Cliff House Project
A Program of Western Neighborhoods Project

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Terrace Structures
Research Courtesy of John Martini
 

Numerous structures have existed on the Cliff House terrace over the years...

 

Cliff House Observatory
Probably the earliest structure to appear on the terrace, it first shows up in snapshots taken in 1912. The Observatory held a variety of telescopes for looking at the sea lions and passing ships, as well as binoculars that visitors could rent or purchase. It seems to have lasted until the Whitney Brothers remodel of 1949-1950 when it was demolished.


Cliff House Observatory


"Telescopes and Bausch & Lomb Zeiss Stereo Prism Binoculars"     (WNPCHP)
"FOR RENT AND FOR SALE"


ebay image
 


Ocean facing side of Cliff House Observatory


Courtesy of Frank Mitchell Collection


Aerial View


Aerial View
 


 

Pacific Sightseeing Company kiosk
Built 1915


Pacific Sightseeing Co   (WNPCHP)



This photo was taken circa 1936. Not sure what its use was at the time, but it has an ad in the window for a realtor.
"TO BELL HAVEN CITY AND STANFORD UNIVERSITY - David D. Bohannon REALTOR"

 


"OLIVE PAVILION AT THE CLIFF HOUSE, SAN FRANCISCO"
"WOOD-CURTIS CO., SOLE DISTRIBUTORS"
Postmarked Mar 28 1915 (reverse)
Image courtesy of Dennis O'Rorke
It's unclear what relation Caripo Olives had to what is generally called the "Pacific Sightseeing Company" kiosk.  Could this have been
the original function?  Or just a mocked up advertising image?

 


In 1937 the Whitneys moved the little building to the north end of the terrace near where the Tea House had once stood.
 


 


 

Camera Obscura

Built 1949. Some web sites claim the building was built in 1947, but there are no photos showing the Camera before the Whitney’s remodeled the Cliff House in 1949-1950. (And NPS has plans for the Camera dated 1949.)  It appears to have been built contemporaneous with the remodeling of CH. Rebuilt to look a Giant Camera in the late 1950s


 


Courtesy of Frank Mitchell Collection


 


GIANT CAMERA


Aerial View
 

 


The San Francisco Examiner - 08 June 1980
 

Plans from the GGNRA archive, March 23, 1949

 

More on the Camera Obscura:  http://brightbytes.com/cosite/sanfran.html

 

 

 

Hot Dog Stand

Not too much is known about this building. It appears at the same time the Tea House was built in 1915, and then was torn down along with the Tea House in 1936-’37. It did have a name, though: Cherry Blossom Lunch, perhaps playing off the theme of the Japanese Tea House next door.

 



 

Sled Dog Exhibit / Restroom

Located on the south side of the Terrace. It was constructed in 1915, likely as an added attraction for visitors come to SF for the PPIE.
The building was apparently reduced in size and converted to a restroom, and appeared in photos until about 1921.


"JOHNSON'S 16 SIBERIAN RACING DOGS NOW IN ACTION ADMISSION 10˘"
"(408 MILES)           (64 MILES)"
"ALL ALASKA SWEEPSTAKES & DERBY WINNERS"
Image courtesy of Glenn Koch
 


"FURS" "FROM TRAPPER TO WEARER"     "BILL BRADY PROP."
REVERSE: "At the Cliff House Sun Morning July 25th/15"
Courtesy of John Martini
 


(WNPCHP)

 

 


Restrooms on right side of photograph
(WNPCHP)

 

 

 


Hot Dog Stand, Ocean Beach in background