Following World War II the Whitney Brothers decided to give the Cliff House a facelift. During 1949 and 1950, they added a third floor dining room and pushed out the south and west walls to expand usable floor space on the street level. To mask these additions, the Whitneys clad the exterior with redwood siding and added a false brick chimney, giving the building a trendy art moderne look. In an economy move, the western façade facing the Seal Rocks was left in its original 1909 design. Small matter, though, since that side couldn’t be seen from the street. The neon signs on the building’s front reading “Since 1858” were a total fabrication; the earliest Cliff House only dated to 1863. However, as George Whitney’s son noted, his father was a showman who had been big on marketing but not very concerned with historical accuracy. This view, the taken shortly after remodeling was completed, also shows the Camera Obscura on the back terrace in its original nautical design. It wouldn’t be remodeled as a “Giant Camera” for another few years.
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