The Winter Garden

Sutter at Pierce St. | map |

Opened: It had originally been a roller skating rink called the Pavilion Rink, opening September 1, 1906. It was on the southeast corner of Sutter and Pierce. 



A 1913 Sanborn real estate survey map with the Pavilion Rink on the left. That's Pierce St. along the left of the image, Post St. at the bottom and Sutter St. across the top. Thanks to John Freeman for locating the map and doing a scan from Digital Sanborn Maps 1867-1970, volume 3, sheet 277 via the San Francisco Public Library. He calls our attention to the fact that the building was set back from the property line on three sides.

In the upper center along Sutter is a house plus the Golden Gate Commandery Hall, a building used by a number of fraternal organizations. In the upper right is the Republic Theatre at Sutter and Steiner. It had opened in 1907 as the Alcazar and would end up as a film house called the Uptown. South of the Republic along Steiner is the long entrance mid-block for the Dreamland Rink, opened in 1906. 

The National Theatre is in the lower right at Post St. and Steiner. The Dreamland and National properties were the later location of Winterland. John comments: "There was only one dwelling, but the rest of the entire block was taken up with some variation of entertainment or fraternal secrecy!"

In 1916 the Pavilion Rink was converted into an ice rink and reopened October 10 as the Winter Garden. It was a project of well-known restaurateur John Tait. In addition to the ice surface, there was also a cafe and a dance floor.



An opening ad. Thanks to Jack Tillmany for locating it. 



The opening show was an ice ballet titled "Castles in the Air." Thanks to Jack Tillmany for finding this photo that appeared in the October 8, 1916 issue of the Chronicle. 




Coverage appearing in the Examiner on opening day, October 10, 1916. Thanks to Jack Tillmany for the research.



A 1924 ad in the "Douglas '20' Police Journal," a publication of the San Francisco Police Department. Thanks to Bob Ristelhueber for finding it on Internet Archive for a post on the BAHT Facebook page.  

The venue was later known as Iceland Pavilion

Closing: The building had a fire August 19, 1936. . 




A photo of the wreckage appearing in the August 20, 1936 issue of the Examiner. Thanks to Jack Tillmany for the research. The loss was estimated at $100,000. Cause of the blaze was unknown. It had been under renovation at the time of the fire. A fire chief noted that the department had been expecting the fire at the building for 20 years.  

Status: There's now housing on the site. 

More information: Also see the page on Winterland, an operation that started as a rink called Dreamland.

There was also a 2,000 seat pre-1906 venue called the Winter Garden, on Stockton between post in Sutter. In the 1880s they were advertising that they were doing operas every night.  

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