The once-great, but now sadly derelict, Fleishhacker Pool building was something of a magnet for homeless people and graffiti artists in recent years. That all came to an end earlier this month when the building finally went up in flames in a two-alarm blaze that SFFD investigators still haven't found a cause for. The fire wasn't all bad news though: now that the building is set to be demolished, the Rec & Parks Department is already dreaming up plans to turn the ashes into a new public green space.
Building inspectors and the Fire Department all deemed the structure a safety hazard. (Not that it was any safer before — it closed in 1971 and had been fenced in for years.) Crews started tearing down the ruins yesterday and the demolition will take about two weeks, plus another month of debris removal. During that time Rec & Parks General Manager Phil Ginsburg and his team will start looking to "make the best of a bad situation," as Ginsburg told the Chronicle. Naturally, Rec & Parks will be asking for the public's input on what sort of park will take shape in the new open space, part of which is currently being used for parking at the San Francisco Zoo. Ginsburg and company plan to preserve at least some of the site's grand history as an opulent destination for aquatic San Franciscans.
David Fleishhacker, whose great-uncle Herbert Fleishhacker was the nineteenth century visionary who built the massive 1,000-foot pool just steps away from the Pacific Ocean, was out by the site yesterday. Although he said his family was honored to have the building bear the Fleishhacker name, he told Bay City News: "Time passes. It was not ours."