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Heritage 50: Receiving One of Our First Easements

[Alioto ceremony 1083 Dolores, October 24, 1973] Mayor Joseph Alioto cutting ceremonial ribbon with oversized scissors. Home owner Bill Dodge in top hat. Dodge had restored former Matson house from stucco modernization. OpenSFHistory / wnp25.10371.jpg

#ThrowbackThursdays: In 1973, Heritage began a new program to expand the use in San Francisco of the facade easement as an innovative means of historic preservation. William (Bill) Dodge, the owner of a beautiful and expertly rehabilitated Queen Anne Victorian at 1083 Dolores Street, transferred a facade easement on his home to Heritage at a ceremony on October 24, 1973. Mayor Joseph Alioto joined the festivities, leading the ribbon-cutting and presenting a special award to Dodge for his contribution to the preservation of historic San Francisco.

A preservation easement is a legal agreement between a property owner and Heritage to preserve and protect the building’s character-defining features in perpetuity. This legal instrument ensures the protection of architecturally and historically significant structures by limiting the owner’s right to demolish the building or to make destructive alterations.

A clipping from the San Francisco Examiner on October 24, 1973, showing the dramatic restoration of Dodge’s home on 1083 Dolores. After five months of restoration work, the home, previously stuccoed over, was “un-modernized” and brightly painted.

The basic premise of the preservation easement agreement requires the owner to seek pre-approval from Heritage for any significant change to features protected under its terms. Through the receipt of a facade easement such as the one donated by Dodge, Heritage accepts an obligation to review proposed changes to the building, and the owner, in return, can take a significant charitable deduction.

The home of Bill Dodge at 1083 Dolores Street in October 1973. Man waving in window from corner tower. Red, white, and blue bunting over entry after rededication. OpenSFHistory / wnp25.10484.jpg

Heritage has one of the largest preservation easement programs in the West, and is one of very few organizations in San Francisco with a program to receive, administer, and enforce preservation easements. To read more about this program, visit

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