Rose Wilder Lane’s San Francisco Home

For years as a tour guide in Burr Oak, IA, Laura Ingalls Wilder fans had shared stories with me about their own “Little House” site adventures. As a child, it was a goal of mine to visit each of the well-known sites which I accomplished back in 2012. After years of hearing visitors’ stories about their experiences at some of the lesser known sites the family lived at, such as Westville, Florida; Cuba, New York; Danbury, Connecticut, etc., I decided to start a new goal. This fall I finally had the opportunity to visit San Francisco and see Rose Wilder Lane’s home.

Rose Wilder moved to San Francisco in 1908 and married Claire Gillette Lane on March 24, 1909. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1918; they had no surviving children.

In 1915, Laura Ingalls Wilder, visited San Francisco, California, to spend time with her daughter who was a reporter for The Bulletin, a local newspaper. Wilder wrote letters home to her husband, Almanzo, describing her time in California and her experiences at the Panama Pacific International Exposition, aka The World’s Fair. These letters were later complied into the book, West from Home.

During this time, Rose and her husband lived in a neighborhood called Russian Hill, which was a part of its original “Seven Hills of San Francisco.” Russian Hill is located just north of Nob Hill and south of Fisherman’s Wharf. Many people know Russian Hill from one of its famous streets, Lombard Street, which is considered the most crooked street in the world.

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The home of Rose Wilder Lane around 1915.
1019 Vallejo Street, San Francisco, CA.

In 1906, an earthquake and fire destroyed some of the neighborhood. Over time, the goat path was replaced with a terraced stairway and today, as you descend the stairs to Taylor Street you will find a small park sits at the top of the hill on Vallejo Street.  The Russian Government dedicated a plaque in the park, in honor of the men who were buried on Russian Hill.

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Russian Government’s plaque in honor of the men buried here.


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A close up of the English side of the plaque.

During my visit to San Francisco, I was able to see Rose’s home and enjoy the park. Visitors may enjoy views from several directions including, the east bay area with the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge and Alcatraz. Other notable residents of the neighborhood include several writers: Stewart Alsop II, Gelett Burgess, Neil Cassady, Jack Kerouac and Mayor Gavin Newsom.

view from roses home

The view from Rose’s home looking at the East Bay Area.

Read more about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s experience in San Francisco: 

For more information about Rose’s home visit:

For more information about Laura at the Panama Pacific International Exposition visit:


2 comments on “Rose Wilder Lane’s San Francisco Home

  1. John A. Bass says:

    Beautiful, Tessa! I am so very glad you got to go visit! Did you take Trini’s book along to help as a guide? There are so much to see and do there. Rose’s Leavenworth Street apt., is where she first met Gillette. — During Laura’s 1915 visit, she stayed at the house on Russian Hill with Rose. Gil was there, too, but only at Rose’s request. See, they were already sorta separated, but Rose didn’t want Laura to know that yet. They played if off well, but she’d later tell her the truth. — I really enjoyed my visit, because I got to visit inside the house, and see their actual rooms. I have even urged Carol Rogers to do a Bed-n-Breakfast for LH researchers! — Bessie lived at 1036 Vallejo Street, which is catty-cornered from Rose’s (Carol’s) house. — Did you have the opportunity to visit each of the places she/they lived there?

  2. Laura Ingalls Wilder visited that location in 1915; I visited in 2015. It is as she described it in ‘West From Home’
    From one direction, you can see San Francisco Bay; from another, the Pacific Ocean. There is a small grassy area, a hidden park in between where you can get both views.

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