Sea Cliff is famous for its mansions, and every kid growing up in San Francisco knows it's the best place to go trick-or-treating if you want full-sized candy bars.
But in 1995, one of those famed houses sank into the ground—thanks to a storm similar to those that have pounded the Bay Area in recent weeks.
Torrential rain caused a 100-year-old brick sewer to rupture, with the resulting gush of subterranean water eroding the soil—eventually leading to a section of the street caving in, according to a firefighter in a televised news segment about the event.
The sinkhole that developed under the unoccupied tudor-style home—which had been put up for sale in 1993 at $2.6 million—prompted the evacuation of 23 other buildings.
It was all captured on video—and the footage is absolutely breathtaking.
Later reports blamed improper sewer maintenance in an eerily similar parallel to the flooding SF has experienced in recent months and which some claim is due to backed-up storm drains.
Complicating matters was the fact that the sunken house bordered Ansel Adams’s boyhood home at 129 24th Ave. (The family later built a second home at 131 24th Ave. and connected the two with a hallway). Adams moved to Carmel in 1962, and a local architect moved in.
After the 1995 incident, neighbors wanted to turn the then-empty lot into a grove to honor the famed photographer, but they lost their bid. The lot was sold and part of it remains empty.
Julie Zigoris can be reached at [email protected]