Sutro Baths were developed in 1894 by Adolph Sutro, the self-made millionaire who designed Sutro Heights and later the second cliff house. He constructed an ocean pool aquarium among the rocks north of the cliff house. Sutro expanded his oceanfront complex by creating a massive public bathhouse that covers three acres. It housed seven swimming pools at various temperatures, which also included slides, trapezes, springboards and high dives.
The Pacific ocean during high tide could fill the 1.7 million gallons of water required for all the swimming pools in just one hour. In addition to swimming, Sutro Baths could hold up to 10,000 guests and offered their visitors many other attractions including concerts, talent shows, and restaurants.
Over time the baths became less popular, due to the great depression, reduction in available public transportation and new public health codes. Eventually, Sutro Baths closed in 1966 and burned down in June of the same year. The remains of the pool offer a glimpse into San Francisco’s past.
Rumors have reported human sacrifices performed in the tunnels and caves that once made up the Sutro Baths. Some say if you visit the baths at night and light a candle at the end of the tunnel a spirit will come and pick it up and throw it into the water. Some claim if you look at the crevices in the caves you can see figures in bathing suits and umbrellas like Sutro Baths were in the day.