The coastal ruins of the Sutro Baths are impressive, overlooking Seal Rocks and in close proximity to the cityscape of San Francisco. There's ample public parking on two higher cliffs, a dining vantage point from the adjacent Cliff House, and ramps and stairs descending down to the crumbling walls and sea cave. Entrepreneur and silver mine millionaire Adolph Sutro built his huge recreational facility in and opened in , with a salt water pool and an aquarium. He soon added a 3 acre public bathhouse so that the people of San Francisco could enjoy the healthful benefits of swimming. After Sutro's death in , the Baths continued for decades, but eventually failed as a business.
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The following statistics are bafh a article written by J. Namespaces Article Talk. We found this ocean treasure spot just by driving and exploring San Francisco. San Francisco attractions. Get Sutra bath ruins latest tips on visiting San Francisco. I like to stop here with visitors from out of town. Is this one of the best places or Sutra bath ruins to watch the sunrise? Thank Thomasero. Vestiges of Sutro Baths This digital guidebook highlights stories, landscapes, events, artifacts and geology of Sutro Baths. Share another experience before you go. TripAdvisor LLC is not responsible for content on external web sites.
Built in by former San Francisco Mayor Adolph Sutro, the baths once held seven swimming pools, five of them heated.
- As some of you may know, I recently got back from a cross-country trip.
- Adolph Sutro , the self-made millionaire who designed Sutro Heights and later the second Cliff House , developed the amazing Sutro Baths in
- Once the largest indoor swimming establishment in the world, the Sutro Baths is now an eerie ruin, sitting in one of the most beautiful settings in San Francisco.
- I've been photographing the Sutro Baths ruins since the mid s.
- On March 14, , the Sutro Baths were opened to the public as the world's largest indoor swimming pool establishment.
On the west side of San Francisco lies something all but unknown in California. They appear far too old and rich with history to be in San Francisco, of all places. More of a resort than just a bath house, Sutro Baths could accommodate up to 10, people with 7 pools.
The unusual design of the baths pumped in water directly from the Pacific Ocean with a system of tunnels, a fact that remains relevant to the modern ghost hunter. The Baths seemed cursed , with innumerable maintenance and construction problems plaguing the project. The owners doggedly hung on until the s, when they decided to tear it all down and build condos instead.
A mysterious and catastrophic fire broke out at the very beginning of the construction project, ripping through the materials and laying waste to the area. Burned out ruins. Urban explorers braving the tides, cold weather, and unsteady footing of the ruins report a multitude of ghosts.
Given the typical nighttime climate of San Francisco, they make quite an unusual sight in their sun dresses and swimming pants, wielding umbrellas and towels. They seem to reenact the heyday of the Sutro Baths, roaming the stone ruins, laughing and playing. The resort was also home to a large museum, full of relics and artifacts found by Adolph Sutro during his travels around the world. Many of these items were of religious or magical significance to their original owners, and many of them were none too happy with Sutro after he left.
Although the museum is gone now, ghosts and spirits from a hundred different cultures can be spotted around the Baths at various times. An engineering marvel for the time, water would be pumped in from the Pacific Ocean, using the tides themselves to provide pressure.
Strange noises, footsteps, and unidentifiable claw marks have been seen throughout the tunnel system. Locals think that something living just offshore in the frigid Bay waters likes to travel up the tunnels and make a lair in the old Baths. Explorers have come across small alcoves in the tunnels where half-eaten carcasses of everything from fish to raccoons lay rotting.
There is no known ocean-dwelling animal that maintains a lair in this fashion, and certainly not one that will pile up remains. Some even swear the bones are arranged in a distinctive pattern, almost as though a ritual of some sort was being carried out.
The few investigators who have made a serious effort to locate the resident of the Sutro tunnels have come back empty-handed. Along with all the paranormal and cryptid activity , there are signs of some ill-advised human endeavors. Dark rituals intended to bring forth harmful spirits. Steering clear of the monster but perhaps embracing the ghosts, these people are not to be trifled with. A local story goes that if you carry a lit candle to the very end of the tunnels, where they open up onto the ice-cold ocean, an invisible force will seize the candle up and fling it into the waters below.
However, quick and violent paranormal phenomena almost always point to an angry spirit. Candles are a common element of Satanic rituals, and so the ghost extinguishes any that come near.
Ghosts are often unable to distinguish between different mortals, though, and the spirit takes a terrible vengeance on everyone who comes close. Left in pure blackness , the bearer of the candle must make his way back to the entrance. Of course, the National Park Service is more concerned about visitors losing their footing than their souls.
Dare to take a bath in this place? Photo credit: nps. Need Help? Have Questions?
With several railroads providing transportation to the area by the late s, a visit to Sutro Baths crowned an all-day family excursion to the shore, including stops at Sutro Heights , the Cliff House and Ocean Beach. In , developers with plans to replace the Baths with high-rise apartments bought the site and began demolition of the once great structure. Beach road or nearby by? Retrieved September 13, On March 14, , the Sutro Baths were opened to the public as the world's largest indoor swimming pool establishment.
Sutra bath ruins. Exploring the Sutro Baths
Sutro's dream for the Baths was to provide a healthy, recreational and inexpensive swimming facility for thousands of San Franciscans. A classic Greek portal opened to a massive glass enclosure containing seven swimming pools at various temperatures.
There were slides, trapezes, springboards and a high dive. The power of the Pacific Ocean during high tide could fill the 1. The Baths could accommodate 10, people at one time and offered 20, bathing suits and 40, towels for rent. Typical of Sutro's progressive spirit, he designed the Baths to provide its visitors with educational as well as recreational opportunities.
The front entrance contained natural history exhibits, galleries of sculptures, paintings, tapestries and artifacts from Mexico, China, Asia, and the Middle East, including the popular Egyptian mummies.
In addition to swimming, Sutro Baths offered visitors many other attractions including band concerts, talent shows, and restaurants. With several railroads providing transportation to the area by the late s, a visit to Sutro Baths crowned an all-day family excursion to the shore, including stops at Sutro Heights , the Cliff House and Ocean Beach.
For all their glamour and excitement, the Baths were not commercially successful over the long-term. Adolph Sutro died in and for many years, his family continued to manage his properties. Overtime, the Baths became less popular, due to the Great Depression, reduction in available public transportation and new public health codes.
In attempts to make the facility profitable, the owners converted the baths into an ice-skating rink but Sutro Baths never regained its popularity and the ice-skating revenue was not enough to maintain the enormous building. In , developers with plans to replace the Baths with high-rise apartments bought the site and began demolition of the once great structure.
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Cliff House & Sutro Baths - Golden Gate National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service)
Once the largest indoor swimming establishment in the world, the Sutro Baths is now an eerie ruin, sitting in one of the most beautiful settings in San Francisco. Adolph Sutro, a wealthy San Francisco resident and former mayor of the city, once owned most of the land in the western half of San Francisco. One of his grandest projects was the construction of an amazing glass-roofed structure containing seven salt water swimming pools, fed by the powerful tides at the entrance to San Francisco Bay.
Vistors could also view the huge collection of odd specimens he had picked up in his travels, including Egyptian mummies, stuffed polar bears and apes, and totem poles.
He even had a train track and train service created to bring residents out to his entertainment palace. The tracks are gone now, but they used to run along the Lands End trail. The Sutro Baths opened in , and was intended for the working people of San Francisco, who could take his train out to the ocean sand dunes and play in the pools, enjoying the day swimming, exploring his museum and eating in the restaurants.
There were musical performances and dance competitions, and other amusements provided for his guests, who could make a whole day of it at the Baths. Sutro kept the fees low so most city residents could afford to come: 5 cents for the train and 25 cents to swim including a swimsuit and towel to use. The SS Ohioan cargo ship crashed onto the rocks one dark and foggy night in , quite close to the Baths.
All members of the crew made it to safety. The salt water pools ranged from really cold to a balmy 80 degrees, and were supplied with slides, swings, trampolines, trapezes, rings, and diving platforms. Swimmers had to wear swim suits supplied by the Baths up until the 's. Sutro designed a series of concrete tunnels and tanks that used the force of the tides to fill the pools.
The Baths were extremely popular, but it was never profitable, and as the years went by, they became increasing expensive to maintain. Also, society changed, and fewer people were coming to spend their free time there. With all the salt spray and wind, maintenance got to be too much, and it closed in The Sutro Baths closed in , and burned down in June of the same year, some say under suspicious circumstances. The Baths were scheduled to be developed into housing and a shopping center, but were saved by public sentiment and purchased by the National Park Service in The Baths are now a rough collection of pools of salt water, crumbling walls and rusting pieces of iron.
The setting at the end of the Land's End cliffs, looking out over Seal Rock and the ocean, is gorgeous. You can climb all over it; it isn't "maintained" and can be a bit treacherous, so watch your step. But that just adds to its mystique.
City Guides is a non-profit that run free tours on many of the sights in San Francisco. I've been on several of these tours and the guides have been very interesting and professional. All of the guides are volunteers. No reservations are necessary; just show up at the scheduled time. See Sutro Baths tour. Adolph Sutro built a mansion and elaborate gardens on the hill above the Baths and Cliff House. Cross the street from the parking lot to enter the gardens; one of the best views of Ocean Beach is up there.
More on the Sutro Heights Park. Land's End is a wild and beautiful area on the edge of the city, with hiking paths and amazing views of the entrance to San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. The trail begins at the parking lot above the Sutro Baths.
More on Lands End. San Francisco's largest beach is just around the corner from the Baths. More on Ocean Beach. A San Francisco restaurant that has existed in various forms since the 's. Good food and wonderful views. More on the Cliff House.
More on the SF Zoo. San Francisco's biggest and best park is just a few blocks down the Great Highway from the Baths. Explore the museums, gardens, lakes and Tea House. More on Golden Gate Park. Get the latest tips on visiting San Francisco. The Sutro Baths Once the largest indoor swimming establishment in the world, the Sutro Baths is now an eerie ruin, sitting in one of the most beautiful settings in San Francisco.
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