Hanks House

The Hanks House is built on a lot that was originally part of a large lot owned by Emma G. Butler. Butler sold two lots (later 3455 and 3461 Pacific Avenue) to Abbot A. Hanks, and in 1914, Hanks hired architect George A. Schastey and contractor Louis Deibel to build the three-story (over garage), shingle-style house that stands today at 3455 Pacific.

Abbot Hanks was a chemist and assayer. The 1920 United States Census lists Abbot A. Hanks (age 50) living at 3455 Pacific with his wife Vesta J. Hanks (age 46), along with two daughters, Dorothy (age 12) and Nalley or Nancy (the documentation is unclear, age 7), as well as Vesta’s sister Mary Read (age 49) and her daughter, Gwyneth Read (age 20). The census says that Abbot was born in California and that his wife and sister-in-law were born in Halle, Germany.

Abbot died in 1939, and City records show that the Vesta J. Hanks Estate split the two lots in the early 1970s. The empty lot at 3461 Pacific was sold in 1972 and again in 1973. In 1974, a house was built on that lot.

The estate sold the Hanks’ residence at 3455 Pacific in 1972 to Sally G. Irish and Robert H. Goldsmith, who sold the house to Larry and Leandra Wasserman less than a year later. By 1979, the house was owned solely by Leandra. In 1998, Leandra (now Leandra Stewart) sold the house.

Architect George A. Schastey (1869–1933) was born in New York City. He graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1891 and started his architectural practice working for William Baumgartner in New York. In 1905 Schastey came to San Francisco to oversee the design of the interior of the Fairmont Hotel. Work was interrupted by the 1906 earthquake and fire, which destroyed the interior of the hotel. The hotel's new owner, Herbert Edward Law, hired Schastey to design and execute the Fairmont’s new interiors.

In 1907, Schastey formed the partnership Schastey and Vollmer, which specialized in interior decoration, furnishings, and hotel equipment. He dissolved the partnership in 1910 and worked on his own for the rest of his career. One of his largest jobs, completed for his former client Herbert Law, was the sprawling, 13,000-square-foot Laurison Estate in Portola Valley. He also worked on the Cliff House and the Liebes Building and was a consultant on the interiors of the Palace Hotel. In the late 1920s, Schastey started designing a home for Herbert Law’s daughter and worked on this building until his death in 1933. The Patricia Law Homestead was never completed. In 1998 the house was mostly untouched and contained many of the original details.

While still a free-standing home, the later construction of homes to the east and west have obscured the side windows that provided natural light. Several skylights were added over the years to address this issue.