San Francisco's historic Trocadero House damaged by falling tree

The rainy, windy weather that battered the Bay Area last week is being blamed for knocking a tree into a beloved San Francisco landmark, the Trocadero Clubhouse in the city's Stern Grove.

The 2023 year's wet winter has chalked up another casualty: the historic Trocadero House in San Francisco's Stern Grove. 

"I woke up to a series of texts and voicemails from my team alerting me to the fact that at about 5:30 this morning, an 85-foot eucalyptus tree fell on the Trocadero Inn in Stern Grove," said Phil Ginsburg from San Francisco's Recreation and Parks Department.

The massive eucalyptus smashed into the back of the building, leaving a gaping hole. Recreation and Parks says the Department of Building Inspection has completed a preliminary inspection and has red-tagged the building, meaning it's not safe to enter. 

The building has a long history dating back more than 100 years when it first served as a stop for visiting what was then a remote part of San Francisco.

 'It had a very colorful history," said Ginsburg. "It was a casino with a bunch of roulette tables at one point, a speakeasy, it was a place where you could go see prize fights."

With all of its history, the building is still in use, hosting weddings and other major life events. Park users say they're heartbroken to learn about the damage.

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"It's totally heartbreaking," said Mailah Gray. "It was a gorgeous house, and you'd see a lot of people out there during the sunny days just hanging out there enjoying the view."

This fallen tree is just the latest disaster to befall Stern Grove. In August 2021, 700,000 gallons of water spilled from a broken water main, damaging the venue and weakening trees around the park.

Recreation and Parks says when storms blow into the city, they close the park, out of an abundance of caution. Neighbors say they're on high alert when walking through.

"I know I shouldn't have been walking through here today, but if you look down any path you'll see the broken branches…the giant trees that they're making an effort to cut down," said Gray. "Before the next storm comes..."

It's too early to say if Trocadero Clubhouse can even be saved. The Recreation and Parks Department says it still needs to be evaluated. However, they do say if it is saved and reopened to the public, it's going to take a great deal of commitment from the community and a great deal of political will.