Like a majestic ocean liner or a grand hotel, the Victorian-era Sutro Baths dazzled visitors with its over-the-top opulence and its many attractions: seven swimming pools filled with filtered and heated seawater, a museum, restaurants, tropical plants, promenades, and seating for thousands of spectators, all covered by more than 100,000 square feet of glass.
The creation of Comstock millionaire Adolph Sutro, the Baths opened in 1894 and ended in fire in 1966. Once the debris was cleared, little remained of Sutroâs ambitious structure, which he intended to outshine the baths of Rome. Today, visitors explore its concrete ruins and mysterious tunnels, which are protected by the National Park Service as part of the larger Lands End site.
Sutroâs Glass Palace, the fascinating story of a vanished but enduring piece of San Francisco history, comprehensively answers the question, âWhat was this place?â.
Inside you'll find:
An in-depth account of the rise and fall of Sutro Baths
Detailed architectural renderings and diagrams
Historical and contemporary photographs
News stories of the day revealing the Bathsâ darker side
A field guide to the ruins
John A. Martini is a native Californian and a life-long researcher into the history of the American West. A fourth-generation San Franciscan, Martini worked as a National Park Service Ranger for more than twenty-five years at such diverse locations as Fort Point National Historic Site, Alcatraz Island, the National Maritime Museum, the U.S.S. Arizona National Memorial, the Presidio of San Francisco, and Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. He retired from the National Park Service in 1999 and now serves as a professional researcher and historical consultant. Martini's specialty is historic preservation and interpretation. He is an acknowledged expert on America's coastal defenses and consults with numerous state and federal agencies on the restoration of seacoast fortifications and artillery pieces.