Thursday, November 12, 2009

In The Swim At The Sutro Baths

When the Sutro Baths opened in 1896 on the western edge of the city of San Francisco, the complex was the world's largest indoor swimming complex. With 6 saltwater and 1 fresh water pools, the massive Baths used 100,000 square feet of glass, 600 tons of iron for the columns and 3,500,000 board feet of lumber.

At high tide, the Pacific Ocean flooded into the pools and at low tide, massive generators pumped the salt water in. The pools had 7 tobaggon slides and 30 rope swings, and the promenade alone could accommodate 3,700 people.

That's the famous Cliff House in the distance, owned by the same Mr. Sutro who developed the Baths.

In the circa 1920 photograph above, a well to do family poses in their Sunday best at the Baths.

The photograph below shows what's left of the Sutro Baths today - ruins. In 1966, the main building was in the process of being demolished when it burned to the ground. Thanks to Flying Toaster for providing the picture.


Sweet Repose said...

Like a stroll on the island of Crete...paradise...

The last time I visited my brother in Santa Rosa, he took me to the ruins of Cliffhouse...I was in awe, to say the least, didn't see the ruins of the bath...rats!

But when I got home I was looking through old stereoscope slides I had and one of them was the cool is that, I've never sold that one, it holds special meaning of that trip...I loved it out there!

The Weaver of Grass said...

It all sounds such a wonderful idea - and now it is all gone bar that little bit in the photograph - how sad.