Mark Hopkins Mansion

Destroyed by fire
Also known as: Mark Hopkins Institute of Art
999 California Street, San Francisco, CA

English Gothic style mansion completed in 1880


Mark Hopkins Mansion

Photo New York Public Library


The Mark Hopkins Mansion was completed in 1880 after the death of the railroad magnate who died on March 29, 1878. His widow, Mary Frances Sherwood Hopkins, married Edward F. Searles, who designed much of the mansion in 1887 and the couple then moved to Massachusetts. Mary died in 1891 and the Hopkins Mansion passed to Searles. Her will was challenged by Timothy Hopkins, the adopted son of Mark and Mary. A settlement was reached in which Hopkins was awarded the contents of the mansion and Searles retained ownership of the property.

"In February 1893, Mr. Edward F. Searles donated the Hopkins Mansion to the University of California in trust for the San Francisco Art Institute for "instruction in and illustration of the fine arts, music and literature" and as San Francisco's first cultural center." - California Registered Historical Landmark No. 754

The catalog of the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art described the house noting; "The lot occupies about half a block, with frontage on California, Mason and Pine Streets. The architecture of the building is modern English Gothic in style, its pointed arches, steeply pitched roofs, spires and turrets giving it some what of a romantic, castellated effect in keeping with its lofty position. There are thirty four rooms in the house, exclusive of the underground labyrinth of stone and cement chambers devoted to heating, lighting and elevator plants, storage etc."

The mansion survived the earthquake of April 18, 1906 but was quickly consumed by the fire that followed the next day.

Update Log 

  • May 10, 2019: New photos from Richard Doody
  • May 10, 2019: Added by Richard Doody


  • Richard Doody