550 37th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94121

The Outer Richmond was home to many of the city’s most cherished leisure activities in the late 1930s. Known as the Outside Lands, the Sunset and Richmond Districts were not considered part of San Francisco until 1866. The model showcases Playland-at-the-Beach, the Cliff House, Sutro Baths, the remains of Sutro Heights, the Lincoln Park Golf Course, and the Palace of the Legion of Honor. In the late nineteenth century, wealthy San Franciscans developed the area known as Lands End into a recreational resort, complete with a steam train that carried passengers from downtown to the ocean. The Sutro Baths featured a large, indoor saltwater swimming pool, and was the subject of an 1897 discrimination suit by a black patron, John Harris, who won damages from Adolph Sutro for being refused admission.

Not visible on the model are the Ohlone people, the original inhabitants of the San Francisco Bay Area, or the Richmond’s diverse ethnic features, which emerged in the early 1900s, when Russian Orthodox and Eastern European Jews moved in from the Western Addition, and continued as Japanese Americans returned to the city after internment during World War II. Today, there is a vibrant Chinese American community, which arose in the area after the Chinese Exclusion Act was lifted in 1965. Also not visible are the spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and the Marin Headlands that attract numerous visitors who hike the ruins of the Sutro Baths and build bonfires along the frigid waters and windswept sands of Ocean Beach.

Historical Photos

All photos courtesy of the San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

Scale Model Installation Photos

All photos courtesy of Beth LaBerge.

Neighborhood Mixtape

Branch Events

February 19th, 2019: The Outer Richmond and the 1938 San Francisco Scale Model

February 27th, 2019: Reading the Model at Anza

March 15th, 2019: SF Lego Challenge