ABC looks back at the Sutro Baths fire, 45 years ago this week


  1. Thanks for the replay. Especially liked the brief footage of the interior in use.

  2. I wish they would rebuild it exactly as it was. it would be a major tourist attraction in the neighborhood

    the ruins are pointless. not old enough to be interesting.

  3. Yep, I remember vividly, sitting across on Sutro’s cliff watching the inferno in 1966. Especially seeing a safe glowing red hot still stands out in memory. Sad, it was a fun place to visit, liked the mummy display. The fire was/is suspicious.

  4. Does anyone else remember ice skating at Sutros? And let’s not forget the important role Sutro Baths played in “Harold and Maude.”

  5. Jean Barish,
    It was well before my time in San Francisco, but I do know that the Sutro Baths was turned into an ice skating rink & arcade because I saw a 1958 Film Noir called “The Line Up” whose ending scenes were filmed on location, inside & out, at the site. “Harold & Maude” is an amazing movie, but this one is important because it shows the structure in full-skate swing, before the fire I’m surprised that this news story doesn’t mention Anything about the ice skating (mega) rink period of Sutro Baths. Anyway, you can watch the entire film in clips on YouTube, but here is the link of the 10 minute scene inside the Sutro Rink. It’s really cool!

  6. I remember the museum, the ice skating rink & the scary tram that went over the waves to the caves. We lived on 41st Ave & Anza & everyone was out in the middle of the streets around sunset watching the Cliff House/Sutro Baths burn. People were hosing off their roofs since there were burning ashes floating around. My parents were from Germany & arrived in San Francisco in 1939, they told me how they used to go swimming at the Sutro Baths & how they rode a train through the sand dunes to get to Ocean Beach (Maybe through the Sunset District, I think it was built after alot of the Richmond).There was no train anywhere near the Ocean beach when I was a child, but I do remember Playland very well, the salt water “Olympic” pool next to the Zoo & the old train that was in the sand in the Children’s Playground that was next to the zoo. I loved to climb on that train, that was back in the days before people started suing for large amounts of money for every little possible reason. When that started to happen, alot of fun things were torn down & places started to close, like Marin Town & Country Club in Fairfax (Marin County) & Frontier Village in San Jose. Of course, the land became very valuable, too 🙂

  7. A girl living at 741-41st was the catalyst that started me ice skating. We were going to go swimming at the Fleischhacker pool one summer day in June ’53. The day we were going to go swimming was a typical western SF summer day, foggy and cold. Luise’s mother suggested we go to Sutro’s which had indoor pools. I had never heard of Sutro’s before. As we descended down those many stairs, we came uopn the ice rink. After watching the skaters before and after swimming, I thought skating looked interesting and went to try it about a week later. I have been a skater ever since; even a competitor at one time. I have a lot of skating memories at Sutro’s from 1953 through 1966. My wife was an ice dancer and we skated at the final Sunday morning public ice dance session in March of 1966. When I was in college, I worked part time at the rink. I used to go in to Sutro’s at 05:15 three mornings a week to surface the ice for 06:00 patch. This was where the competitors practiced “school figures” which were a large part of ice-skating competition at the time. Driving that Zamboni surfacer was good experience later for driving in snow and ice when I went skiing.

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