San Francisco: 1896-1903, 1905-1906. Approximately 390 programs. Folio. Most programs a single folded sheet. Several single-sheet flyers included, some programs with inserts. Some light wear and soiling, but generally clean. Very good. Item #1797
An extensive archive of almost 400 official programs issued for the daily activities at the Sutro Baths. The Sutro Baths were the brainchild of Gold Rush millionaire and noted San Franciscan Adolph Sutro, who also owned and rebuilt the adjacent Cliff House. "Sutro's dream for the Baths was to provide a healthy, recreational and inexpensive swimming facility for thousands of San Franciscans. A classic Greek portal opened to a massive glass enclosure containing seven swimming pools at various temperatures. There were slides, trapezes, springboards and a high dive. The power of the Pacific Ocean during high tide could fill the 1.7 million gallons of water required for all the pools in just one hour. The Baths could accommodate 10,000 people at one time and offered 20,000 bathing suits and 40,000 towels for rent" - National Park Service. The Baths were never profitable, and the property eventually became too expensive to maintain. Their use declined in the 1930s, and they were closed and sold to developers in 1964. A fire gutted the property in 1966, and the ruins eventually became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Opened on March 14, 1896, this archive of programs encompasses activities for the first ten years of the Baths. The program for March 17, 1896, present here, is actually a program for Saturday March 14th, opening day, with two pasteovers listing activities for Tuesday the 17th, rendering it an even more interesting artifact. Opening day activities, as seen beneath the pastedown, included speeches by notable locals, a Grand Athletic Exhibition, and a concert by Cassasa's California Exposition Band; Baths opened at 3p.m. Activities planned for the 17th included an Aquatic Exhibition featuring trapeze diving, two experts "fancy diving," and several participatory swimming races, as well as a St. Patrick's Day music programme. The programs are generally uniform in style, containing a list of activities and many local advertisements. They are very ephemeral in nature -- usually a single, folded sheet of thin colored paper designed to be used for a day at the Baths -- and their survival here as a group is a rare feat.