The Fading Residential Homes of San Francisco

During the fifties there was a boom in the construction industry.  Medium-sized residential homes were built to meet the high demand of the rising middle-class shortly after the war.  They followed the architecture style used in the former Panama Canal Zone.

These houses were usually painted white.  They had very thick walls (about four inches thick), high ceilings, ample backyards, red-tile roofs, and high-quality building materials.  They were called “the Bellavista style”.  Neighborhoods like Bellavista, San Francisco, La Exposición and Perejil were populated with these elegant residential buildings.

Over the years, the population in the city grew, and the Bellavista residences were replaced with boring matchbox towers.  Today very few of the Bellavista houses still stand.

In the picture below, you can see several of these houses.  In the background stand the boring towers which are taking over Panama City.  Next to Residencial El Bosque where we live, seven new towers were now stand.  We are losing our suburban paradise.  I’m afraid individual residential homes will soon be a museum item and the metropolis will be flooded with rectangle structures reaching for the skies.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.


6 thoughts on “The Fading Residential Homes of San Francisco”

  1. I have a friend who lives in a little house much like you describe (minus the tile roof) in a redeveloping area of Houston. She’s not surrounded by such tall towers, but people are tearing down the smaller houses and building huge, three story homes that completely fill the lot, and completely block their neighbors’ sunshine. Ah, progress.

    1. Hello Linda:

      This is exactly what is happening in Panama City. Even us, who are about eight miles away from downtown Panama City are feeling the pain from the construction of high towers blocking sunshine and fresh air from our homes. I’m afraid the trend will not stop, and there is nothing we can do about it except to sell our homes and move to the countryside.

      Not a happy situation.



  2. I dislike highrises and would love a home such as you described. It sounds very charming and homey. When we vacation and travel, we never stay in condo buildings but in small casita rentals.

    1. Hello Barbara:

      We have a nice and cozy home. But I’m afraid this will change in a few years. Towers and traffic jams will be the norm. We are seriously thinking about moving to the countryside.



      1. Yes Barbara, This is what my wife and I have concluded. We don’t want to be gobbled up by the urban monster.

        Enjoy your Sunday as well, my dear friend.


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