Cliff House Through the Years

The Cliff House in San Francisco, overlooking Ocean Beach, has had five lives to date. As an important part of San Francisco’s Gilded-Age history, the building that is now two restaurants had many prominent visitors during the City’s early development.

Originally built in 1863, it was severely damaged by an explosion in 1887, burned down and was rebuilt in 1894, survived the 1906 earthquake but burned down again in 1907, and has had extensive renovations so that today’s building is restored to its 1909 design. Here is a video clip of the Victorian-style building from Cliff House fan, and archivist of the Cliff House Project, Gary Stark:

On June 4,1968 citizens of San Francisco were asked to vote on a $5.7 measure that would have the City buy and develop the Cliff House and the ruins of Sutro Baths, which had burned down in 1966, to create a park. As the ballots were being counted, word came that Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy had been assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Counting came to a halt. When the ballot count was completed, the measure had failed.

In 1977, the Cliff House became a part of the federal Golden Gate National Recreation Area along with the ruins of Sutro Baths – . The Cliff House restaurants have operated as a park concession since 1977 by San Franciscans Dan and Mary Hountalas. Here is a trailer for a movie about the Cliff House:

And here is a link to some “then and now images” from Gary Stark:

Best wishes,