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Sutro Heights Park

Sutro Heights Park is the site of what was once the estate of Adolph Sutro (1830-1898)—philanthropist and 24th mayor of San Francisco (1894-1896). In the mid 1800s, Adolph Sutro primarily made his fortune through mining and engineering innovations, and real estate investments. In the early 1880s, he purchased 1,000 acres of land facing the ocean which included the original Cliff House. Adolph Sutro's estate sat atop the bluffs of Sutro Heights, and during its heyday included over 17 acres of forest, exotic gardens and statuary, a white-towered cottage residence containing one of the premier private libraries in the United States, and a stone-walled promontory commanding dramatic views of the surrounding area. The estate grounds were donated to the city of San Francisco in 1938. Today, Sutro Heights Park is located in Golden Gate Park's Sutro Historic District as part of the Golden Gate Park Recreation Area. While the estate and much of the gardens and statuary are gone, the castle-like promontory still exists and the park is a lovely place to spend an afternoon.

A photograph of one of the grand lion statues guarding the entrance to Sutro Heights Park in San Francisco, California.  Image copyright © Philip W. Tyo 2007"At the entrance to a wide carriage drive was an ornate white arch. Two lions crouched on its pedestals at its base, guarding the way... Allison saluted the lions as old friends as they walked past the arch." - The Trembling Hills

The archway no longer graces the entrance to the park, but the lions still guard the way in. You can salute these grand statues as Allison did, traverse the tree-lined walkways flanked by remaining Grecian statuary, and climb the stone promontory for views of Ocean Beach and the Cliff House. View some photos from my visit to Sutro Heights Park along with text from The Trembling Hills.

Sutro Heights Park is located at 48th and Point Lobos Avenues. For more information, check out the pages at these web sites:

The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco - contains a short biography about Adolph Sutro and photographs of the estate (including the archway, lions, and promontory).

Western Neighborhoods Project - "a nonprofit organization formed to preserve and share the history and culture of the neighborhoods in western San Francisco" contains an album of images of Adolph Sutro's estate during its prime. Additional images are also included here.

The National Parks Service (NPS) site- contains information about Golden Gate Park's Sutro Historic District, in which Sutro Heights park resides. The NPS site also contains historical images of Sutro Heights Park.

Next, visit the Cliff House.

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