National Maritime Historical Park: Blue Room – San Francisco CA

City:
San Francisco, CA

Site Type:
Bathhouses, Parks and Recreation, Marinas and Aquatic Parks

New Deal Agencies:
Federal Arts Project (FAP), Arts Programs, Work Relief Programs, Works Progress Administration (WPA)

Started:
1936

Completed:
1939

Artist:
Hilaire Hiler

Designer:
William Mooser Jr. and William Mooser III - Architects

Quality of Information:
Very Good

Marked:
Yes

Site Survival:
Extant

Description

The Blue Room is one of the original dining areas in the San Francisco Aquatic Park bathhouse,  constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The building is now the visitors center for the National Maritime Historical Park.

The building architects were William Mooser Jr and William Mooser III. The painting and murals were paid for by the Federal Art Project (FAP) and done under the supervision of Hilaire Hiler, lead artist for the entire building’s artworks.

Original drawings refer to this circular room on the eastern side of the second level as “restaurant.” There is no known record as to how it became known as the Blue Room, but a matchbook cover from the Aquatic Park Casino (the controversial restaurant in residence at the time of the building’s opening in 1939) invited one to “Dine in the Blue Room.”

Hiler described this room as follows in a document titled “Aquatic Park Building Decoration”:

“On the right of this Portico as one faces the sea, is a restaurant specializing in sea-food. The decorations in this circular room and the lobby leading into it are simple. There is a terrazzo floor of abstract design and nautical motifs are applied to the walls in low relief, by means of real rope embedded in the plaster. The color is the new Monastral blue delicately shaded from a light tint near the ceiling to a deeper hue as it nears the floor and dado. It is relieved by a freeze of the Yacht Club flags of the Pacific Coast and related points in the form of plaques appropriately enameled and leafed.”

The room also features a terrazzo floor design with an abstract maritime theme and a ceiling that is a large spiral. The spiral is referenced in historical documents as being a symbol used in various locations within the building.

The room was modified in the 1960’s and 1970’s, adding an new entry door and painting over the original colors. The color scheme was restored in 2014 by the National Park Service along with the rest of the building and its artworks.

Source notes

WPA Records
List of Classified Structures

Site originally submitted by Todd Bloch on December 11, 2018.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.

Location Info


900 Beach Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
San Francisco County

Coordinates: 37.80639, -122.42387

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