Cliff House and Seal Rocks, San Francisco, Cal. USA - circa 1901
Written on reverse:
Is it Columbia herself that is standing to receive us? Not sitting, in fruitless dreaming, like the placid Asian Buddha, to whom we have just said good-bye, though he was too sleepy to say good-bye to us, but standing, alert, happy, free Columbia! We exclaim more heartily even than when we left Washington:
"Columbia, Columbia, to glory arise,
The queen of the earth, and the child of the skies!"
No matter what they call the marble image; this is our land, and there waves Old Glory from Fort Winfield Scott, on the San Francisco side of the Golden Gate.
"Thank God! I also am an American!"
The Cliff House is world famous. It is at Point Lobos, within the city of San Francisco, and affords an excellent view of the Seal Rocks, where hundreds of sea-lions may be seen or may be heard barking above the roar of the breakers.
Now let us not make the foolish mistake of those who 'do' Europe and the Orient and fancy they have seen the world, while their own world, the glorious New World, remains unknown to them. With our feet once more on Liberty's own soil, we set out to see the Americas - North, Central, South and Antillean America. America, all of it for the Americans!
Adolph Sutro spent $75,000 to rebuild and furnish the Cliff House in grandiose style. Fashioned after a French chateau, the second Cliff House opened in February of 1896 and boasted eight stories, four spires, and an observation tower 200 feet above sea level. Though never a hotel, it served as an elegant site for dining, dancing, and entertainment. The third floor held a photo gallery, reception room, and multiple parlors with beautiful panoramic views. The second floor held 20 private lunchrooms, an art gallery, and a gem exhibit. At ground level, there was a large dining room, parlor, bar, numerous private dining rooms, and the kitchens.
Visited by two U.S. presidents, William McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt, as well as many other famous citizens of the world, the Cliff House remained a favorite of the local population. Sutro’s streetcar line and his desire to share the luxury and splendor of his new Cliff House with the general public combined to bring crowds of San Franciscans to the coast. In 1898 Adolph Sutro died after a long illness. In June of 1907 the Cliff House was leased to John Tait of Tait’s at the Beach, and seven partners. On September 7, 1907, after extensive remodelling and just prior to reopening, the most resplendent and beloved of all Cliff Houses burned to its foundation. This exquisite building had survived the 1906 earthquake only to succumb to a raging fire that destroyed it in less than two hours.