Grand Victorian Cliff House in San Francisco, 1896

The Grand Victorian Era of San Francisco’s Historic Cliff House

Of it’s multiple incarnations, the Victorian chateau era of San Francisco’s historic Cliff House was by far the most grand.

The Cliff House is perched on cliff overlooking the ocean and the ruins of the historic Sutro Baths in San Francisco. The first incarnation of house was built with lumber from a ship wrecked on the rocks below in 1858.

After changing hands several times, the house was damaged in 1887 when an abandoned schooner loaded with dynamite ran aground and exploded. Then a chimney fire reduced the structure to ashes in 1894.

By far the most grandiose of the Cliff House’s various incarnations, the eight-story Victorian chateau was built on the site by Adolph Sutro in 1896. Though it survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, a 1907 fire burned it to the ground in less than two hours.

Photos of the Victorian-Era Cliff House

A view of the Victorian Cliff House in San Fransisco

An eerie 1901 postcard of the Cliff House

1906 Stereoview image of the Cliff House

The Cliff House burning in 1907

The basis of the structure that stands today was built after the fire in 1909.

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