then and now: the cliff house & sutro towers

Once upon a time, there was a man named Adolph Sutro. He lived in San Francisco. And he was loaded—which is why today, a bajillion things in the city are named after him. 

My neighborhood was way cooler in the late 1800s when Sutro was building awesome things. There was a rail system in the outer richmond because of him for goodness sake (Maybe MUNI could learn a thing or two from Adolph Sutro).

In 1896, Sutro rebuilt the Cliff House, a restaurant, into a seven-story chateau. The building survived the earthquake of 1906, but burnt down a year later.

A version of the Cliff House still stands, but a far lamer version—amirite?



Sutro also commissioned Sutro Baths, which comprised of seven different swimming pools (one fresh water and six salt water baths ranging in temperatures, obviously), a museum displaying Sutro's large collection of artifacts from his travels, a concert hall, seating for 8,000, and an ice skating rink. no big. 

The baths don't exist anymore, as you can see. And even though the Sutro Bath Ruins, as they are referred to today, look like they belong in Pompeii, the baths only burnt down in the 1960s. 


Well done, Adolph Sutro. You made Outer Richmond the place to be. ...if only it were still like that. 


historic images from the Cliff House Project
new images by Meredith McClarty