Welcome to Curbed's ongoing series titled Hidden History, where Curbed Contributor Alex Bevk highlights a Bay Area location with a secret past. Maybe it’s no longer there, maybe it’s been converted into something else, but each spot holds a place in Bay Area history - even if not many people know it. Have a suggestion or know a place with a secret history? The tipline's always open or you can leave a comment after the jump.
Mount Olympus, 1954 [Photo: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY]
It may not be home to any gods, but high above Ashbury Heights San Francisco has its own Mount Olympus. Today the spot is surrounded by houses, but back in 1887 it was home to one of the largest pieces of statuary in the city, donated by (who else?) Adolph Sutro.
Mt. Olympus, the geographical center of the City, was one of the steep hills that remained free from houses for a long time. When former mayor and millionaire landowner Adolph Sutro dedicated a statue titled "Triumph of Light" in 1887, the site offered unobstructed views of the whole city.
"Triumph of Light" statue on Mt. Olympus,1927 [Photo: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY]
By the 1950s, as houses continued to pop up on the surrounding hill, the statue was heavily vandalized and eventually removed. The last vacant lots at the top of the hill were developed in the 1970s, and today all the remains of the statues is the pedestal.
· Mt. Olympus [FoundSF]
· Statue on Mount Olympus, San Francisco [Greenspun]