From the late 1800s, visitors were travelling by trolley to visit the stretch of beach just below the Cliff House and Sutro Baths. By the early 1900s, individually owned amusements and concessions began to open. These were gradually taken over and purchased during the 1920s and 1930s (along with the land they were built on) by George Whitney and his brother Leo. Playland at the Beach thrived during the 1930s and 1940s, as a place of escape from the troubles of the world outside. Rides included the Chutes (which had originally been installed at Fulton and 10th Avenue, and moved to Playland after a fire), the Arthur Loof Carouself (now restored and operating at Yerba Beuna Gardens), the Big Dipper Roller Coaster, and Fun House.
Some rides were torn down during the 1950s (rather than renovate them to comply with safety codes). George Whitney died in 1958, his son was recruited by Walt Disney, and Playland went into decline. Apparently the youth culture of the 1960s failed to appreciate its (already) old-fashioned charm. The entire park was sold by George Whitney's widow to a developer, who had it demolished in 1972 and built condominiums (and a Safeway), which stand on the site today.