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National Register #84001183: Aquatic Park Historic District 4 July 2009
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National Register #84001183
Aquatic Park Historic District
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
Built 1920-1945

Aquatic Park, developed from 1936 to 1939, was one of California's largest Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects reflecting President Franklin D. Roosevelt's policy of providing employment to architects and artists during the Great Depression. The centerpiece of this group of "streamline moderne" structures, all employing nautical metaphors, is a multipurpose structure containing the bathhouse, concession stand and lounge. Its rounded walls, recessed upper stories, tubular steel railings and porthole windows were purposely designed to create the illusion of an ocean liner. Murals and other artwork carry out the nautical theme. This main building, lifeguard stations, stadium, Sea Scout building, a seawall and a semicircular pier form the Aquatic Park Historic District, now part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.... National Register Statement of Significance for Aquatic Park

Aquatic Park and the Hyde Street Pier are contained within San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.

Aquatic Park and Vicinity

Hyde Street Pier Pier 45

The San Francisco Bay Area Maritime Trail


Contributing Buildings Sequenced By Address
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Name Year Address Remarks
Bathhouse (Maritime Museum)1938Oval-shaped, four-story reinforced concrete Streamlined Moderne building with nautical lines representing a cruise ship such as the contemporary Normandie or Nieuw Amsterdam in abstract form. The stories of the building step inward to form decks. According to the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which designed and constructed the building, it is "Like a huge ship at its dock...with rounded ends, set back upper stories, porthole windows and ship rails, its resemblance to a luxurious ocean liner is indeed startling." The building is flanked by large concrete stadia.
Concession Stand and restroom
Speaker Towers1938Two 35-feet-high reinforced concrete speaker towers in were built at the same time as the other WPA projects for Aquatic Park. They reflect the international design of the other structures.
Sea Scout Building1943A wood frame, one-story structure built on pilings over the waters of the lagoon. A walkway connects it with land, near the entrance to the Municipal Pier. The building has a boat docking facility. The interior contains many small rooms that are used for storage, offices, classrooms, small boat, and spar repair facilities for the Sea Scout organization.
Lagoon1941The Aquatic Park lagoon occupies the site of the former Black Point Cove, which was partially filled in during the early 20th Century. As the former beach had been buried under tons of rubble and fill, the lagoon was supplied with a new sand each, with most of the sand coming from excavations in downtown San Francisco for the Union Square underground parking garage which was built in 1941.
Seawall1937Built of rubble faced with granite paving blocks from San Francisco streets. The blocks were removed during street modernization in the 20th Century.
Municipal Pier1929The reinforced concrete Municipal Pier is built on pilings over the seawall that shelters the Aquatic Park lagoon.
Bocce Ball Courts1950Built in the 1950s, the Bocce Ball courts are the most recent structural addition to Aquatic Park.
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