Fleishhacker Pool and Bath House (closed) (1979)
Location within San Francisco
|Architectural style||Mediterranean Revival|
|Location||Sloat Boulevard and Great Highway|
|Town or city||San Francisco, California|
|Design and construction|
Earl Clements (Fleishhacker Pool)
Fleishhacker Pool was a public saltwater swimming pool located in the southwest corner of San Francisco, California next to the San Francisco Zoo at Sloat Boulevard and the Great Highway. Upon its completion in 1925, it was one of the largest heated outdoor swimming pools in the world and remained open for more than four decades until its closure in 1971. It was eventually demolished in 2000.
It was built by philanthropist and civic leader Herbert Fleishhacker in 1924, and opened April 22, 1925. The pool measured 1,000 by 150 ft (300 by 50 m), held 6,500,000 US gal (25,000,000 L) of seawater, and accommodated 10,000 bathers. The pool was so large the lifeguards required rowboats for patrol, and was used by the military for drills and exercises. The pool water was pumped from the Pacific Ocean, 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. This resulted in a constant pool water temperature of 72 degrees for AAU swim meets.
The water provided by a series of pumps and piping at high tide, directly from the Pacific Ocean, 650 ft (200 m) away. There was also a diving pool measuring 50 ft (15 m) square and 14 ft (4.3 m) deep and a two tiered diving tower.
After years of underfunding and poor maintenance, the pool was showing some deterioration when a storm in January 1971 damaged its drainage pipe. Because the repair costs exceeded the City's budget, the pool was converted to a fresh water pool which resulted in poor water quality. As a result of the poor attempt at conversion and resulting water quality, the pool was closed by the end of 1971.
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. The poolhouse was derelict, neglected, and occupied by the homeless for many years until it was destroyed by a fire on December 1, 2012. The remaining ruins are to be demolished, with the building's ornate porticos and some of the roof tiles to be preserved on site in memoriam.
- Starr, Kevin (2002). The Dream Endures: California Enters the 1940s. Oxford University Press. p. 122. ISBN 0195157974.
- James Smith (2007). "Fleishhacker Pool". San Francisco City Guides. Retrieved 28 August 2010.
- "Historic Sites: Fleishhacker Pool". San Francisco Zoological Society. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
- Brock Keeling (December 1, 2012). "Fleishhacker Pool House Next To SF Zoo On Fire". SFist. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
- Peter Fimrite (December 19, 2012). "Fleishhacker bathhouse facing demolition". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
- List of 26 photos of Fleishhacker Pool at Library of Congress
- Ocean Beach Bulletin: "Before Now – Fleishhacker Pool and its 6 million gallons"
- Terrastories.com: Contemporary photos of the Fleishhacker Bath House & History of the Pool
- SFgate.com: "Shrinkage: The vanishing swimming pools of San Francisco"
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