Historic Photographs

Home

Search

Subject Browse
Browse by Subject >>

State/City Browse
Alaska
Alabama
Arkansas
Arizona
California
Colorado
Connecticut
District of Columbia
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Iowa
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Massachusetts
Maryland
Maine
Michigan
Minnesota
Missouri
Mississippi
Montana
North Carolina
North Dakota
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
Nevada
New York
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
Vermont
Washington
Wisconsin
West Virginia
Wyoming

Home

>

California

>

San Francisco

>

Aquatic Park Bathhouse, Beach Street, West of Polk Street, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA



B&W Photos


Data Pages


Drawings


Photo Caption Pages


Item Title


Location
West of Polk Street, San Francisco, CA

Find maps of San Francisco, CA


Created/Published
Documentation compiled after 1933.

Notes
Survey number HABS CA-2225
Building/structure dates: 1939 initial construction
Significance: San Francisco's Aquatic Park was one of California's largest WPA construction projects. Time Magazine, Feb. 6, 1939, described the project as "one of the most sophisticated WPA building jobs in the U.S." The bathhouse is the most notable structure in the complex and exemplifies the streamlined Moderne style of architecture. Several distinguished artists were responsible for the adornment of the exterior and interior of the bathhouse. While the artwork of the Aquatic Park Complex is notable for its quality, it is also significant due to its surreal and abstract forms not commonly found in WPA projects. The work of artist Sargent Johnson is incorporated into the entrance and back porch of the bathhouse. Johnson was a nationally recognized sculptor and one of only two Black artists in California who participated in the WPA program. Under the direction of Hilaire Hiler, an internationally recognized muralist, Johnson depicted abstract and stylized forms of sea life and nautical references by incising lines into green slate panels that surround the main entrance of the building and provide contrast against the white concrete of the building's walls. Directly below the slate panels are multilevel fountains lined with colorful tile mosaics. The design for the back porch continues with the use of maritime motifs rendered in multi colored tile mosaics. The public and the critics were overwhelmingly impressed with the artists work when building was officially opened on January 22, 1939.

Subjects
Navies
Bathing
African Americans


Related Names
Works Progress Administration
Johnson, Sargent
Hiler, Hilaire
Lockett, Dana, Delineator
Umana, Jairo, Delineator


Collection
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)

Contents
Photograph caption(s): 
1. GENERAL VIEW, FRONT AND SIDE
2. FRONT ELEVATION
3. ENTRANCE
4. GENERAL VIEW, REAR AND SIDE
5. INTERIOR, ROTUNDA
6. INTERIOR, GALLERY
7. INTERIOR, STAIRWAY AND MURALS


Back to San Francisco, California