The following description of the Bush Street-Cottage Row Historic District is excerpted from the
San Francisco Planning Code: Article 10, Appendix K.
The Bush Street– Cottage Row Historic District is a remarkably intact group of architecturally consistent Italianate and Stick residential buildings
constructed between 1870 and about 1885. It demonstrates several different modes of speculative housing during those years, from the mass builder The
Real Estate Associates, which developed whole square blocks, through investors John H. Smyth and Charles L. Taylor, who built houses to hold and rent
out for income, to the single homeowner. This District is rated high on local surveys and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Bush Street– Cottage Row Historic District comprises 22 residences, a walkway and a small park. There is continuity of height and setback;
houses step downhill evenly from the northeast to conform with the land contour; lots are narrow and deep. Almost all the houses were developed in
four groups, so that six on Bush Street are essentially identical to each other, as are three different ones on Bush Street, two on Sutter Street
and six on Cottage Row. All are two-story frame structures of Italianate or early Stick Style, with channel rustic siding, double-hung windows and
paneled entry recess. They are tall, narrow buildings with tall, narrow openings balanced by heavy, bracketed cornices on patently false fronts.
All except Cottage Row have bay windows on facade or rear.
Since they were originally built, the houses continued to be used as residences, with some alteration due to subdivision into units. At least
two residences were resurfaced, and one of these has been restored. The walkway of Cottage row continued until 1944 as part of a single piece of
private property with 2109– 2113 Bush Street and 1– 6 Cottage Row. The Cottage Row houses were separated into individual ownerships gradually from
1956–1967, and only on the last date was the walkway singled out as an individual holding separate from any house. Taylor himself had chosen the
name "Cottage Row," which was listed among San Francisco's streets as early as the 1886 Directory. In the 1930s the walkway was popularly called
"Japan Street," because the entire District was inhabited by Japanese-Americans until their internment during World War II. In the tiny rear yards
of Cottage Row they grew vegetables, which they offered for public sale at an informal weekly open market held every Saturday along the Row.