Sunday, August 30, 2015

After Dark Fires near the San Francisco Cliff House

Previously thought this image showed the 1966 fire that destroyed Sutro Baths. However, photos and fire timelines provided by David Gallagher of the Western Neighborhoods Project suggest that my photo depicts the 1963 fire of the gift shop and restaurant between the Cliff House and Sutro Baths. 

According to David the 1963 fire “… was all after dark… It started at 5:30pm and was contained around 9.” In contrast the 1966 fire ”…started around 2pm and was contained around 5pm. It was late June, the longest days of the year.” The comparison photos appear to show the same structures burning and, perhaps, the same firefighter atop the extended ladder.

Dale Wong, high school friend and photographer, did capture some great photos of the Sutro Bath fire. In contrast to the timeline offered by David, however, Dale noted “…photo I took after the initial fire shows the total destruction aftermath of the entrance to Sutro Baths and parts of the adjacent Cliff Chalet business that had fire and water damaged. Although the fire was said to be contained initially by the afternoon of the fire, the night photo that I took later showed the fire was still on going…the fire may have been contained and may not have spread into other adjoining businesses but it was still going for 24 hours from the start. Aside from the Chalet, I do not know of any other businesses that were affected.” Dale's photo:

Thanks to David Gallagher and Dale Wong for their accounts of the fires and photos.

Link to original post about my photo:

Link to Western Neighbors Project webpage:

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sutro Baths in Flames

Sutro Baths burned down on June 26, 1966. The Bath was located at northwest edge of San Francisco overlooking the Pacific. This photo was taken from the cliffside overlooking Point Lobos Ave.
More here:    Sutro Baths History     The Fire

The image was scanned from an original print (negative lost) and minor repairs made. A sepia rendering captures a different aspect.

The photo was taken with a Yashica Mat-LM (stolen a few years later). I recently found a used one in mint conditio--depicted with my original print below.

Camera Note. 

Yashica Mat-LM is a 2 1/4 by 2 1/4 format camera (Type 120 film). More here: Yashica Mat-LM

Before my camera was stolen I got some great photos of the 1969 People's Park Memorial Day March. More here: People Park March

Update 8/30/15--Recently discovered that my photo is not the 1966 Sutro Baths fire as originally believed. Follow this link for an explanation and additional photos: