Two new presumed interior photographs, discovered by Fred
Welte catalog, 1919...
Fred describes his research...
I noted the absence of Cliff House interior views, just one in
the period prior to the 1907 fire. There is mention on your website
of the 1905 addition of a Welte orchestrion to the Cliff House (see
below), from the San Francisco Call newspaper. The price given,
$10,000, is likely accurate, or close to the real expense. A Style
10 Welte Concert Orchestrion had a list price of $10,000 in the
This morning, I was reminded by the expert in all matters
relevant to Welte orchestrions, Durward R. Center, that there's a
view of the Welte instrument in the Cliff House Dining Room.
That set me on a search and I discovered a second view in an M.
Welte & Sons, Inc. catalogue sent out in 1919. The firm's address on
the catalogue was listed first in 1918, likely making it no earlier
than 1917. Despite that date, the volume contains many vintage views
of Welte installations dating back much earlier. Thus, I would offer
that the attached view could be the 1905 Sutro Welte; and especially
so if there's no mention of another Welte in the replacement
structure. There are peculiarities in both the instrument case and
the room decorative detailing that align the two images together. I
have no reason to doubt the Welte identification as Sutro's, so this
second image must also be the same installation.
As Durward told me, this is a very large Welte, perhaps from the
largest class of such devices, Concert Orchestrions Nos. 8 to 10,
playing the broadest of their rolls, the 120-hole. None in this
category are known to exist today, the largest being a single No. 7
Concert Orchestrion in Romania. The largest in the USA are No. 6s
and a No. 5; these all play the 75-hole rolls. The music from all of
them is magnificent. The only instrument playing the largest Welte
rolls, from a No. 10, is a pipe organ in England. Here is a link to
see and hear it playing the 120-hole No. 10 Concert Orchestrion
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAcvwKhixEg; and then the larger
150-hole organ rolls.
There's an excellent video of Durward and that features his
philosophy and his magnificent Style No. 5. I think you will enjoy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZphjMcGeQQ Durward restored the
Welte Concert Orchestrion for the Henry Clay Frick Mansion in
Pittsburgh, PA and recently the smaller Welte Cottage Orchestrion
for the Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor in Richmond, IN. He has done many
others for private collectors.
Fred found this photograph based on
this 1905 newspaper article
referencing a musical instrument called the Orchestrion...
San Francisco Call, Saturday, August 26, 1905
A still earlier reference...
The San Francisco Call - Sep 27 1903
Another very similar photo showing a
close-up of the same area...
LYON & HEALY, CHICAGO, ILL.
Pneumatic Concert Orchestrions
With Perforated Paper Rolls
Wonderful Imitations of Orchestras Used with Great Success in
Restaurants, Cafes, Candy Kitchens, Etc.
Image from 1908 Lyon & Healy catalog loaned to Q. David Bowers and
Arthur A. Reblitz by Kenneth Goldman.
The prior image may
be reversed (difficult to tell).
Note: the "Welte &
Sons" logo in the above image proves it to be un-mirrored.
Possible placement in Cliff House
My conclusion is that both of the
photographs are likely of the 1896-1907 Cliff House, regardless of
chairs match those in the original Roosevelt Banquet photo.
- The period looks right.
- It appears to generally fit into the blueprints,
John Hall's 3D model.
- And possibly most important, the direct mention of the
Orchestrion in the 1905 newspaper clipping.
So what became of the Orchestrion? Fred
Dahlinger provides further insight...
The big 1905 Welte apparently escaped the flames of September 7,
1907 per these stories...
Santa Cruz Weekly Sentinel - 13 July 1907
"The $20,000 Welte
Orchestrion that has been one of the attractions at the Cliff House
in San Francisco, has been loaned by the management of that resort
to the proprietors of the Casino at Santa Cruz, Cal. "
Music Trade Review, July 20, 1907, page 24
"The Casino still stands at Santa Cruz, but the company files have no
reference to the large Welte. There was a much smaller Welte unit
in their skating rink, but it has also disappeared without a trace." - Fred Dahlinger
last story suggests the orchestrion was destroyed in 1908...
Oakland Tribune - Jul 5, 1908
Not directly related, but one further reference to
musical instruments at the Cliff House...
Music Trade Review - July 20 1907, page 24
San Francisco Call - 27 Sept 1903