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St. Francis Wood

Long one of San Francisco's most affluent neighborhoods, the charming enclave of St. Francis Wood still benefits from the efforts of the city planners, architects and landscapers who set out to create one of the country's first true residential parks back in 1912. Inspired by the ideals of the City Beautiful movement, spearheaded by famed architect Daniel Burnham, homes in St. Francis Wood are still coveted for their views, harmony with the surrounding environment and classical designs. In fact, at the time it opened to home buyers, this neighborhood boasted the highest concentration of residences designed by prominent architects of the era -- such as Julia Morgan and supervising architect John Galen Howard -- in all of San Francisco. By emphasizing beauty in the surrounding landscape and a sense of serenity in the curvilinear street plan, those early planners set the bar high for urban living. Today, landscape maintenance for the towering eucalyptus trees, lush greenbelts and gorgeous fountain and terraced plaza is managed by the very active homeowner's association. When it comes to pride of ownership, St. Francis Wood dwellers are in a class by themselves. Community standards set over a century ago dictated not only such quality of life issues as where one could park a horse, but also established a ban on businesses that continues today. Fortunately, the bustling West Portal neighborhood is just a few blocks north. Walk down this charming avenue and you'll feel you've gone back in time, only to find all of today's conveniences. A Muni line runs right through the West Portal to zip commuters downtown.

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