January 29, 2009

Photos: St. Paul's Church

The oldest (and largest) church in Noe Valley is St Paul Church at 29th and Church Streets. Commissioned in 1876, construction on the Gothic stone structure began in 1897 and was dedicated in 1911. Construction was aided by parishioners:
Father Michael D. Connolly, then pastor, is said to have had every able person in the parish, including himself, at work on the project. Reports say many were called and chosen, including Saturday morning religious education students who, according to the parish centennial history, "tended to end up at the Thirtieth and Castro Streets quarry hauling rocks down to the church."
After the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, the San Francisco archdiocese deemed the building too costly to upgrade and decided to sell the property. Once again, parishioners got the job done - they raised the money themselves. St. Paul's Church closed for seismic retrofitting for much of 2000, but managed to reopen in time for Christmas Eve Mass.

St. Paul's Church was also the set for 1992's Sister Act with Whoopi Goldberg.

Thanks, once again, to bats1234 for the great photo (and inspiration for the brief history).

[Flikr: bats1234]
[Source: St. Paul's Church]
[Source: Bill Yenne: San Francisco's Noe Valley]