VICTORIAN ALLIANCE HOUSE TOUR – In Cole Valley, Sunday, October 16th

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Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Celebrating its 38th Annual House Tour, the Victorian Alliance of San Francisco features homes of Cole Valley, a geographically cohesive San Francisco neighborhood nestled beneath Sutro Forest, adjacent to Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury and UC-San Francisco Medical Center. This close knit community is proud of its unique architectural character and is dedicated to historic preservation. The tour is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, October 16th, 1:00–5:00.

Guests on this self guided tour will visit the interiors of four lovingly restored homes and an historic church in a walkable lower level neighborhood, with three higher elevation bonus residences accessible by complimentary shuttle bus. Representing a variety of styles —from expansive Victorian to cozy cottage— these examples of architectural diversity date from the 1880s to 1933. While all residences have retained their original period exteriors, several reflect contemporary interiors adapted to the lifestyles of their resident families.

Docents will provide historical background on each house’s architect, contractor, craftsmen, and the families who settled Cole Valley in the 19th century. Complimentary light refreshments are served from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm as a welcome reward for tour-participants. Touring tips: Comfortable walking shoes and attire are recommended, and stair climbing should be anticipated in some residences.

All tour goers will receive a handsomely illustrated program with clearly marked routes and shuttle bus locations. This popular event frequently sells out, so early ticket purchase before October 10th is highly recommended. If available, day-of-tour tickets will be sold at the tour starting point at the intersection of Masonic and Waller.

Click on the houses to order tickets on-line:
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The Victorian Alliance of San Francisco was founded in 1973 by a group of concerned citizens living primarily in the Mission District where more and more Victorian homes were deteriorating or, worse, being systematically demolished. The neighborhood was quickly losing the beauty and gracious living that historic homes provide. San Francisco was also losing one of its internationally known neighborhoods as well as one of the important features that create the character of the City: Victorian architecture.

Two of the principal objectives of the founders was to raise awareness of the beauty and livability of Victorian homes and to preserve San Francisco’s architectural heritage. These objectives remain today as centerpieces of Victorian Alliance endeavors. The founders adopted the Alliance’s name, Bylaws, and the official Victorian Alliance logo, created by the late Bill Churchwar, artist and one of the original members. The logo is a rendering of The Stone Mansion built in 1883 and one of the surviving stately homes in the Mission District.

Interest soon grew beyond the Mission District to citywide concerns. As the organization expanded, it joined other efforts to preserve the heritage and character of San Francisco. One of the first citywide preservation battles that the Alliance helped wage was to prevent the demolition of the City of Paris, a historic department store facing Union Square. The battle was lost. Another early preservation effort the Alliance supported was the prevention of wholesale demolition of neighborhoods in order to construct a crosstown freeway. This battle was won.

Click here for more information: The Victorian Alliance



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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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