San Francisco is known for its iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Alcatraz Island. However, there is a hidden gem in the city that is often overlooked by tourists and even locals: Albion Castle. [3]

Albion Castle

Built in 1870 by John Hamlin Burnell, Albion Castle was originally a brewery called the Albion Porter & Ale Brewery. Burnell was a young English brewer who built the castle as the site for his brewery.

Albion Castle

The castle is a four-story Norman tower, with a three-story turret overlooking the edge of the India Basin. Its hidden location behind a fence and trees makes it easy to miss for those unaware. [4]

Albion Castle

Over the years, the castle has gone through various transformations. After Burnell, the castle served as a personal residence until 1938 when sculptor Adrian Voisin purchased the property.

Voisin added many flourishes including ornate wood carvings, medieval-style stained glass adorned with owls and bighorn sheep, and a grand wooden throne toilet equipped with armrests and a stylish ashtray. [2]

The castle has survived two major earthquakes in the city’s history and has an interesting history related to its underground caves.

Cavern at Albion Castle, San Francisco

In 1961, the castle became a victim of highway construction that was planned to bulldoze the building. However, it was saved based on the argument that the water source under the castle could only be a non-contaminated source of fresh water in the event of a nuclear attack. The San Francisco Chronicle reported the story at the time. [5][6]

Today, Albion Castle is a unique venue for hosting private and corporate events. The castle features four bedrooms, two bathrooms, numerous patios, and terraced gardens.

The inner courtyard offers breathtaking views of the city. The castle’s underground caves could potentially be used as a water source in case of an emergency. [1][6]

If you’re interested in visiting Albion Castle, you should note that the castle is not open to the public. However, the castle can be rented for events and even overnight stays.

The current owner, Bill Gilbert, who grew up near Candlestick, purchased the castle in 2012 for $890,000. He has restored the castle to its former glory and is now renting it out for events and private stays. [8][10]

FAQs

Who owns Albion Castle?

The current owner of Albion Castle is Bill Gilbert, a retired police officer and real estate investor who fulfilled his childhood dream of owning the castle [14]. He purchased the castle in 2012 for $900,000 [13].

How much is the Albion Castle worth?

There is no definitive answer to how much Albion Castle is worth as it is a privately owned property, and the value may vary depending on various factors such as the real estate market conditions, location, and condition of the property.

However, it was reported that the current owner purchased the castle in 2012 for $900,000 [3], and it is also noted that the castle is rented out for events, suggesting that it is a valuable and unique property [14].

When was Albion Castle built?

Albion Castle was built in 1870 by John Hamlyn Burnell, a 21-year-old Sussex native with a background in brewing [15].

It was constructed as the site for his brewery called the Albion Porter Ale Brewery and was partially built using cargo ship ballast stones. The castle features underground caves and sits above two 200-foot wide stone cisterns, each capturing 8,000-10,000 gallons of spring water per day [11][15].