The Founding

The Victorian Alliance of San Francisco was founded in 1973 by a group of concerned citizens living primarily in the Mission District where more and more Victorian homes were deteriorating or, worse, being systematically demolished. The neighborhood was quickly losing the beauty and gracious living that historic homes provide. San Francisco was also losing one of its internationally known neighborhoods as well as one of the important features that create the character of the City: Victorian architecture.

Two of the principal objectives of the founders was to raise awareness of the beauty and livability of Victorian homes and to preserve San Francisco's architectural heritage. These objectives remain today as centerpieces of Victorian Alliance endeavors.

The founders adopted the Alliance's name, Bylaws, and the official Victorian Alliance logo, created by the late Bill Churchwar, artist and one of the original members. The logo is a rendering of The Stone Mansion built in 1883 and one of the surviving stately homes in the Mission District.

Interest soon grew beyond the Mission District to citywide concerns. As the organization expanded, it joined other efforts to preserve the heritage and character of San Francisco. One of the first citywide preservation battles that the Alliance helped wage was to prevent the demolition of the City of Paris, a historic department store facing Union Square. The battle was lost. Another early preservation effort the Alliance supported was the prevention of wholesale demolition of neighborhoods in order to construct a crosstown freeway. This battle was won.

"A Brief History of the Victorian Alliance of San Francisco" prepared by Mary Ellen Blake and Donald Beilke