Sutro Pleasure Grounds at Merrie Way
Adolph Sutro was one of San Francisco’s greatest entrepreneurs. In addition to developing the Cliff House, Sutro Baths, Sutro Gardens and a streetcar line, he also set out to create a grand amusement park in San Francisco. The 1894 Midwinter Fair, located in Golden Gate Park had just closed. Sutro purchased the best rides for his own needs and moved them to his new location, just east of the Sutro Baths.
The Sutro Pleasure Grounds opened in 1896 and promised to be every bit as thrilling as the amusements of Coney Island in New York. Over the next few years park-goers would enjoy an array of extraordinary, bizarre, and terrifying rides, breathtaking scenery of the rocky pacific, and hot food, produce, cigars, and souvenirs all sold at a number of charming concession stands that lined the park.
Sadly, the merrie-making did not last long. After Sutro’s death in 1898, his family needed to consolidate his businesses and in 1900, Merrie Way’s gates closed for good. Over time, workers dismantled the main attractions and the metal remnants were sold as scrap. The only remnants of the amusement park were a few of its quaint concession stands, which continued to sell food and other wares to local visitors.