Welcome to a hallowed place in San Francisco, modern ruins on the edge of the continent. Crashing waves,
labyrinthine structures, wild lilies, cliff-lodged
cypress trees reaching towards the ocean, a thundering
cave, and but a single signpost warning you of getting thrown off rocks and
Beyond the striking location and colorful history, it's especially remarkable for
such a place to exist in a country where few structures past their best days survive.
It's allowed to be harrowing and wild in a time and place where shampoos carry warnings
and most interesting things are cordoned off for your protection. Here's the playground
for those who love crumbling stone clubhouses, jutting pipe monkeybars, stairways that lead you off cliffs and shifting sandboxes that get swallowed by surf.
The GGNRA includes the Marin Headlands, Point Reyes National Seashore, Angel Island, Alcatraz, and other
Sutro Baths opened March 14, 1896 with a $1 million pricetag an extravagant public bathhouse envisioned and developed by the eccentric one-time mayor of San Francisco, Adolph Sutro.
After working its way through its many lives (Playland, 1960s ice rink, etc..) burned down while being demolished on June 26, 1966. In 1980 the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) bought the land for $5,500,000.
"... rival in magnitude, utility and beauty, the famous abluvion resorts of Titus, Caracalla, Nero or Diocletian...
"Five hundred dressing rooms ... spacious elevators and broad staircases ... pavilions, balustrades, promenades, alcoves and corridors adorned with tropical plants, fountains, flowers, pictures, ... the collected treasure of foreign travels... a portico with four Ionic columns and pilasters which lead to a noble staircase, wide, gradual of ascent, bordered with broad-leaved palms, the flowering pomegranate, fragrant magnolias ... [touching] the very rim of the reveling waves.
Eugenia Kellogg Holmes, Adolph Sutro: A Brief Story of a Brilliant Life