San Francisco Zoo
The Parking Lot
Sloat and The Great Highway
This small monument is a remnant of a once great institution of San Francisco, the Fleishhacker Pool.
Fleishhacker Pool, like the San Francisco Zoo was a gift to San Francisco by Herbert Fleishhacker. The idea, conceived by John McLaren, designer of Golden Gate Park, was to help bring athletic competitions to San Francisco.
The first event held at the pool was on April 22, 1925 and featured a freestyle swimmer named Johnny Weissmuller representing the Illinois Athletic Club. Weissmuller appeared several times at Fleishhacker and was a real crowd pleaser.
The 6, 500,000 gallon, filtered seawater filled pool, opened to the general public on May 1, 1925. It cost 25 cents for adults and 15 cents for kids under 12. For that you had use of the the dressing rooms with showers, and the loan of a bathing suit and towel that were sterilized between uses.
The pool had twelve lifeguards and a number of life rowboats. It also boasted a tree-sheltered beach, a cafeteria, and even child care if you needed it.
The pool, while it existed was the largest in the world. In 1943 U.S. troops used it to train for amphibious beach assaults.
Slowly slipping into disrepair the pool suffered its final blow when an outflow pipe collapsed in a 1971 storm, the city was unable to foot the bill for repairs. The pool closed in June of 1971, and the concrete was broken up and the hole filled with dirt. The land was granted to the zoo with the intention of adding parking.
The pool house however, remained, it was hoped it would become a restaurant. Sadly it simply became a shelter for vagrants and feral cats. The pool house caught fire and burned to the ground on December 1, 2012
leaving San Francisco with but a remnant of a glorious past.