I Left My Heart in San Francisco History (pt. 2): The Fleishhacker Pool Ruins

The Fleishhacker Pool, built by Herbert Fleishhacker, was the largest single saltwater pool from 1925-1971.  It measured 1,000 ft long and 150 ft across, held 6,500,000 gallons of saltwater and could accommodate up to 10,000 bathers at once. It also consisted of a fairly large pool house (on the right in the picture below).

Similar to the Sutro Baths, the Fleishhacker Pool was filled by a series of pumps that took water directly from the ocean at high-tide.

The pool was so large, lifeguards had to patrol it by rowboat.

Row Boats

*Picture found on outsidelands.org

Not a whole lot is found on the Fleishhacker Pool during it’s heyday. It sounds like it had a healthy life until years of under funding and poor maintenance let to signs of deterioration.  Maintaining the pool and its facilities proved too much for the city of SF’s budget. After 1971 the pool was further damaged by a storm when a drainage pipe was rendered almost beyond repair.  As a cheap solution, the city decided to convert the saltwater pool into a freshwater pool; however, due to poor water quality, it closed that same year.

After it was closed, the pool turned into a mass waste area, where residents carelessly dumped their garbage.  It wasn’t until 1999 that the pool was filled with gravel and converted into a parking lot for the San Francisco Zoo.

The pool house was secured by the San Francisco Zoological Society the same year but remained in a state of disuse.  The windows were boarded but the homeless and graffiti artists still gained access to it for the next few years.  On December 1, 2012, a fire broke out which destroyed what remained of the pool house.  Sometime before March of 2013, the burned remains were razed. Only the signatory 3 doors remain as a facade in front of the mound of sand that used to be home the ornate pool house.

You can find pictures on flickr/just about anywhere on the internet from people who gained access to the pool house prior to the fire.  Even though I hate it when graffiti artists get into a beautiful place like this, it looks amazing. Check it out, and you’ll know what I mean. You can also use Google Earth to go into the parking lot and go into street view. The picture taken was before the fire, so you’re able to see most of the boarded-up pool house in all of it’s disheveled glory.

Today, you can see the ruins from the parking lot of the SF Zoo. You can stand exactly where people used to sunbathe and spend their youthful days prancing around in the sun.  The parking lot is located at Sloat Blvd. and Hwy 1. You can find free or metered parking on Sloat and walk into the parking lot.



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