Nothing I could write to tell you about this historic place could come close to the wonders of The Cliff House official website. Do not skip the marvelous intro! As the intro plays you'll see it's easy to define this postcard as being The Cliff House of the 1950s. Really, the website depicts a slice of American history at its most fascinating.
After the intro, you can obtain complete background information by clicking on the History tab at the top of the page. This history section contains remarkable info about the various incarnations of The Cliff House (including two destructions by fire) that are separated into four categories: 1863, 1896, 1909, and Today.
The 1863 category begins:
The first Cliff House was a modest structure built in 1863 by Senator John Buckley and C. C. Butler. Captain Junius Foster eventually leased the Cliff House Restaurant from C. C. Butler and under his management wealthy San Franciscans flocked to the coast to enjoy the unique restaurant and wonderful views. The guest register bore the names of three U.S. presidents as well as prominent San Francisco families such as the Hearsts, Stanfords, and Crockers, who would drive their carriages out to Ocean Beach for horse racing and recreation.
.....and the Today category introduces:
The 21st Century Cliff House
Perched on spectacular cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Cliff House is one of the crown jewels of San Francisco’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). The GGNRA is the largest urban park west of the Mississippi River and offers a wide array of activities. Currently the GGNRA is restoring the coastal walkways and paths that lead to the Cliff House and overlook both the bay and the Pacific Ocean.
I liked the Ken Burns-type presentation of this video about the Victorian Cliff House, built by Adolph Sutro after the first Cliff House burned down.
This informational video is about Adolph Sutro and his Sutro Baths, and features unique early Edison films.
Described by the videographer:.
This short video is about Adolph Sutro, a self-made millionaire and former mayor of San Francisco created the Sutro Baths, a public bathhouse a museum.
1. a brief biography of Adolph Sutro
2. a short film of the gigantic slide and bathers at the Sutro Baths.
3. a short film of the Leander sisters dancing on a platform over one of the swim tanks.
4. a short film of one of the two trains that
transport passengers to the Baths.
5. How seawater is transported into the swim tanks.
6. Eric Black exploring the Baths.
Photo and film credits and permissions:
Louis Vincent provided by Peggy Vincent
San Francisco Museum
Early Edison Films, Library of Congress
Historical American Building Survey
Music: Pinnacle Studio, Pinnacle Systems, Inc.
Copyright 2006 Exceleste