Felt the need for some outdoor adventure on yet another dreary day and decided to hike up to the cross on Mt. Davidson (since we'd only ever seen it in "Dirty Harry"). Took a round about route down Monterey Blvd and saw this awesome building by the side of the road.
Turns out it used to be a really beautiful conservatory, second only in grandeur to the one in Golden Gate Park. Built in the early 1900's by William Merralls the original conservatory was quite large with lots of glass windows and sitting areas and whatnot and sat in an open field adjacent to the Merralls' house. Merralls' second wife Temperance dubbed it "Sunnyside Laboratories" and planned to expand the grounds of the conservatory and turn it into a sanitarium, until her husband was randomly and tragically hit by a train in Alameda. A lack of funds ensued and she was forced to turn the property over to the bank. There it sat, slowly decaying, until 1919 when the property was finally purchased again. At this point rumor has it that the field was so overgrown the new owners didn't even know the conservatory existed until they stumbled upon it while chasing their dog (nice work Lassie). Fast forward to 1978 when another set of owners took over the conservatory (now even more vandalized and decayed) and tried to get a permit to tear it down. Somehow the city overlooked the fact that they'd made it a registered City Landmark in 1975 (# 78, dammit) and gave the okay. It wasn't until neighbors intervened that the mistake was corrected and the battering ram put away, but about 30 percent of the structure had been destroyed. Restoration and gardening's been done since then, but whats left now is quite small compared to what it must've been like in the beginning.
According to the info posted by the walkway, there's a new renovation plan about to get underway which means it could be quite fantastic once again.
Trees like this make me want to go back to Panama. I swear some of the foliage there is straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.
You almost forget its winter.
Almost, but not quite.
Finally made it up Mt. Davidson to the cross. I think I hadn't realized it was so big, kind of figured we'd be able to climb up and sit on it or something. Pretty impressive up there all by itself.
Didn't know that either.
The whole area's full of little trails winding around the mountain. Pretty neat to explore without anyone else around.
Hobbit hills as well.
Sutro Tower lost in the fog. Sometimes when the clouds are just right the top of it looks like a tall sailing ship.
With our "hike" having been more of a walk, we found ourselves with ample daylight (if it can be called that) and decided to climb around Sutro Baths before getting some lunch.
Another relic that must've been amazing in its heyday.
When it first opened to the public in 1896, Sutro Baths was billed as the world's largest indoor swimming establishment, with 7 different pools a body could choose from, ranging in temperature and salinity (salt water or fresh). During high tide water came in directly from the sea to fill the pools and when the tide was low, a giant turbine filled in the rest. Just in case water wasn't your bag there was also a museum housing Adolf Sutro's collectibles, a concert hall and (for a short time) an ice-skating rink. As one might guess, the cost of all this was slightly higher than maintaining a hot tub and sadly for us the Baths eventually closed. In 1966 a fire destroyed what was left of the structures while they were already undergoing demolition.
Quite a bit of weather down there. Though the face says otherwise, its kind of fun to get all windblown once in a while.
The sailor who fell from grace with the sea.
Into the warmth of Louis' for some much needed chowder and yet another tuna sandwich. Such and lovely view and they're always really nice, even though they must get thronged by tourists on a regular basis. Nobody around in the rain but regulars.
Okay, where to start? The Sunnyside Conservatory can be found at 236 Monterey Blvd near Congo St which is on the way to Mt. Davidson if you take the backwards and circuitous route that we did. Better to look that one up yourself, its on all the maps (Mt. Davidson that is) and hey, you're sitting in front of a computer right? Louis' Restaurant is just up the hill from The Cliff House on Point Lobos Ave and overlooks what remains of Sutro Baths, if you head north from Ocean Beach you can't miss either one. Also check out the Western Neighborhoods Project for all sorts of neat information on things like Sunnyside and the Sutro Baths.