San Francisco’s Postcard Row Painted Ladies

Six charming Queen Annes show off the City by the Bay's more colorful side.

Postcard Row of Queen Anne Painted Ladies houses in San Francisco, California, picture
The photogenic houses of Postcard Row.
Wichai Cheva Photography / Shutterstock

Among all the refurbished Victorian houses in San Francisco, the most photographed would have to be the six three-story Queen Annes on the city's famed Postcard Row in the 700 block of Steiner Street. Built between 1892 and 1896 by developer Matthew Kavanaugh, these gingerbread showplaces survived both the 1906 earthquake and draconian attempts at urban renewal in the 1960s. Today, thanks to the efforts of preservation-minded residents, their pastel facades combine with others on Alamo Square to create an elegant visual feast.

Artful Aliases: The photogenic homes are also called the Painted Ladies and the Six Sisters.

A Seventh Sister: Kavanaugh's own 1892 mansion at 722 Steiner (far left) was slated for demolition in 1976 before being restored. In 2014, it was sold for $3.1 million and modernized inside.

Capital Gain: The houses initially sold for $3,500, or about $90,000 in today's dollars.

Home Movies Postcard Row: appears in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and The Woman in Red (1984) and in the opening credits of the TV sitcom Full House.

Technicolor Dreamcoast: In 1997, the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America tapped 712 Steiner (second from right) as "Best Painted House in America."


This article was first published in November 2007 and updated in July 2018.