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Archaeology of the
"San Francisco Coney Island"

Merrie Way Stands Archaeological Project

Two men in car at Merrie Way, 1903

In the early 1900s the Sutro Pleasure Grounds was touted as the “San Francisco Coney Island.” The amusement park, on the western edge of San Francisco at Land’s End, was run by Adolph Sutro. The Pleasure Grounds was built in 1895 and probably operated for less than a decade. It included the Merrie Way midway, lined with rides and other attractions, as well as concession stands selling food, drinks, and souvenirs. The Merrie Way Stands stood alongside present-day Point Lobos Avenue, and are currently the subject of archaeological investigations.

The National Park Service, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy are constructing trail and parking lot improvements around Land’s End, and at Merrie Way and Point Lobos Avenue areas. Sherds from a green vaseThis construction will impact the archaeological remains that are associated with the Merrie Way Stands. These remains include oyster shell and cut bone, tableware and serving ceramics, glassware and bottles, and window glass fragments bearing painted advertising remnants. Archaeologists excavated the site on Point Lobos Avenue from 7th April – 2 May 2008. The excavation will help archaeologists better understand the history of the area, and the role of amusement parks such as the Sutro Pleasure Grounds in people’s leisure time in the early twentieth century.