Notorious SF: Crocker Spite Fence

This 1878 Eadweard Muybridge Photo is something of an optical illusion. The Spite Fence appears to be located on the northwest part of the lot where the white mansion sits, but that's Collis P. Huntington's house, not Charles Crocker's. The Spite Fence and Mr. Yung's property were actually located in the northeastern part of the block occupied by the darker mansion - the one belonging to the spiteful Mr. Crocker.
Detail I
Detail II
The Crocker Spite Fence was destined to live in on San Francisco's memory from the time it was built in the 1800s by railroad baron Charles Crocker. He wanted to build his mansion on the square bordered by California, Taylor, Sacramento, and Jones Streets. Crocker, who consolidated the Southern Pacific and Central Pacific railroads, purchased all the lots on the block, but there was one holdout. Nicolas Yung, a German undertaker, declined to sell his property. Crocker's angry solution was to build his mansion on the available parcels and construct a tall fence around three sides of Yung's house. Yung fought back by placing a coffin with skull and cross bones on the roof of his house as a curse on Crocker. The wall surrounded Yung's house for the rest of Yung's life. After the undertaker's death, Crocker purchased the remaining lot from Yung's heirs and tore down the spite fence, which had come to symbolize the arrogance of the wealthy on Nob Hill. Today, Grace Cathedral is located on this site.

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