William Westerfeld House – San Francisco, California - Atlas Obscura

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William Westerfeld House

This Alamo Square mansion is rumored to have hosted satanic rituals and other occult practices. 

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The William Westerfeld house, an imposing Stick-style home sitting on the corner of Fulton Street in San Francisco, has amassed such a colorful history that is now considered one of the city’s designated landmarks. The home was built in 1889 by Henry Geilfuss, an architect local to the area who was commissioned by William Westerfeld to design the house for his family. Westerfeld, a confectioner born in Germany, passed away shortly after the house was built, in 1895. The building was subsequently sold to John Mahony, best known for building the St. Francis Hotel and the Palace Hotel.

Those who have called the William Westerfeld house “home” during Mahony’s ownership of the house include a group of Czarist Russians (who turned the ground-floor ballroom into a nightclub), a 50-member collective that called themselves the Calliope Company, filmmaker Kenneth Anger (who was known to keep the company of Satanists and Manson family members), and members of the band Family Dog.

In the 1970s, the house was purchased by a couple who went on to save it from an urban renewal project that claimed over 6,000 Victorian-era buildings in the Western Addition district of San Francisco. They ended up selling it to another couple, who ran a bed and breakfast out of the home before it was sold to its current owner, Jim Siegel.

Siegel, a San Francisco business owner, who has owned and renovated other historic Victorian homes in the area, purchased the Westerfeld house at a foreclosure auction for $750,000. He has turned the home into apartments and carried out extensive renovations, some of which have sought to restore the original features of the home (such as the aforementioned ground-floor ballroom). If you choose to make the pilgrimage out to see the Westerfeld house in person, you may be lucky enough to be greeted by Siegel himself, who maintains that his hope for the house is that it will one day become a house museum. And if you’re at all concerned about the Satanic stuff, don’t worry—Siegel had the house blessed by Buddhist monks immediately after he purchased it.

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October 11, 2022

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