|The goal of this website is to preserve the visual
imagery of Adolph Sutro’s Victorian Cliff House. It was neither the
first structure nor the last to carry the name of Cliff House, but it was
certainly the most grand. Sadly, its existence was short-lived. It was
constructed in 1896 and, like so many wooden structures of that era, burned
completely to the ground in September
Over the last few years I’ve collected a number of
photographs and such, some from ephemera shows, some from antique shops, and
many from ebay. But my personal
resources can only go so far. My hope is that others who share an interest in
the Cliff House will share their finds on this website as well. There’s an
implied obligation of those (myself included) who own these nuggets of history to
share them, not squirrel them away in some dusty shoebox only to risk oblivion
via flood, fire, or neglect.
So by all means…drop me an
email if you have some
treasured photograph of your own that you’re willing to share. If
you’re worried about copyrights, I can overlay the image with a
watermark or some other identification to protect it from being copied. If you
want to be credited, that's not a problem. If you have a capitalist slant
and want to sell copies, I can link to your website. It’s all fine by me. As long as these images are not eventually
lost forever, history is served.
Cliff House Auction, Mar 4-5
Coalition to Save
Ocean Beach / Friends of Sutro Heights Park
A Coalition of Groups devoted
to improving the Parklands & City
SAVE THE CLIFF HOUSE !
IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED
The Cliff House will permanently close on December
31, 2020 unless immediate action is taken. The concessionaire and
the National Park Service have not been able to agree on a new
concession contract. Dan and Mary Hountalas have been the operators
of the Cliff House since 1973.
Known by all San Franciscans and by millions of
visitors, The Cliff House is a valued institution and part of the
fabric of the City. According to Hountalas and as confirmed by the
San Francisco Chronicle, NPS failed to timely post, and then failed
to timely respond, to the bureaucratic process of renewing the
concession. NPS granted Hountalas a series of short-term extensions.
Now NPS requires the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process begin
from the start -- which will take years -- and has stated that it is
no longer looking to renew The Cliff House as a restaurant, despite
its 157-year legacy.
Ignoring the pandemic, NPS has refused to
negotiate an extension with Hountalas, offering only another
short-term “take it or leave it” lease at full cost, regardless of
the inability to operate a restaurant during this time. Hountalas,
unable to operate The Cliff House for these many months, must
continue to pay all ongoing expenses regardless of the closure.
Alternatively, Hountalas must remove the entirety of their many
decades of historic property and all restaurant furnishings and
equipment, by December 31. The Cliff House would become a shuttered
empty building for years.
NPS, with its ever-revolving leadership in
Washington, D.C., is acting like an unconcerned and heartless
landlord, without heed for the people who work at The Cliff House
and community neighbors. This shows failure to abide by its own RFQ
requirements. We urge immediate intervention with the NPS and the
Secretary of Interior. There must be a way to resolve this
immediately and fairly, without “take it or leave it” tactics. The
pandemic will pass, and NPS need not produce years of blight and the
eviction of a good and important neighbor in our community.
Senator Dianne Feinstein:
Senator Kamala Harris:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
San Francisco Board of Supervisors:
State Senator Scott Wiener:
State Assemblyman Phil Ting:
Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt:
GGNRA/National Park Service Superintendent Laura Joss:
And here is a link to a petition
that you can sign and pass on:
"Adolph Sutro, King of the Comstock Lode and Mayor of San Francisco"
by William R. Huber
Available from Amazon:
Sutro's Glass Palace: The Story of Sutro Baths
"Sutro's Glass Palace - The Story of Sutro Baths"
by John A. Martini (website)
Book available from Amazon (link)
A story titled “Sutro’s San Francisco—What’s Left?” appears in the Summer
of "The Argonaut", the Journal of the San Francisco Museum and Historical
Explore hundreds of stories and be immersed with
Build you own Cliff House!!!
Courtesy of Wurlington Press
Amazing model of the 1896 Cliff House by Charlie Moran
This way to the Photo
Looking for the Sutro
Baths? Right this way...
Or perhaps a stroll along
Dennis O'Rorke 1
Taber Photos 1886
*** New Book!!! ***
White Jade: A Novel
by Anna Podhaski
Barnes & Noble
Interested in using an image from this website? Please look