The Cliff House was possibly the most iconic Victorian building to ever grace the Pacific Coast, but what happened to it?
The Cliff House was built in 1863, damaged by fire in 1884, and fully engulfed by flames in 1894. The house, which belonged to Adolf Sutro, was rebuilt and stood standing until burned down again in 1907. This phoenix of a structure went through a number of changes and through a number of hands until it was sold to the National Park Service. The NPS kept the Cliff House open to the public until sadly closing its doors forever in 2020.
In 1937 George and Leo Whitney purchased the Cliff House to complement their Playland at the Beach attraction nearby and extensively remodeled it into an American roadhouse. The building was acquired by the National Park service in 1977 and became part of the Golden gate National Recreation Area. …in 2003 as part of an extensive renovation many of Whitney’s additions were removed and the building was restored to its 1909 appearance …the concessionaires of the Cliff House reported on December 13th 2020 that they would be closing their doors