Take a Stroll Through History -1903 San Francisco Beach
This film is an afternoon panorama of weekend crowds at the north end of Ocean Beach, western shore of San Francisco near the famed Cliff House. 1903
Library of Congress
The Original Cliff House (1863-1894)
In 1881, Adolph Sutro, the self-made millionaire, philanthropist, and later mayor of San Francisco, bought the Cliff House from the original owners. He had plans to re-establish the restaurant as a wholesome, family-friendly venue and for next few years, he remodeled rooms, hired new management and lured families back to the restaurant. Sutro also began construction on a railroad that would transport more people to this seaside attraction. Unfortunately, a very tragic event happened on Christmas Day, 1894 when fire destroyed the original wood-frame Cliff House.
Within six months of the devastating fire, Sutro had plans for a new Cliff House and after spending $75,000, he proudly opened the second Cliff House in 1896.
After Sutro’s death in 1898, his properties were managed by his daughter Emma Sutro Merritt. A year after the destruction of the second Cliff House, Mrs. Merritt obtained approval to construct a third Cliff House. Because so many of the city’s wood-frame buildings burned after the 1906 earthquake, builders began to construct San Francisco’s new buildings in fireproof steel-reinforced concrete. The third Cliff House, constructed in concrete, was designed in a streamline, classically inspired architectural style; the building settled into the landscape rather than dominating the ocean view. Open to the public in 1909, the Cliff House carried on the tradition of sumptuous dining rooms and elegant entertainment.