Sutro Heights Park

Founder: Adolph Sutro | City: San Francisco, CA | Project Type: estate
Date Visited: 11.05.12

Locations: 48th Ave & Point Lobos Ave Golden Gate National Recreation Area San Francisco, CA 94121
Size: 22 acres
Official Opening Date: 1885

Adolph Strauss, the 24th mayor of San Francisco who left behind the legacy of the Sutro Baths and who once owned one-twelfth of San Francisco, also left behind another treasure: the grounds of his former estate, Sutro Heights Park.

A recreation of European Victorian gardens, Sutro Heights became defined by elaborate gardens and parterres, a conservatory filled with exotic, tropical flowers, and 200 replicas of European statuary. He opened the site to the public in 1885, hoping that the park would provide “accessible examples of European culture to these visitors.”

Sutro parapet with statues in 1890s. Photo Credit:

After Sutro’s death, his estate lands were transferred over to the City of San Francisco, under the condition that the land permanently remain as a public park. In 1976, the land changed hands again over to the National Park Service for grounds improvement and maintenance. Sutro Heights Park is now managed as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Although many of the old relics and statuary are gone, there are still traces of the grand estate to explore. In any case, the uphill climb to the top of the windswept parapet ruins offer a fantastic view over the Pacific Ocean.

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