“Godfather of the Beats'” Potrero Hill Home Cuts Price

Back in April we clued you in on The Front Steps’ newest and most intriguing listing at 690-692 Wisconsin Street, a pair of flats on a deep Potrero Hill lot, with a third cottage unit and a whole lot of history to go with it.

Now we’ve got a new little wrinkle in the history of these homes: A price cut, down to $1.995M.

As we mentioned last time, this was the childhood home of Julia Bergman, historian and “Patron Saint” of City College libraries and their stirring Diego Rivera murals alike.

Bergman discovered that this was one of the oldest homes in the neighborhood, picking it out in an 1892 photo from the California Historical Society. Bergman’s family identified this image as “the original De Haro family home.”

The tragic De Haro family (who included the fifth Alcalde of San Francisco, Francisco de Haro) once owned all of this property, although it’s not clear which De Haros might have lived here or when.

According to the SF Beat Museum, radical poet Kenneth Rexroth once lived in one of these very Wisconsin Street units, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Jack Kerouac were just a couple of doors down, making Wisconsin Street a bit of a Beat beat at the time.

Historians and literary critics dubbed Rexroth the “Godfather of the Beats,” being older and better established. He sometimes lent a hand to help younger Beats break into the scene–for example, it was Rexroth who organized the 1955 reading of Howl at City Lights.

In reality, Rexroth didn’t particularly like a lot of Beat culture, and he had a much longer and more diverse career than many of those now more famous poets did. Isn’t that always the way?

Rexroth’s tenure here remembers a time when Potrero Hill was still a rough and tumble working neighborhood. And who will be these homes’ next notable residents? For $1.995M, it could be you–but only time will tell.

As always, if you have any questions you can contact us directly, or throw them in the comments below. Make sure to subscribe to this blog, or follow us on social media @theFrontSteps too. And please do consider giving us a chance to earn your business and trust when it’s time to buy or sell Bay Area property. People like working with us, and we think you will too.

Leave a Reply