We hope you will join us on Monday evening, November 19th at 6:30, for "Steam Trains, Shipwrecks and Cemeteries: The Story of Lands End," a talk by historian and author John A. Martini.
Martini will show us rare historic photographs documenting the coast from Point Lobos to China Beach. The talk will be followed by a book-signing of his Sutro's Glass Palace: The Story of Sutro Baths.
This event will be held at the California Room Map & Special Collections Annex at 1600 Los Gamos, Suite 182 (via Lobby B), in San Rafael.
Below, John introduces Albert Sutro and Lands End.
By John A. Martini
San Francisco’s Lands End has been referred to as the city’s “wilderness next door.” Its undeveloped rocky coastline extends from the Ocean Beach to Baker’s Beach and encompasses many of San Francisco’s most iconic sites: the Cliff House, the ruins of Sutro Baths, Fort Miley, Lincoln Park Golf Course, and stunning views of the Golden Gate and Marin Headlands. What’s lesser known are the nearly forgotten histories of Lands End: steam trains and streetcars that once rounded its precipitous cliffs; mysterious tunnels that penetrate rocky promontories; a sprawling cemetery beneath modern day Lincoln Park Golf Course; and the rusting shipwrecks that dot its shore.
It all started in 1863 when the Cliff House was constructed — or rather, the first Cliff House. (It’s burned down twice and blown up once.) Later, silver baron Adolph Sutro bought most of Lands End area and converted into a seaside recreation site the featured the largest indoor swimming complex in the world (or at least, for a while): the Sutro Baths & Museum. Sutro’s other developments included a steam train and streetcar that connected to downtown San Francisco, and a gargantuan “Victorian” Cliff House that teetered on the edge of Point Lobos. A series of fires destroyed many of these site, leaving only mysterious ruins at the western shore of San Francisco.