"The Bay Area was in a receptive mood. The upsurge of a city rebuilding after the tragedy of 1906 gave impetus to any constructive movement. Also, there was a World's Fair in the making. The City by the Golden Gate was preparing to host distinguished guests. The two downtown women's clubs had limited membership and facilities. There was surely room for another, especially one with athletic opportunity."
—Carol Green Wilson, The First 50 Years of the Woman's Athletic Club of San Francisco
The Metropolitan Club was established in 1915 as the Woman's Athletic Club of San Francisco. The "House that Women Built" is located at 640 Sutter Street near Union Square. Bolstered by the energy and confidence of the early twentieth century woman's club movement Elizabeth Pillsbury, the Club's first President, was instrumental in encouraging dynamic and visionary women in the community to found the first woman's athletic and social club on the West Coast.
Designed by prominent local architects Bliss & Faville, the facility opened in 1917 offering gymnastics, swimming, dancing, basketball, fencing, hockey, volleyball, and tennis in the city's first indoor tennis court, as well as Turkish baths, massage, hydro-therapeutics, and hair dressing—"for the twin goals of fitness and beauty."
Since its inception, the Club has grown and prospered and remains one of the most beautiful and vibrant facilities in San Francisco. In 2004, a major renovation project provided extensive seismic and life safety upgrades, as well as expanded fitness amenities and a full service spa and salon. In the same year, the historic clubhouse and its heritage were listed on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places.