Fleishhacker Pool

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Fleishhacker Pool
Fleischhacker Pool & Bath House.jpg
Fleishhacker Pool and Bath House (closed) (1979)
Fleishhacker Pool is located in San Francisco County
Fleishhacker Pool
Location within San Francisco
General information
Architectural styleMediterranean Revival
LocationSloat Boulevard and Great Highway
Town or citySan Francisco, California
CountryUnited States
Coordinates37°44′01″N 122°30′22″W / 37.733477°N 122.505978°W / 37.733477; -122.505978Coordinates: 37°44′01″N 122°30′22″W / 37.733477°N 122.505978°W / 37.733477; -122.505978
Construction started1924
Design and construction
ArchitectEarl Clements (Fleishhacker Pool)
Clarence R. Ward and J. Harry Blohme (pool building and bath house)
NRHP reference No.79000529
Added to NRHPDecember 31, 1979

Fleishhacker Pool or Delia Fleishhacker Memorial Building was a public saltwater swimming pool located in the southwest corner of San Francisco, California, United States, next to the San Francisco Zoo at Sloat Boulevard and the Great Highway. Upon its completion in 1925, it was one of the largest outdoor swimming pools in the world; it remained open for more than four decades until its closure in 1971. It was eventually demolished in 2000.


The pool was built by philanthropist and civic leader Herbert Fleishhacker in 1924, and opened on April 22, 1925. Measuring 1,000 by 150 ft (300 by 50 m) and holding 6,500,000 US gal (25,000,000 L) of seawater, it accommodated 10,000 bathers and at its opening the largest swimming pool in the United States and one of the largest, (in theory), heated outdoor pools in the world. It had a diving pool measuring 50 ft (15 m) square and 14 ft (4.3 m) deep with a two-tiered diving tower.[1][2] The pool was so large the lifeguards required rowboats for patrol, and was used by the military for drills and exercises.

The water was provided by a series of pumps and piping at high tide, directly from the Pacific Ocean 650 ft (200 m) away, filtered, and heated. The pool's heater could warm 2,800 US gal (11,000 L) of seawater from 60 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit each minute, in theory providing a constant pool water temperature of 72 degrees for AAU swim meets,[3] but in practice tended to vary between 65 and 75 degrees, which was a chilly temperature for most swimmers.[1]


Remains of Fleishhacker Pool Bath House. The building burned down in December 2012. The rubble has been removed and all that remains is the framing around the main entrances. Photo taken from the San Francisco Zoo parking lot, facing west.

After years of underfunding and poor maintenance, the pool was showing some deterioration when a storm in January 1971 damaged its drainage pipe. Usage of the pool had been low, and the repair costs exceeded the City's budget,[1] so the pool was converted to fresh water, resulting in poor water quality; it was closed by the end of 1971.[3]

In 1999, the San Francisco Zoological Society was granted ownership of the pool house. The swimming pool itself was filled with rocks and gravel, with the space now serving as a parking lot for the zoo.[4] The poolhouse stood derelict and occupied by wildlife and homeless people for many years until it was destroyed by a fire on December 1, 2012.[1][5][6] The remaining ruins were demolished, and only a fragment consisting of three ornate entrances remains.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Tessa McLean (March 20, 2020). "The largest pool in the U.S. was once in San Francisco". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  2. ^ Kevin Starr (2002). The Dream Endures: California Enters the 1940s. Oxford University Press. p. 122. ISBN 0195157974.
  3. ^ a b James Smith (2007). "Fleishhacker Pool". San Francisco City Guides. Retrieved 28 August 2010.
  4. ^ "Historic Sites: Fleishhacker Pool". San Francisco Zoological Society. Archived from the original on 23 October 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  5. ^ Brock Keeling (December 1, 2012). "Fleishhacker Pool House Next To SF Zoo On Fire". SFist. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  6. ^ Peter Fimrite (December 19, 2012). "Fleishhacker bathhouse facing demolition". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  7. ^ "Fleishhacker Pool Ruins". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 21 January 2017.

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