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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Francisco in San Francisco City and County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

The City at Play

 
 
The City at Play Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, April 1, 2019
1. The City at Play Marker
Inscription.  
In the mid-1800s, the Gold Rush brought San Francisco new residents, booming business, and the need for a place to celebrate. Ocean Beach, with its unparalleled views, fresh air, and vast stretch of smooth sandy shoreline, offered the perfect resort atmosphere and quickly developed as the city's hot spot.

The Cliff House opened in 1863 — rivaling the five-year-old Seal Rock House resort and attracting the nation's presidents and the city's elite with extravagant meals, incredible views, and performers who wowed onlookers with acts such as an attempted tightrope walk from Seal Rock to land.

The Ocean Beach Pavillion, a concert and dance hall adjacent to the Seal Rock House, attracted music lovers when it opened in 1884 (it also served as the training quarters for boxers, including champion Jack Johnson). The dance hall was variously named The Bagdad, The Sahara, and Hawaiiland before becoming in 1927 the longtime home of the popular restaurant and nightclub Topsy's Roost. At this poultry palace, diners indulged in fifty-cent chicken dinners, flew their upstairs dining "coops" by shooting down a slide to the dance floor,
Upper right image image. Click for full size.
Courtesy: Marilyn Blaisdell Collection, April 1, 2019
2. Upper right image
San Francisco's Ocean Beach before Seal Rock House, circa 1858.
and spent the evening boogying to the sounds of Red Lockwood and his Musical Roosters. During the 1960s it catered to another generation as rock 'n' roll club The Family Dog before ultimately becoming a slot-car raceway.

Sutro Baths, which opened to the public in 1896, brought more visitors to the west end of San Francisco to swim in the fresh- and salt-water pools and watch swimming competitions. The baths also offered unusual entertainment: the "Anthropic Amphibian" who ate, drank, slept, and even smoked while submerged; Professor M. H. Gay and Jack, his high-driving pooch; "Zeda, the boneless boy wonder"; and exhibits of knights' armor, totem poles, Egyptian mummies, and hundreds of other eclectic artifacts.

Amusement park Playland-at-the-Beach was a latecomer as a seaside attraction, but its origins derive from a nineteenth-century squatters' settlement across from Ocean Beach called "Mooneysville-by-the-Sea." In the late 1800s, Mooneysville residents built a row of carnival stands that became equally if not more popular with visitors than the impressive neighboring establishments. By the early 1900s, the squatters' carnival grew into a burgeoning amusement center and remained a San Francisco institution until 1972.

"In the Fun House there was the spinning disc that just reminded me, I guess, of life...because you struggled to stay on it and
Middle right image image. Click for full size.
Courtesy: Marilyn Blaisdell Collection, April 1, 2019
3. Middle right image
Topsy's Roost — Dancing and Dining — 50¢ chicken diners.
be the last one left...but in doing so, you'd miss out on the fun of spinning off..."
Michael Pedroni
 
Erected 1996.
 
Location. 37° 46.407′ N, 122° 30.595′ W. Marker is in San Francisco, California, in San Francisco City and County. Marker is at the intersection of La Playa Street and Cabrillo Street, on the right when traveling north on La Playa Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: San Francisco CA 94121, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Memorable Muse (here, next to this marker); Hints of History (here, next to this marker); Turning Sand to Gold (a few steps from this marker); Ticket to Ride (a few steps from this marker); Historical Site (within shouting distance of this marker); Roald Amundsen (approx. ¼ mile away); The New Cliff House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Schooner Parallel “Blown to Atoms” 1887 (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Francisco.
 
Also see . . .
1. Cliff House, San Francisco. (Submitted on April 9, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
2. Seal Rock House. (Submitted on April 9, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
3. Ocean Beach Pavillion. (Submitted on April 9, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
4. Jack Johnson. (Submitted on April 9, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
5. Topsy's Roost. (Submitted on April 9, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
6. Sutro Baths History
Lower image image. Click for full size.
Courtesy: Marilyn Blaisdell Collection, April 1, 2019
4. Lower image
. (Submitted on April 9, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
7. Playland at the Beach. (Submitted on April 9, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
8. Mooneyville. (Submitted on April 9, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
 
Categories. Entertainment
 
The City at Play Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, April 2, 2019
5. The City at Play Marker
Playland-at-the-Beach markers image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, April 1, 2019
6. Playland-at-the-Beach markers
The City at Play marker is at the far left.
 
More. Search the internet for The City at Play.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 11, 2019. This page originally submitted on April 9, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 44 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 9, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.
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