Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cliff House

I saw an article in the weird news about mobile homes in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, being pulled back from the edge of a cliff after a rockslide on Monday. I remembered plenty of instances, short of devastating and deadly mudslides, in which homes were left teetering due to erosion or weather events, and I found some dramatic stories and photos on-line:
  • Days after the sale of a house in Torquay, Devon, U.K., a 5,000-ton rockfall claimed part of the yard (another photo here).
  • Uninhabitable homes in a North Salt Lake, Utah, neighborhood destroyed after they started sliding down a hill.
  • 2 houses in Stafford, Virginia, evacuated when a hole in the hillside began opening up by several feet a day.
  • A cliffside is crumbling beneath houses in Calvert County, Maryland, and can't be shored up because of a protected beetle.
  • The ad for a foreclosed house on a bluff in San Clemente, California, read, "The lot needs geological work. Home needs structural work," but it found a buyer (another photo here).
  • A journalist tours an apartment building in Pacifica, California, that had been evacuated overnight after part of the cliff fell away.
  • As the cliff beneath it falls away, a house in Happisburgh, Norfolk, U.K., is devalued to £1 (photo of another house in the neighborhood here).
  • A landscape artist bought a threatened house in Knipe Point, North Yorkshire, U.K., to document its downfall (another photo here).
But the most interesting find was San Francisco's historic Cliff House (pictured above in an undated photograph). The building has perched on the northern California coast since 1858, when its 1st incarnation was constructed from lumber salvaged from a ship that foundered on the basalt cliffs below. The Cliff House has been restored several times since, most recently in 2004, and is open to visitors who want to dine, shop, walk the grounds, or visit the camera obscura overlooking the ruins of the Sutro Baths. Despite its precarious location, Cliff House (extensive collection of historic photos here) has weathered the elements - and withstood the 1906 San Francisco earthquake - only to succumb, more than once, to fire.

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