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902 POINT LOBOS AVE.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA

94121

 

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Sutro District, Golden Gate National Recreation Area


Louis’ Restaurant is located within the Sutro District of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service.  The Sutro District is the westernmost portion of San Francisco with dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean, Mount Tamalpais, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The earliest known evidence of human occupation in the Sutro District are the remains of three Native American shell mounds located at the site of Sutro Baths.  Dated to sometime after 500 A.D. but prior to 1769 A.D., these mounds are the cultural remains of the area's aboriginal inhabitants known as "Ohlone” or “Costanoans."  By the 19th century, the area was developed as an entertainment destination for San Francisco locals and visitors alike by Adolf Sutro.  

In 1881, Sutro purchased 22 acres of this undeveloped land at the edge of the city with a vision of bringing recreation to the masses. Taking advantage of the views, Sutro turned this property into Sutro Heights, an elaborate public garden that was filled with decorated flower beds, statues, forests and vista points.  

In 1883, Sutro purchased the existing 20 year-old Cliff House, with the desire to re-establish the restaurant as a wholesome, family-friendly venue. After the first Cliff House was destroyed by a fire in 1894, Sutro spent $75,000 to rebuild and furnish the second Cliff House. The new Cliff House, designed in an ornate, Victorian style, stood eight stories tall and provided elegant dining rooms, art galleries and panoramic views from open-air verandas. 

Sutro's interest in natural history and marine studies prompted him to create Sutro Baths, a massive public swimming facility that offered six saltwater swimming tanks of varying sizes, shapes and water temperatures.  For all their glamour and excitement, the Baths were not commercially success ful and the property went through a number of changes in ownership and use before a fire in 1966 destroyed most of the remaining facility.

The Sutro District became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1973. The area is popular today for the scenic and recreational values recognized by Adolph Sutro. Visitors can explore the remains of Sutro Baths and coastal rocks and try to imagine a day at Sutro’s over 100 years ago.  Please be safe and use caution when exploring!

 

For more information about the area, please visit the following sites:

National Park Serivce

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

History of Adolph Sutro and the Sutro Baths

The Cliff House

The Cliff House Project on Ocean Beach

Playland

Film Clip of Sutro Baths from the TV Show "The Line Up"