raccoons poke around in the filth. The party’s over.
Above estimates in 1998 dollars. And purchased for a reported $185,000 in 1973.
UPDATE: A plugged-in reader’s firsthand account:
I actually interviewed for a roommate position there in about 1979. Even then it it seemed a little toooo weird, and that is really saying something.
The women who I assume was Arden (based on the old SF Weekly article) told me at the time she paid $250,000 or so for it. Now that was a fabulous sum in 1979. I ended up looking at this because she was showing a one bedroom rental on upper Ashbury and I commented on the nice old wide plank floors; and she said that I seemed to know architecture and I might be interested in being her roommate….
I remember a huge full building width living room with a cheap little ghetto blaster stereo sitting on “one” of the walk-in size fireplace hearths. On the same floor was a conservatory room straight out of the Elizabeth Taylor “suddenly Last Summer”.