Sutro's Glass Palace
The Story of Sutro Baths
By John A. Martini
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 Sutro’s 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.
Sutro’s Glass Palace, the fascinating story of a vanished but enduring piece of San Francisco history, comprehensively answers the question, “What was this place?”
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 Baths’ darker side
A field guide to the ruins