SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco’s historic Trocadero Clubhouse located in the Sigmund Stern Grove was severely damaged by an 85-foot-tall eucalyptus tree on Saturday, March 11. 

The clubhouse’s alarm was set off at around 5:30 a.m. which prompted park rangers to investigate the scene. When they arrived they discovered that the building’s roof was partially crushed by the tree and the interior flooded with water from the damaged sprinkler system.

The Department of Building Inspection has completed a preliminary inspection and has red-tagged the Trocadero Clubhouse. 

“This is soul crushing. The Trocadero and Stern Grove are San Francisco treasures,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park General manager Phil Ginsburg in a statement. “It will take political leadership, resources and community resolve to put the Trocadero back together again.”

At this time, it is unknown if the landmark can be saved. It is currently still being evaluated. 

The Trocadero Clubhouse is over 130 years old and is thought to be the city’s oldest structure west of Twin Peaks. The structure was built in 1892 and it first served as a stop for visitors in what was then a remote part of San Francisco. Throughout its history the clubhouse has been a casino with many roulette tables, a speakeasy, and a place where one could go see prize fights. 

According to San Francisco Parks and Recreation, the Trocadero was followed by a series of operators who leased the resort, including sugar magnate Adolph Spreckels who took over for a brief period. In an infamous moment in 1907, notorious political grafter Abe Ruef used the out-of-the-way place as a hideout from an indictment court date. 

In recent years, the Trocadero was used to host many events like weddings and other major meetings. It was designated as a San Francisco landmark in April of 2022 by the Board of Supervisors.

Most of Stern Grove has been closed since late last year because of tree damage and instability caused by winter storms, and portions of the park have been closed since August 2021 after a ruptured pipe flooded its meadows with 700,000 gallons of water. 

According to some reports, the storms that have battered San Francisco recently are to blame for the damage caused to the Trocadero.