Scenes of the City: Fleishhacker Pool House

Scenes of the City: Fleishhacker Pool House


This week, our Scenes of the City photo series takes us to SF’s Fleishhacker Pool, once the largest pool in the world. In its heydey, it held 6 million gallons of water and could accommodate 10,000 swimmers. It was so large that the life guards needed row boats. Fed by saltwater from nearby Ocean Beach, the pool was equipped with gaudy diving towers, swings and diving boards. 


Fleishhacker Pool, taken in 1925, courtesy of a private collector (note the Pool House in the background left).

Built in 1925, the pool was the vision of philanthropist banker Herbert Fleishhacker. After several decades of high times, the pool succumbed to outflow drain problems after storms.

Now, the only remnants of the facility is the pool house (seen in the background of the photo above) that now sits facing the SF Zoo parking lot (where the pool use to be).

One sunny afternoon, I jumped the fence and headed toward the pool house.

Enjoy the photos.

All photos and copy by Joseph Schell

Over the years the roof has begun to fall in on itself. It now provides a convenient skylight. I made my way through the building, stepping over random discarded shoes, a tire, a desk and several unrecognizable belongings.

The building has become an open canvas for graffiti artists, a vandals playground and a home for feral cats and the homeless. In the north end of the complex, sections of the former men's locker room are now sanctioned off as one man's home. 

Nonsensical notes scrawled on the wall, seemingly a one-sided conversation.




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