Stereo view of the Cliff House in 1867 by Carleton Watkins, 1867

The original (actually the third in the series of Cliff Houses) structure was a spectacular palace built in 1896 for parties and entertainment away from the public eye, out on the far western edge of San Francisco:

Photo by H.B. Peabody (1902)

Photo by H.B. Peabody (1902)

The great fire and earthquake spared Adolph Sutro’s Cliff House in 1906; but an electrical fire completely destroyed the building in 1907:

Photographer: unknown

Photographer: unknown

 

The much more modest structure that arose to replace the destroyed chateau was built in 1909 and much modified over the years. Several architects proposed elaborate replacements to emulate the heroic scale of the Sutro Cliff House, but the modest little structure, commissioned by Sutro’s daughter, weathered all replacement attempts, and still stands where the very first Cliff arose in 1858.

Current Cliff House, designed by Reid Bros. (Photo by Brocken Inaglory, 2010)

Current Cliff House, designed by Reid Bros. (Photo by Brocken Inaglory, 2010)