HARRY J. JOHNSON

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The Beach Chalet
The Beach Chalet is a historic restaurant with visitors center on the Great Highway near Golden Gate Park, by Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Its fresco murals, downstairs in the Main Hall, are nine feet high and contain familiar scenes of San Francisco life, including Fisherman’s Wharf, industry, birds, and San Francisco Bay. They were created in 1936-37 as a project of the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project, a Depression-era government funded work program. The restaurant, the final structure designed by Willis Polk, was built by the city at a cost of $60,000. It opened in June 1925, seated 200 diners and was at first run by the City of San Francisco.During World War II, the building became a coastal defense headquarters for the U.S. Army. Later, while managed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the chalet declined into a biker bar with a bad reputation. After a two million dollar investment in 1996 from the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, it was restored to its previous glory, with a restaurant and brew pub upstairs and visitors center downstairs where the frescoes are located. (Address: 1000 Great Highway at Golden Gate Park.)

Frescoes 2 ->
Lucien Labaudt | Ralph Putzker
Editing and photography by Harry.
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