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Sutro Baths: The essence of San Francisco

By Anthony Wilkerson | 14 May 2014

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Sutro Baths is a perfect example of a hidden gem in the middle of San Francisco.

Nestled near the ocean, Sutro Baths still draws visitors nearly fifty years after the last swimmers used what used to be a privately owned swimming pool establishment in the late 19th century. When operational, the baths were quite large. There were six saltwater pools and one freshwater. Overall, the baths were nearly 500 feet long and about 250 feet wide and equipped with seven slides, 30 swinging rings and a diving board. Named and funded by the former mayor of San Francisco (1894-1896), Adolph Sutro, the baths struggled to stay afloat due to the high maintenance costs. In 1966, the baths were closed and shortly after, caught fire.

The baths are located on the north end of Ocean Beach where the Great Highway and Geary Boulevard converge. Generations of San Franciscans and tourists are drawn to the baths, where the city meets the sea. Unlike some other parts of the city that border the Bay, the baths provide both wonderful views and a taste of history. There is a historical museum on the property and the ruins give this space a very unique feel and look. Many tourists and locals find Sutro Baths to be a place of tranquility, social outings and fitness — a balance of the past and the present. The baths capture the essence and foundation of San Francisco as a port city.

 

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