Sutro Baths recreation area, circa 1950
Originally, swimmers at Sutro Baths were prohibited from bringing their own suits. Instead, they were required to rent one of the establishment’s scratchy woolen “bathing costumes.” This was done for sanitation reasons, since the loaner swim suits could be laundered and bleached after each use. At some point this practice changed, though, as evidenced by this photograph of bathers taken sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s. In this view, bathing caps for women seem to have been the only requirement. At upper right, a concession stand with a log cabin exterior has attracted a small crowd. It was named, appropriately, the “Dive Inn.” The fun wouldn’t last much longer. In September 1952, the Whitney Brothers purchased Sutro Baths and closed the pools less than a year later.