In 1776 when San Francisco's first settlement was established on the Presidio, Cow Hollow was filled with freshwater springs, grassy meadows and sand hills inhabited by wildlife. It was not until the mid-1800s that settlers came to the area, then known as Spring Valley, and soon began farming around a large lagoon. It wasn't long before dairy farming became the predominant activity; hence the name Cow Hollow, which has survived to the present.
Broadway/Lombard/Van Ness and Lyon Streets
Known for its shops and pubs
As San Francisco rapidly expanded during the Gold Rush, the area continued to prosper and to become more fashionable. Prominent San Franciscans settled here and erected impressive mansions in the 1860s and 1870s, built in the ornate Victorian style.
The area was developing so rapidly that in 1891 all livestock were ordered out of Cow Hollow, and the lagoon was filled in to make way for houses. Cow Hollow became a residential area with the fanciful Victorian mansions giving way to the distinguished, yet comparatively more austere, Edwardian style of architecture. Fortunately, Cow Hollow sustained little damage in the earthquake and subsequent fire of 1906, and the beautiful, original architecture of the area can still be seen and admired today.
Union Street is the "main street" of San Francisco's historic Cow Hollow district and is renowned for its beautifully preserved Victorians and Edwardian's which house bed and breakfast inns, art galleries, antique stores, specialty shops and fine restaurants. Located between two of San Francisco's most fashionable neighborhoods - Pacific Heights and the Marina - Union Street offers all the charm and service of an old-fashioned shopping street where you can find virtually anything you need within walking distance.