Sutro's Cliff House

THE CLIFF HOUSE, near the entrance to San Francisco Bay, has had many lives. Originally built in 1858 from the lumber of a schooner that ran aground nearby, it was rebuilt and added onto in 1863. Then it burned down in 1894. In 1896, Adolph Sutro opened it as a seven-story Victorian chateau (seen above), the same year he started construction on the nearby Sutro Baths. Sutro’s version of the Cliff House survived the 1906 earthquake — but burned to the ground a year later. It was rebuilt in basically its current configuration two years after the fire. Meanwhile, the Sutro Baths, which included six indoor swimming pools, a museum and an ice rink, burned down in 1966. In 1977, the National Park Service purchased the Cliff House and it became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. For nearly 40 years, the Hountalas Family, who oversaw an extensive renovation of the landmark restaurant in 2004, has operated the facility. Through it all, the Cliff House has remained a popular destination for locals and tourists. The above painting, by Belvedere artist Alan Maley (1930– 1995), was acquired in 1979 by Joseph and Maryann Perry of Novato.