Dined at Vanessi’s. Stopped at Sutro Park.

Diary of Helen Hussy February 5, 1939 – Sunday.

Vanessi'sVanessi's Post Card

Sunday Febrary 5, 1939. “Went to the museum in the A.M. Went to Marc’s office, met Kathleen. All to eat at Vanessi’s.”

Venessi's Crew



“Nice ride home. Stopped at Sutro Park.”

Sutro Heights Palm Avenue Post Card

Sutro Heights Park was the estate of Adolph Sutro, land developer and a mayor of San Francisco. The estate once contained many Romanistic statues and a plant conservatory.

Sutro Heights Main Gate

In 1881, Adolf Sutro purchased 22 acres of undeveloped land at the edge of the city, which included a promontory overlooking the Cliff House and Seal Rocks with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, Mount Tamalpais, and the Golden Gate. Taking advantage of the views, Sutro turned this property into Sutro Heights, an elaborate public garden that was filled with decorated flower beds, statues, forests and vista points. Photo Source Dennis O’Rorke Collection

Sutro Park Architecture

Sutro built his home on a rocky ledge overlooking the Cliff House and Seal Rocks just south of Point Lobos and north of Ocean Beach. The grounds consisted of a spacious turreted mansion, a carriage house and out buildings set in expansive gardens. The estate dominated the area. He spent in excess of a million dollars trying to recreate an Italian garden. By 1883, Sutro opened his gardens to the public and allowed strolling the grounds for the donation of a dime. That small fee helped to pay the fifteen gardeners he employed to maintain the grounds.
Sutro Park Overlook
Adolph Sutro died in 1898, land rich but cash poor following his frustrating tenure as Mayor of San Francisco. His daughter Emma lived on the estate at Sutro Heights until her death in 1938. The house is visible on the 1938 layer of Google Earth, located at 122°30’42.98″W 37°46’39.71″N. Becoming too expensive to maintain, the family donated the estate to the City of San Francisco that same year. The city demolished the buildings and removed the statuary with the exception of the winged lions at the gate and a few select pieces. The estate became Sutro Heights Park.
An excellent blog article showing Sutro Heights today: http://landscapevoice.com/sutro-heights-park/

Stow Lake Postcard

“Also walked to Stow Lake. Later stopped at Tony’s. To delicatessen, supper + read at night. Some rain.”

An excellent blog article showing Sutro Heights today: http://landscapevoice.com/sutro-heights-park/

I am Dan Soderberg, award winning documentary film maker and phototgrapher specializing in architecture, historic preservation and nature.

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