Sutro Mansion-Sutro Forest : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

Does anyone know where to find any pictures(possibly on-line) of Adolph Sutro's mansion that was up by Sutro forest? I think it was located where the Sutro transmission tower is and possibly burned before he was able to inhabit it.

-- A. Douglas (, February 07, 2002


The Sutro Mansion was where present day Sutro Park is. The Mansion overlooked the Cliff House. He definitely inhabited it and when he died his daughters went through extensive court battles. This is around 1913.

There is a small privately published pamphlet on the gardens. But I can't seem to put my hands on it.

Good luck in your research.


-- Kurt Iversen (, February 07, 2002.

Kurt is right. The Mansion was built on top of the very top level of Sutro Park overlooking the cliff house. One photo, one drawing and a photo of an inside room and library can be found in Sutro's Biography published in 1962 which you can get from the library.

-- Harry Murphy (*), February 07, 2002.

Thanks for your input but this is not the place I was thinking about. I was actually able to find 3 photos on-line in theSF Public Library page when I punched in Sutro Forest. It shows the mansion with the KGO tower behind it(the predecessor to the current Sutro Tower).

-- A. Douglas (, February 07, 2002.

Then I don't know what it could be because when Sutro first lived in San Francisco around 1877, he lived in the Baldwin Hotel and it wasn't until 1880, right after he cashed in all his stock of the Sutro Tunnel Company, that he obtained millions of dollars to invest in San Francisco real estate. He bought mostly commercial properties and downtown land at first. Then in 1881, he took a ride out to the Cliff House and liked the area above the Cliff House so much that he knocked on the door of the owner and immediately made him an offer he couldn't refuse and bought the property on the spot. After that, Sutro began buying up all the land in the Sunset, Richmond and all the way up to Twin Peaks. But he never lived anywhere else in San Francisco other than his Sutro Heights mansion. And this can be completely substantiated if you consider that he spent lots of time helping build the Sutro Baths as well as his mansion at Sutro Heights and a new Cliff House, not to mention his railroad that ended up there.-- I know he had a fluzzy on the side that lived on Steiner and Clay streets but I'm not sure if he owned the house there. I'm not even so sure that there was anything like any mansion whatsoever built on the Mt. Sutro/Twin Peaks area during this period in time. Yes, Sutro owned much of the land up there but he donated most of it to the University of California to build a medical school.-- The only thing I can tell you is that he had a mansion in the mountains of Nevada near where his mining tunnel operations were. And I wonder if it still exists that there might be some radio tower up there. The other possibility is that the photo from his mansion in San Francisco at Sutro Heights was taken with a strong telephoto lens making it appear that the KGO radio tower was right behind it. Sutro also had an observation deck and tower at his Sutro Heights mansion that might look like a radio tower but I doubt that. Also, I have spent a fair amount of time in the Mt. Sutro area and I don't know of any existing mansion up there. They are all just regular and more modern type 1960s or later built houses.

-- Harry Murphy (, February 07, 2002.

There was indeed a Sutro Mansion atop Mt. Sutro. However, it was built by the next generation of Sutro's heirs, not Adolf.

-- John Martini (, February 07, 2002.

Thanks for all the comments. I did even more research on this and Mr. Martini was correct. It was not the house of Adolph Sutro but a later generation. It is indeed on top of Mount Sutro with the KGO tower directly behind(most likely even on the property). The pictures that I found are from 1951 and was not long after that the mansion was destroyed by fire. Any more info about this building would be greatly appreciated.

-- A. Douglas (, February 08, 2002.

The person who labeled that house the Sutro Mansion ought to be shot. When asked about the Sutro Mansion, anyone would normally assume it would be Adolf Sutro's mansion and not one of his descendants. Only a pee brain would label the photo of that mansion without the first name of Sutro's descendant.

-- Harry Murphy (*), February 08, 2002.

My great uncle used to pal around with one of Adolph's descendants in the 1920s and 1930s, and he always referred to the house in the forest as "The Sutro Mansion" since the Sutros lived there.

-- John Martini (, February 09, 2002.

The problem with assuming things is that more often than not you give out the wrong information. Thanks for all your info Mr. Martini.

-- A. Douglas (, February 09, 2002.


I think I will limit my answer to the URL showing the Mansion and the Tower:

For further questions about Sutro, consider to post a copy to the Sutro History Forum at

-- Wolfgang Schubert (, February 10, 2002.

For some reason, the URL was cut:

-- Wolfgang Schubert (, February 10, 2002.

Mt Sutro was originally named Mt Parnassus and it had no trees. On Arbor day one year, Adolph Sutro planted trees that still exist today.

-- Anonymous (???@???.???), December 08, 2002.

I was the night watchman in 1954 in the Sutro mansion. At that time it was definately called the (SUTTRO MASION)it was located on top of mount Suttro and had a fantastic view of the city.At that time it was either owned or leased by a TV station I cant rember which one.

-- Dean Winters (, January 31, 2005.

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