Favorite New Deal Site: Beach Chalet

Tell Us About Your Favorite New Deal Site

A View of the Past: The San Francisco Beach Chalet

Mural Detail, by Lucien Labaudt
Courtesy, FoundSF

City officials relocated the popular two-story Beach Chalet from Ocean Beach to the foot of Golden Gate Park in 1925 when storm waves nearly overtook the building. The Spanish Revival-style former bathhouse and snack bar today hosts a 180-degree view of the Pacific, craft beer and an amazement of New Deal artworks. From 1936-1937, WPA artists ornamented the capacious interior. Painter Lucien Labaudt added a colorful 1,500-square-foot fresco mural series depicting life the city along with some the more renowned residents of the day—sculptor Bene Bufano on horseback, labor organizer Harry Bridges pushing a hand cart, Golden Gate Park Superintendent John McLaren resting on a park bench and Labaudt, himself, reading a newspaper at the beach. Woodworker Michael von Meyer carved a braid of octopus legs and mermaids along the banister to the second floor. Primo Caredio’s mosaics adorn the stairwells and grottos. The Beach Chalet fell on hard times and was shuttered for decades but, thanks to persistent preservationists, the building and artworks have been restored and added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1985, the Beach Chalet became City Landmark #179. Today it is favorite destination for locals and tourists alike.
Send us a first-person story of 100 (or so) words describing the site and why you chose it. Submissions will appear in future issues of The Fireside! Be sure to include a photo (with photo credit). Send to [email protected]. Thanks!

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