$1.2 million, 13 offers, $400K above asking. But a new story about the sale of the shack at 1644 Great Highway — a "sure flip" — flips the script entirely. What many thought was a straightforward story of San Francisco's real estate market gone berserk — while maybe that too — is also a story of place, time, heart, and home from San Francisco magazine.
"The house was pegged as yet another example of the outrageous San Francisco real estate market," writes Sarah Stodder, "and the realtor’s photos of broken cabinets, grimy linoleum floors, and exposed sockets seemed to portend its inevitable teardown." But From 1975 to 1997, Marjorie Alette lived in what was "once a gleaming example of the funky eclecticism that’s indigenous to the Outer Sunset.'"
Wading into the history of the area, Stodder heads back to the scrappy Carville days, with which you may or may not be familiar:
The first people to put down roots in the mound of sand that later became 1644 Great Highway were not Ohlone Indians or Spanish rancheros, both of whom generally steered clear of the blustery dunes west of Twin Peaks. It was a group of nonconformists who turned abandoned streetcars into a beachside bohemian colony that became known as Carville. Ever since the United States government had surrendered the “Outside Lands” to the city of San Francisco in 1868, the dunes had been a no-man’s-land of squatters and speculators. Municipal services were close to nonexistent: Water had to be sucked from wells by windmills. Wild rabbits and beach potatoes were among the only reliable sources of food. But the few hundred San Franciscans who inhabited Carville shaped it into a fashionable, romantic place where artists caroused late into the night and swam in the chilly waters at the edge of the world.
But let's fast forward many words into the piece, all of which you should read, and many years through the life of the neighborhood to arrive at what you really want to know. How did Alette and other previous inhabitants of the shack react when they heard that their funky little former home had fetched $1.2 million?
Though the news catches them off guard, it surprises no one. Alette, Childs, and Sandy Troxel count 1644 Great Highway as among the best places they’ve ever lived. Both Quackenbos and Mougenkoff would have bought the property in an instant if they could have afforded it. “If you look at the house itself, maybe you would say it’s not worth it,” says Mougenkoff. “But if you look at the spirit of the house and how it feels, yes. It’s magical.”
Previously: This Shack Just Sold For $1.2 Million