Cliff House Restaurant Doll House & Tortoise Music Box : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

We recently received a letter at the NPS Cliff House Visitor Center, inquiring about two things: The author writes that he began visiting the Cliff House Restaurant after the late 40's, and that there was on display a large doll house of several stories, containing miniature artifacts from around the world. Among them was a small tortoise-shell music box, which when the lid was lifted, a small feathered bird sprang up and chirped ina musical manner. (This music box was originally a favor presented to guests at one of Marie Antoinette's dinner parties.) This display was owned by an elderly woman who lived in the same house as this recent visitor/author (on Lake Street in S.F.) Can someone give: - any additional particulars of the old doll house; - a photo of the doll house (& the restaurant) - any info (especially the name) regarding the former "elderly woman" owner of the doll house; - any leads as to where else he might research this info.

How obscure can one get?

-- Wolfgang Schubert (, July 28, 2000



Believe it or not, the Cliff House's "doll house" and its elderly operator were the subjects of a mid-1950s Mickey Mouse Club newsreel story. (I caught the segment recently as a late-night rerun on the Disney Channel but didn't have time to plug a tape into the VCR.) Tell your correspondent that he should contact the Disney Channel and ask when it will air again.

As I remember, the newsreel shows a couple of kids walking past the exterior of the Doll House display, then looking at the miniatures inside and talking with the elderly lady who owned the place.

For the record, the Doll House was located in the southern end of the Cliff House basement where the Musee Mecanique is today.

And please don't ask why I was watching Mickey Mouse Club reruns at 2:00 AM, OK?


-- John Martini (, July 28, 2000.

"Mother" Larke was my grandmother and I was one of the people going into the dollhouse with my toddler in that Disney film clip. My family home was a few blocks west on Lake St. from wheree Nana lived. She died in 1970 and the dollhouse was bought and still shown by Mr. Whitney who owned most of the beach and Cliff House concessions. It was later sold by the room. A woman in Novato bought a few rooms and my daughter, then almost grown, and I visited her and saw the peices in her dollhouse.

-- Janet Mobley (, October 10, 2004.

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