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The strange and terrible saga of San Francisco’s ‘oldest house’ has gone from tragedy to farce

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It’s hard to be evicted from the only home you’ve ever really known, as was the case for the younger members of the Carcamo family (and, considering the 32 years they’ve lived in 1268 Hampshire, even some who aren’t that young).

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But sadly, in San Francisco and the Mission, it’s nearly impossible to write a full story about every Latino family kicked out of their old home so they can sell it, for an astronomical price, to someone lured by its “Fabulous location, just steps from area restaurants, entertainment, MUNI/BART and freeways.”

But, four years ago, we made write about the Cárcamos. The Ellis Act eviction of the Cárcamos “wasn’t particularly cruel,” his attorney David Tchack told us in 2018. “This is what many contemporary San Francisco homeowners do. These speculators come in and buy properties. They have no intention of owning, and the Ellis Act turns the tenants around and sells the property. … It happens all over the city.”

But even then, the details of his ill-fated odyssey were unbelievable. Now, they almost feel like a parody of the San Francisco condition.

The Cárcamos not only had four generations of a Salvadoran family living in some old crumbling Mission house, beset by decades of neglect and unwarranted construction, and owned by a dodgy landlord (who was, in fact, a federal criminal). His former home, at 1266-68 Hampshire, has a claim to be the oldest house in San Francisco, dating to at least 1855 and possibly earlier.

It was built by John Treat, brother of George Treat, the namesake of Treat Avenue. The Treat brothers, at one point, owned a race track and large tracts of San Francisco. So big that, after the Cárcamos were finally evicted in 2017, they ended up in an apartment on land that also belonged to the Treat brothers’ properties.

Sarah Carcamo in the front yard of what may be the oldest house in San Francisco, circa 1989. Her family left the property several years ago after an Ellis Act eviction. “Everyone fell down those steps,” she recalls with a laugh.

That was the story in 2018. Four generations of a Latino family, including a nonagenarian grandmother, his retirement-age son and his wife, their 30-year-old daughter Sarah Carcamo and their two children were evicted from the “oldest house” in San Francisco so it could be subdivided into four luxury condominiums.

But, four years later, it turned out that there was room for this to get even more amazing, even more direct.

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