VIGNETTE > Wildwood

John Finn House – MVN 1624

In 1890, William Steele bought a seven-acre parcel on the uphill side of Miller Ave. and built a house on it (now #180). In 1901, he sold the property to John and Eva Finn. In the 1880s, John Finn had founded the J.H. Finn Metal Works in San Francisco. The house slid down the hill in the 1906 earthquake. The Finns replaced it with a sturdy house — 8500 sq. ft. on a 30 ft. foundation supporting 12”x12” beams The design was influenced by the renowned architect Bernard Maybeck, a friend of the Finns from the days when they lived in Berkeley. The Finns named their home “Wildwood”.

John Finn Pump House – MVN 0274

They maintained beautiful gardens on the hillside. The stone building at the bottom of the property was a pump house. Well water was pumped up to a tank at the top of the property for irrigating the extensive terraced gardens and fish ponds on the hillside. The 1910 census lists the following occupants: Head of Household, John Finn,; his wife, Eva Finn; two sons, Richard and John; four daughters, Eva, Ruth, Grace and Elizabeth; a Japanese couple, Isao Haramo, a cook, and his wife Kiyo, a maid; Albert Christenson, a gardener. Mrs. Eva Finn died in the flu epidemic of 1918. A house was built next door at 200 Miller for their son Robert Finn, his wife and their young children so as to be close to John Finn who continued to live at “Wildwood”.