The rear of the Mark Hopkins mansion viewed looking north from down around Pine Street.  Circa 1890’s

Hopkins may have had the most impressive of all the "Big Four" mansions. It was a castle, built of wood and painted to look like stone, on a scale any feudal lord would envy. The gray towers were illuminated at night and could be seen for many miles south of the City. Hopkins himself never lived there, in fact took little interest in the place as it was being built. He was happy to putter around in his vegetable garden behind the simple home he lived in down the hill. Mark Hopkins just wrote the checks, and his wife Mary, directed the construction. He gave her carte blanche, letting her indulge a passion for fanciful ornamentation that drove several designers to despair. Intricate mosaics, enormous murals, inlaid hardwoods, and lavish furnishings clashed in a wild hodge-podge of styles that could charitably be called “eclectic,”with a price tag of around three million dollars.     Respectfully taken from STREET SECRETS by David B. Eames  Published by Gem Guides Book Company 1995

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