Cliff House Project
A Program of Western Neighborhoods Project


News Miscellanea

Not all newspaper references to the "Cliff House" are sufficiently noteworthy to be included in the timeline, but nonetheless interesting.
This page is the home of those stories, in chronological order...

1896 1909


Feather River Bulletin - Apr 4 1868
Ranking women by skirt length

The Placer Herald - Feb 23 1878


The Napa Valley Register - Mar 12 1880


The San Francisco Examiner - Jan 5 1886
Price complaint


San Francisco Chronicle - Mar 7 1886


San Francisco Chronicle - Jan 1 1888
Christmas dinner


The San Francisco Examiner - Jun 7 1888


The Mail - Jun 30 1888
"the debauch of the night before"


The San Francisco Examiner - Jun 16 1889
Adolph Sutro satire


The San Francisco Examiner - Mar 26 1891
"They Kissed Mr. Sutro"


The Mendocino Beacon - Apr 16 1892
Full story link, Page pdf link


The San Francisco Examiner - Nov 7 1892
John Williams bird show


San Francisco Chronicle - Sep 25 1893


The Evening Mail - Jan 4 1894
Draw Poker Game


The San Francisco Examiner - Jul 15 1894


The San Francisco Call - Aug 28 1894
Korean diplomats visit Cliff House


San Francisco Chronicle - Nov 19 1894  (pdf)



Cliff House, 1896

"All the world and his wife went out to the park and the Cliff yesterday. And the children were taken along too. The invitation of a faultless day was too pressing to be declined."     Feb 17 1896

San Francisco Chronicle - Feb 17 1896 (pdf)


The San Francisco Call - Feb 24 1896
"Satin's Forward Strides"


The San Francisco Examiner - May 28 1896
Police use Cliff House parlors or Sutro Baths rooms for temporary holding of prisoners


San Francisco Chronicle - Jun 9 1896
References a "photograph and art gallery at the Cliff House" that likely never materialized.


The San Francisco Examiner - Jul 7 1897


The San Francisco Call - Jul 11 1897


The San Francisco Examiner - May 3 1898
Boxers often trained at establishments along Ocean Beach.  Here is heavyweight Tom Sharkey walking his dog.




The San Francisco Examiner - Jul 5 1898
"Climbed a High Pole"




The San Francisco Examiner - Mar 8 1899
Rare view from below Cliff House supports


The San Francisco Call - May 11 1899
Sadly there were MANY suicides out at the Cliff House.  The newspapers are full of accounts.


The San Francisco Examiner - Sep 13 1899
Illustration of the Cliff House interior


The San Francisco Examiner - Oct 14 1899


The San Francisco Examiner - Jan 3 1900
Almost yearly the Cliff House would be damaged by large storms

The San Francisco Examiner - Jan 4 1900
Report of a drunk driver

The San Francisco Call - Jan 14 1900

This obituary claims that Ferdinand Vassault build the original Cliff House which was then moved, but this is not believed to be credible.  The Lake House was near Lake Merced, not Mountain Lake, nor does it look anything like the Cliff House




The Los Angeles Times - Oct 9 1900


The San Francisco Call - Aug 11 1901  (pdf)
Prisoner released, sees new Cliff House for the first time


The San Francisco Call - Mar 2 1903
Cooking stove problems


The Perry Daily Chief - Mar 5 1903
Poker gambling at the Cliff House


The San Francisco Examiner - Mar 7 1903
Photograph of railing


San Francisco Chronicle - Apr 26 1903  (pdf)
Aerial illustration showing weapon range


San Francisco Chronicle - May 25 1903
Photograph of railing


San Francisco Chronicle - Jun 7 1903
Shock of coastal guns felt at Cliff House


The San Francisco Examiner - Aug 16 1903  (pdf)
"On April 15, 1867, a [GAR] meeting was held at the Cliff House."
GAR is an acronym for "Grand Army of the Republic"


The San Francisco Examiner - Nov 27 1903
Wilkins gives the history of the Cliff House

The reference to "Bahrs" could be this individual in this city directory, 1903.  "blasted emblems of a forgotten campaign" likely refers to old campaign posters. - Glenn Koch, 2020


Bill Baeck on the Shakespeare references (Apr 5 2020):

To clarify a few perhaps obscure quotes from the article, here is what they are referring to...

“Alas, poor Bahrs! I knew him well. He was an infinite jest.”

This is a paraphrase from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 1 (I’ve highlighted the source of the paraphrase):

HAMLET: Let me see. (takes the skull) Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times, and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. —Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now to mock your own grinning? Quite chapfallen? Now get you to my lady’s chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come. Make her laugh at that.”

In this scene, Hamlet and his friend Horatio walk past a cemetery, where they encounter a gravedigger who has just dug up the skeleton of the court jester from Hamlet’s childhood. This scene knits together the themes of death, corruption, and the futility of life and unimportance of wealth and rank that run throughout the play.


“In the roaring seventies, as Mr. Wilkins explained, when the Comstock boomed and ginger was hot i’ the mouth […].”

This reference also comes from Shakespeare, in this case Twelfth Night, Act 2, Scene 3.

Sir Toby: (To Malvolio) Art any more than a steward? Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?

Feste: Yes, by Saint Anne, and ginger shall be hot i' th' mouth too.

Here Sir Toby Belch and the Fest the clown are mocking the puritan Malvolio. Essentially they are saying that even if Malvolio decides to remain virtuous, others will still continue to drink and party. (The ginger Feste refers to was commonly added to ale to spice it up.)

“It was a picturesque old shack in a way, not ornamental, perhaps, but quite free from the pretentious vulgarity of the present structure which seems to carry a suggestion of what the bakers call ‘charlotte russe goods.’”

The reference to “charlotte russe [sic] goods” is yet another bit of anti-European sentiment seen in this article. It implies anything that looks ornate but is overdone by American standards—a kind of foreign frippery like the raisins in the lady’s hat mentioned earlier in the article. Specifically, a Charlotte Russe is a layered, cream-filled patisserie cake that was popular in Europe at the time and which American bakers (then and now) sometimes carried in their shops.

From wikipedia (link):

“Russian Charlotte or Charlotte russe is a dessert invented by the French chef Marie-Antoine Carême (1784–1833), who named it in honor of his former employer George IV’s only child, Princes Charlotte, and his current, Russian employer Czar Alexander I (russe being the French word for "Russian"). It is a cold dessert of Bavarian cream set in a mold lined with ladyfingers.”

The sheriff references towards the end of the article are documented here.


San Francisco Chronicle - Apr 11 1904
Just a day at the beach, complete with photographs


The San Francisco Examiner - Oct 16 1904
Composite image where Sphinx replaces Seal Rock


The San Francisco Examiner - Oct 15 1905


San Francisco Call - 26 August 1906
This is presumably a fictional story


The San Francisco Call - Aug 16 1907


Oakland Tribune - Aug 18 1907
Tait plans beefsteak dinners planned for Cliff House



Cliff House, 1909


The San Francisco Call - Mar 23, 1909
Johnnie the Birdman obituary


Oakland Tribune - April 16, 1910
Smoking in public


The Morning Union - Jan 25 1914
Dogs not allowed


The San Francisco Examiner - Jul 3 1946
Opening night of The Edgewater


W.C. Tait, General Contractor
Bert Sampson, Decorator
Crown Electric Company
Wentworth, Insurance
Pischoff Sign Co.
Brurafield Neon Sign Co.
Tanner Refrigeration Works
Ocean Beach Grotto
O'Keefe, The Fan Man
Wm. Huber
Smith & Bubar
McCune Sound Service
A.E. Gordon Painting Co.
R. Merrill
Rodoni Beeker, Plumbers

At Playland-At-The-Beach

Hannaford & Graves
J. Tankersley
Ferrara & Leonardi
Ed Martine
L. Reeder
May Schweitzer
G. Poder
Max Schwartz
F.A. Clare
Huber & Johnson
R. Niemela
Smith's "Yum-Yum"
Guy Collins
J. Glacy
C.H. Prosser
Pickens & Greenbaum
Forrest Museum
Ed Fey
M. Wadsworth

Restaurants & Stands

Beach Coffee Shop
Cozy Corner Inn
Pete's Place
Chili Pod
Splendid Inn
It Stand
Chutes Cafe
Jim's Hamburger Stand
Mac's Barbeque
Old Mill Inn
Chicken Range
De Luxe Coffee Shop
The Pie Shop