New Lands End center offers lookout and look back


The new Lands End Lookout is on the coast at Point Lobos Avenue and Merrie Way, above the Cliff House. It's a great place to look out and a great place to look back on a fascinating part of San Francisco's history.

It's a 4,100 square foot education area divided into three sections. One, is nature. "What are the plants that grow here? What's the geology of this area? What's the real history?" explained Robert Lieber with GGNRA interpretive sales.

The middle area is future-oriented, showing off the Leed Gold-Certified sustainability of the building itself and it also deals with financial sustainability. "Part of it is to tell the story, to give visitors an opportunity to really learn about the area as well as to create a financial stream to pay for it," Lieber said.

The third section involves the cultural aspects of Lands End, with extremely rare film clips that show life in the area 100 years ago, as well as just a decade ago during the glory days of the Sutro Baths. "This was an outer lands area and Sutro brought people here. In fact, the train that was coming here, he made sure that it was only five cents for people because he wanted it to be available to everyone," Lieber said.

One of the most noticeable aspects of the center is how much you don't notice it. "As you came to the site, you weren't having your view of this amazing place blocked as you come to our Lands End Lookout," said Catherine Barner with Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. "So, instead, you can see right through the building."

It's not a bad place to come for a café snack and a little daydreaming, even if it's dreaming of a day long, long ago. The center will be open to the public daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The grand opening is on Saturday at 11 a.m.

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