Cliff House , c 1900 .
San Francisco. This was such a stunning structure. It was grand enough (for the time) that it brought a lot of movie stars and diplomats to San Francisco for galas and lavish parties and that sort of thing. Sadly it burned to the ground in 1907, ironically, only one year after managing to survive the 1906 quake that leveled practically the entire city. This building only stood for 11 years, built in 1896, by Adolph Sutro, a seven story Victorian Chateau, called by some “the Gingerbread Palace”.
I grew up visiting the site of the Cliff House, where now stands a shabby and modest viewing room mostly just to pay homage that does no justice to the grandeur of the original, in my opinion. The Sutro Baths, next door to this, is another lost San Franciscan treasure, which at the time was the largest complex of indoor swimming pools and water slides anywhere in the country, which was also built in 1896 but burned to the ground in the 1960s. Now just the ‘ruins’ of the concrete foundation remain.