Day 3, Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Despite being up so late the night before, we got up at about 8 am the next day, and were all ready and out about 9 am. I guess that’s the thing about getting old – there is no sleeping in!
We headed down to the Presidio, and although it took a bit of wandering, we found the Sutro Baths, within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. I got my passport stamps at the Visitor’s Center and we headed down to check out the site.
The Sutro Baths were built in the late 1800s along the cliffs of the Land’s End area of San Francisco, intended to be a European style bath house for the residents of San Francisco. They were huge, 500 by 255 feet, with 6 saltwater pools and one freshwater pool, 7 slides, 30 swinging rings and a spring diving board.
At high tide, water would flow directly into the pool from the ocean, and at low tide, pumps would fill the water into the baths.
The complex also had a 2700 seat amphitheater and 517 private dressing rooms. Ultimately, the high cost of operation drove the baths out of business, and it was converted into an ice skating rink, which closed in 1964. In 1966, as it was being demolished for make way for a high rise apartment complex, it was destroyed by an arson fire. It is unclear why the apartments weren’t built after that, but it has been a ruin ever since.
The site also has a path that goes above the ruins, leading to an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was so sunny and warm for March – the view was spectacular!
The Sutro Baths are ruins are free and open to the public. It was so pretty there, being right on the ocean wandering among the ruins!