Fortunatus Traveller House

Built in the San Francisco Stick Style as a single-family two-story house with basement. Water service was requested February 20, 1888, in the name of F. D. (Fortunatus Dow) Traveller. Telephone directories show his residence as 104 Webster just prior to the construction of his new home.

The California Architect and Building News for February 15, 1888, listed construction of this house by Alameda architect and builder August R. Denke at a cost of $4,500, for one “F. S. Traveller.” The San Francisco Chronicle on October 6, 1887, reported the purchase of the lot, originally 61 feet wide, by Lewis W. McGlauflin for $2,400, subject to a mortgage of $1,000.

The first occupants of this home, previously addressed as 30 Fair Oaks, were drayman Fortunatus Dow Traveller and his wife, the former Ida A. McGlauflin (they married in 1885) and Traveller’s widowed mother-in-law, Emeline McGlauflin. The Travellers moved to a new home at 1400 San Jose Avenue, Alameda, by 1891. They were no longer listed in San Francisco directories as of 1892. George E. Sexton, one of the proprietors of the San Francisco Last Factory, was listed at this address in 1891 and 1892. When the San Francisco Block Book was published in 1894, Jennie Sexton was shown as owner. On May 27, 1899, title was conveyed by the Sextons to William J. Kruse, a skilled metal worker, and his wife Anna. Two of the Kruse sons reportedly sold flowers grown on the property from a Mission Street flower shop which they opened in 1920. On October 1, 1922, title passed to funeral director Hugh Comisky and his wife Katherine. Ownership remained within the Comisky family until August 8, 1965.

The most significant change to the property was made about 1924 when a large tract at the top of the hill was being cleared for construction of the apartment building at 2 Fair Oaks. The Comisky family had a two-story Italianate house rolled down the hill to the southern half of their lot, where it was carefully tucked under the eaves of 68 Fair Oaks (notice how the roof line of 74 Fair Oaks extends over 68 Fair Oaks). One of the Comisky daughters, Kathleen Murphy, lived in the lower flat of the Italianate, now known as 72-74 Fair Oaks (also on this tour!), until 1946, when the property was divided by Mrs. Comisky. Frank and Kathleen Comisky thereafter became the owners of 68 Fair Oaks and retained the property until August 8, 1965.

The property has since been divided into two units (68-70 Fair Oaks) and has been renovated over the last several years. Most recently, we see the beautiful home having undergone a facelift with a new and beautifully painted exterior.