Saturday, August 28, 2021

Spirits of the City: The Bizarre Lives Of A Pacific Heights Mansion

Gary Kamiya and Paul Madonna recount the history of the Whittier Mansion in San Francisco at Gazette.

The original owner was paint magnate William Franklin Whittier. His son Billy died at a relatively young 52. If reports of seeing ghosts in the mansion have any basis, Ms. Madonna suspects Billy.

"In April 1941, the Whittier family sold it for $44,000 to the Nazi government, which turned it into the German Consulate."
Then came war. Then peace.
"The Whittier Mansion was held by the Office of the Alien Property Custodian until 1947, when it was sold again."
Five years pass.
"From 1952 to 1955 it housed philosopher, educator, author and Great Books editor Mortimer Adler’s Institute for Philosophical Research, a unique think tank where Adler and 20 (!) fellows did the research that led to the two-volume work The Idea of Freedom."
Then following year it was sold the the California Historical Society, and in 1993 sold again for use as a private residencce.

For more on the Institute for Philosophical Research, see Philosopher at Large: An Intellectual Autobiography (1977), by Mortimer J. Adler, pages 92, 233, 261, 267-281.

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