5 old ruins worth discovering in San Francisco
1) Fort Miley Batteries to Land's End Octagon House
Built in 1899, this military stronghold was built to protect the city from attack through WWII. A cemetery dating back to the Gold Rush had to be cleared first. What remains are the empty gun batteries and an octagon house which kept eye on incoming ships at the Golden Gate. All these are well hidden by trees.
2) Portals of the Past
These pillars once graced the entrance of railroad tycoon Alban Towne’s Nob Hill mansion. The home and much of SF was destroyed in the 1906 devastation. Photographer Arnold Genthe caught an iconic image of the city’s destruction framed between these columns. The portals were then placed on the lake as a symbol of perseverance for the city.
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3) Sutro Baths
Once the world’s largest indoor swimming complex with glass ceilings, slides, swings, trampolines and plenty of amusement. Though the oceanside baths were popular, it wasn’t profitable and was expensive to maintain. It closed in 1965 and what remains today are concrete and steel ruins. A great area to explore at sunset.
4) Sutro Heights Park Ruins
This was the estate of millionaire and former mayor Adolph Sutro. It included a public garden with an observatory, conservatory, parapet and hundreds of statues. The Sutros lived here until 1938, when Adolph’s daughter Emma died and the land was donated to the city. All is gone, but the parapet remains and offers perfect views of the ocean.
5) Wreck of the King Philip
The King Philip clipper ship was built in 1856 and wrecked here in 1878. It was beyond repair and auctioned for its scrap. Its masts, sails and fittings were stripped, but sightings of its bow and stern will occur every few years during very low tides. If you time your visit accordingly, you might get a lucky glimpse.
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