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Antoine Wiertz built the Triumph of Light pedestal on Mt. Olympus in 1887. Mt. Olympus is a hill located on Upper Terrace on Ashbury Heights and at one time was considered the center of San Francisco. The hill was topped off with a the Triumph of Light statue, financed by Adolph Sutro although now lost. Today only the pedestal remains, and the view from the top is now blocked by trees and houses.

  • Triumph of Light pedestal
  • Triumph of Light pedestal 1947.
  • Triumph of Light pedestal 1927.
Adolph Heinrich Joseph Sutro was born in 1830 in the Rhine Province of Prussia. Educated as an engineer, the then twenty year old Sutro moved to the United States. Over the years he amassed a great wealth, becoming an entrepreneur and famous public figure. He was known for a number of public deed including opening up his estate, creating an aquarium, and building an elaborate entertainment complex known as Sutro baths. He became Mayor of San Francisco in 1894, however he was quickly considered to be a failed mayor with very little political insight.

One of his projects was the Triumph of Light statue and pedestal, modelled after something he had seen on his travels in the Belgian style. The Triumph of Light depicted Lady Liberty victorious over Despotism. On Thanksgiving Day, 1887, a crowd congregated at the no-longer-existing intersection of Ashbury and 16th Streets for the statue’s dedication. There was a band, invited dignitaries, school children, and a poet. Sutro presented his statue as a gift to the City, telling the crowd, “May the light shine from the torch of the Goddess of Liberty to inspire our citizens to good and noble deeds for the benefit of mankind”.

The sculptor, Antoine Wiertz (1806 - 1865), intended the original to be part of a series entitled, The History of Humanity in Four Epochs, although  he completed only three of the pieces in this series.

Saperstein, Susan. Sutro’s Triumph of Light Statue. SF City Guides. Accessed April 01, 2017.

Hartman, Sierra. SF’s 6 Best Disregarded Monuments — The Bold Italic — San Francisco. The Bold Italic. Accessed April 01, 2017.