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Perched on the edge of a cliff, overlooking Ocean Beach, in San Francisco, is one of California’s oldest restaurant famous for its panoramic views and delightful cuisines. The flat-roofed, neoclassical, steel-reinforced concrete structure called the Cliff House was built in 1909, but it was not the first one to be built here.

The original Cliff House was constructed in 1863 as a fashionable resort to attract San Francisco's recently-turned-wealthy residents. It was a modest one-story wood-frame structure that provided breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Coast line.

In 1881, the Cliff House was bought by millionaire Adolph Sutro, who later became mayor of San Francisco. Sutro wanted to turn the restaurant into a wholesome, family-friendly venue. To that end, he had the rooms remodeled, hired a new management, and was in the process of constructing a railroad to bring visitors to this remote seaside attraction when a fire broke out on Christmas Day, 1894. It gutted the entire wood-framed building.

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The Victorian Cliff House, as it appeared between 1896-1907. Photo credit: www.cliffhouseproject.com

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© Amusing Planet, 2016.


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