Electrician Makes Incredible Find Inside The Walls Of Historical “Octagon House”.

The Octagon House on Gough Street in San Francisco, built between 1860 and 1861, is steeped in history. Its first proprietors were an immigrant couple from the east coast who met in the city and fell in love. Following the McElroy family’s departure, the home’s unusual design was severely damaged in the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that devastated 80% of the city. After nearly a century of being abandoned, allegations of ghosts, and narrowly avoiding demolition, the Octagon House was purchased by a historical society. When the renovations began, an electrician discovered something extraordinary within the building’s walls.

Separately, William McElroy and Harriet Shober relocated to San Francisco.

Harriet Shober moved from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to San Francisco in 1849. Her future husband, a wood miller named William C. McElroy, arrived in San Francisco two years later from Martinsburg, Virginia. Documents reveal that before coming to San Francisco, McElroy worked at flour mills in St. Louis, Missouri, according to the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in California.

A large fire had devastated nine blocks of buildings along the St. Louis waterfront in 1850, about the time he departed the city. It’s possible that this is why McElroy left for San Francisco, though it hasn’t been proven.

The plot of land was purchased by McElroy in 1859, the year they married.

In 1859, McElroy purchased a plot of land on the east side of Gough Street. Although it is unknown how they met, they married in the same year as William McElroy and Harriet Shober. Their wedding was registered on June 9, 1859, at San Francisco’s First Presbyterian Church on Stockton Street.

In 1860, the couple began construction of the Octagon House on the rural property. McElroy and Shober were both wealthy businessmen in their own right when they met in their early 40s, McElroy being two years Shober’s senior.

The House’s Designer Is Still Unknown.

In the 1840s, about 20 years before the Octagon House in San Francisco was built, designer Orson Squire Fowler was known for popularizing the octagon home concept. There are no documentation, however, that suggest Folwer was involved in the McElroy residence.

According to letters, it seems that McElroy and Shober were inspired by the idea of an octagon home and took it upon themselves to find a designer and hire workers to build it. There are no papers, however, that link any particular designer to the Octagon House.

It was constructed in the Cow Hollow area.

The home was built in Cow Hollow, a neighborhood of San Francisco that’s appropriately named for its roots in the cattle industry. It is situated between Russian Hill and the Presidio, alongside the Marina District.

Historically, cows grazed on the land that was also a neighborhood to fishermen. It is now a wealthy neighborhood with residences costing millions of dollars. Among the million-dollar homes sits the Octagon House, rooted in history.

The couple came from an upper-middle-class family.

In a letter, McElroy described his family as “pretty well off in the world of goods.” Not only was McElroy making good money as a miller, he was also the proprietor of Gough Gardens, according to city directories from 1863 to 1865.

His wife also made money of her own and was described in her obituary as “a lady of remarkable business ability and energy,” according to NSCDA. Shober personally owned several properties throughout San Francisco, including on Stockton Street between Clay and Washington streets.

From every window in the house, there are breathtaking views.

McElroy and Shober were extremely business savvy and enamored with the development of the City of San Francisco around them. Although Cow Hollow was a rural area at the time the Octagon House was built, McElroy noted the quick development happening all around the property.

Neighborhoods and buildings could be seen being built from all angles, with the unique shape of the house. In a letter, he wrote, “Look whichever way you will, and you observe happiness, prosperity, and wealth.”.

The original floor plan was a jumbled mess.

The Octagon House was originally built with two floors, each with four rooms. A winding staircase located in the middle of the house led to the second floor.

As with most historical octagon homes, the layout was totally bizarre– each room was behind multiple sets of doors. Guests and residents entered the home through a tight, triangular-shaped foyer with doors on all three walls. one door led to the parlor. Another led into the dining room.

The couple moved out of the house and rented it to well-heeled tenants.

In the 1880s, McElroy and Shober decided to move out of the Octagon House and rent it out to tenants. They weren’t ordinary renters, however.

One of the tenants was Daniel O’Connell, a journalist, actor, and poet who co-founded the Bohemian Club. The club, which had a headquarters in nearby Union Square, was made up of affluent businessmen, entrepreneurs, and artists. The club continues today and has members that include world leaders.

One Of The Worst Earthquakes In American History, The 1906 Earthquake.

A powerful earthquake struck the coast of Northern California at 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906, shaking the city of San Francisco to its core. Fires erupted throughout the city and continued to burn for days.

A powerful earthquake struck Northern California’s coast at 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906, shaking San Francisco to its core. The city was engulfed in flames, which raged for days.

The Octagon House had been severely harmed.

Although part of the house still remained after the 1906 earthquake, the Octagon House was in bad shape. During this time, it’s improbable that the McElroys still held the land.

By 1909 the Octagon house was no longer in their name and had been sold and purchased several times, according to records. By 1951, the property had been vacant for a long period of time and remained on the east side of Gough street, completely neglected.

A discovery inside the house nearly 100 years later, following a massive earthquake, was nothing short of amazing.

Pacific Gas & Electric purchased the property with the intent of demolishing the house.

In 1924, Pacific Gas & Electric purchase the McElroy Octagon House with the intention of taking apart the historical house and utilizing the lot for a substation. Under its ownership, the house remained vacant, and ironically, without electricity.

Runaways are said to have squatted at the house during this time. A ghost was soon detected. Every November 24th, the spirit could be heard climbing the old wooden staircase before falling from the second story with a loud, resounding, thump. However, the ghost was never identified as being linked to a lost soul.

Someone saved the house just before it was demolished.

In 1951, the NSCDA stepped in and purchased the house.

The Octagon House was scheduled for demolition when the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America purchased the neglected property in 1951. PG&E agreed to sell the house to the society for $1, so long as they took it off the lot.

The NSCDA made plans to move the house from its original location to the other side of Gough street, with plans for extensive renovations to preserve the historic building. They hired an electrician to install electricity in the house for the first time.

Something unusual happened at that point.

Renovations began in 1953, and an electrician discovered an anomaly.

After purchasing the Octagon House and moving it across the street from its original location, the NSCDA got to work on renovations. The group hired an electrician to install power in the ancient home after reconstructing the walls and frame.

The NSCDA began renovations after purchasing the Octagon House and relocating it across the street. The group hired an electrician to put power in the ancient home after the walls and frame were rebuilt.

Inside the wall, a tin box was discovered.

The electrician discovered a tin box inside the wall when drilling into the wall upstairs at the Octagon House. After all of these years, the house had been through a massive earthquake and decades of vacancy, where youths from the nearby juvenile center had broken into, as well as other runaways.

There were even rumors that the mansion was haunted by a ghost! There were numerous possibilities for what that tin box could contain, as well as who would have placed it there.

It Turned Out To Be A Time Capsule.

Inside the tin box was something more significant than the electrician could have ever imagined– it was a time capsule left by McElroy himself before the family left the Octagon House. The tin box had been there for for 100 years, and it had even survived the 1906 earthquake.

The electrician turned the time capsule over to the NSCDA since he knew it was a rare find. The society was ecstatic to find out what was on the inside.

It also included a photograph of their family.

Inside the time capsule, the society found a photograph and a pile of letters. Pictured is William McElroy, his wife Harriet Shober, their adopted daughter Emma Eliza, and their nephew Samuel A. Wolfe. According to McElroy’s letters found in the time capsule, Samuel was an artist. However, the couple disapproved of his chosen career path.

The society discovered a photo and a stack of notes inside the time capsule. William McElroy, his wife Harriet Shober, their adopted daughter Emma Eliza, and their nephew Samuel A. Wolfe are depicted in this photograph. Samuel was an artist, according to McElroy’s letters from the time capsule. His chosen work path, however, was not well received by the couple.

He wrote an article about the skyrocketing cost of real estate.

In one of McElroy’s letters, he expressed his disapproval of the high cost of real estate in San Francisco, an issue that is still relevant in the city nearly a century later.

In one of McElroy’s letters, he expressed his displeasure with San Francisco’s exorbitant real estate prices, a subject that remains pertinent almost a century later.

McElroy and Harriet were described as “quite good looking” in a letter.

McElroy’s inclusion that he and Harriet were a good-looking pair was perhaps the most entertaining item in the Octagon House time capsule. According to NSCDA, McElroy described himself and Harriet as “a really good-looking old couple” in the same letter that registered Emma’s adoption.

The pair seemed happy in his letter, despite the fact that they had not met until later in life, when they fell in love in San Francisco. After the Octagon House was purchased and rebuilt by the NSCDA, this shot shows the basement living room.

They Adopted A Daughter, according to the Time Capsule.

The time capsule discovered in the walls of the Octagon House included a letter written by William in 1861. Emma Eliza McElroy, their adopted daughter, was documented in the handwritten letter. At the time the letter was written, she was nine years old.

Emma was born in New York, according to census statistics, and her parents were born outside of America, according to NSCDA.

A Look Back at San Francisco’s History.

The Octagon House, which was built between 1860 and 1861, is historically noteworthy in and of itself. It’s astonishing that a time capsule buried on the property by its original owners was discovered over a century later.

The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America presently owns the home, which is located across Gough Street from its original location. It’s astonishing to see the Octagon House still standing after the 1906 earthquake destroyed more than 80% of San Francisco.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.