Cliff House Project

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First Cliff House
1863

 

San Francisciana at the Cliff House, Marilyn Blaisdell, 8"x10"

 

 


The Bancroft Library

 


Photo by Carleton E. Watkins
Courtesy of Bob Schlesinger

 


Watkins' Pacific Coast, #773
Photo by Carleton E. Watkins
Courtesy of Bob Schlesinger

 


Watkins' Pacific Coast. #777
Photo by Carleton E. Watkins
Courtesy of Bob Schlesinger

 


Watkins' Pacific Coast, #781
Photo by Carleton E. Watkins
Courtesy of Bob Schlesinger

 


Watkins' New Series, #3622
Photo by Carleton E. Watkins
Courtesy of Bob Schlesinger

 


Happy New Year card, courtesy of Lin Holland (click here for reverse)
(according to one source, this illustration was originally published in "Picturesque America",
1872, by D. Appleton, artist: R. Swain Gilford)

 


Appleton's Journal of Popular, 1870


 


Photo of painting, courtesy of E. Lauterbach
(close-up of structure below)

 



Daily Alta California - 7 February 1863
(first mention of the "new hotel")

 


Daily Alta California, 4 May 1863
This article describes the Cliff House as "now being build"



Daily Alta California - June 15 1863
This story implies the Cliff House is open for business, but possibly a "soft" opening as it concludes with the line
"A week passed at his place, when the new house is finished, will be as beneficial and delightful as a voyage to the Sandwich Islands"



Daily Alta California, 28 June 1863
This article describes the Cliff House as "just opened by Foster"
 


Daily Alta California - 6 July 1863
Installation of new mirror

 


Daily Alta California - 1 November 1863

 

 

 


Based on the above stories the Cliff House opened for business
between May 4 and June 28, however later accounts differ...
 

 


Written 31 years later, on occasion of the 1894 Christmas fire
 SF Call - 26 Dec 1894
 

  
J.M. Wilkins, former Cliff House manager, tells about the Cliff House origin 55 years after.
San Francisco Chronicle, Oct 6 1918

 

 


San Francisco Chronicle - Jul 23, 1916

 

Some sources state that Samuel Brannan built the first Cliff House...

"Cliff House has had five major incarnations since its beginnings in 1858. That year, Samuel Brannan, a prosperous ex-Mormon elder from Maine, bought for $1,500 the lumber salvaged from a ship that foundered on the basalt cliffs below. With this material he built the first Cliff House."
-- Wikipedia, 12/2016

This is not supported by the period news clippings on this page.  J.M. Wilkins, one of the early Cliff House managers, addressed this very misunderstanding back in 1918 (see above news clipping).