Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sutro Baths at Auction -- January 8, 2014

One hundred years ago today, San Francisco's Sutro Baths were put up at auction as part of the settlement of the estate of philanthropist and former mayor Adolph Sutro, who had died in 1898. 

My grandfather took me to Sutro Baths several times when I was little. By then it was owned by the Whitney Brothers, who also owned the Cliff House and Playland-at-the-Beach.  The pools had been converted into ice skating rinks. I remember the Egyptian mummies, the Tucker automobile, and Tom Thumb's carriage. Some years before, in 1958, the Baths had appeared in the movie version of The Lineup, directed by Don Siegel.

I was playing in my backyard one day in 1966 when the sky grew dark and ashes started flying overhead. Sutro Baths, which was being demolished to make way for apartments, had caught fire. The mummies and the Tucker and Tom Thumb's carriage had already been removed.

The developer went bankrupt, and the cove where the baths stood is a nice place to hike.

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