St. Paulus Church

At the corner of Gough and Eddy where the St. Paulus Lutheran Church once stood before burning down in 1995, the Free Farm is now in full bloom. Founded this past January and true to its name, the farm has already grown and given away well over 1,000 pounds of fresh organic produce from the 1/3 acre parcel on loan from the Church.

Free Farm at Gough and Eddy

It’s simply a sunny day shout out to the farm which is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10am-2pm for those seeking fresh produce or willing to lend a hand. Cheers.

22 thoughts on “From The Flames Of St. Paulus The Free Farm Blooms”
  1. The church was beautiful and I’ll always miss it no matter how many tomatoes they grow on the empty lot–another injury inflicted on the city by its uncontrolled homeless population (the fire was quite possibly started somehow by some homeless people being sheltered as I recall).

  2. This was indeed a major architectural loss.
    The church also had a great organ, which they allowed some amateurs to play when not in use for a service.
    There are very few Gothic churches in SF of this quality. St Dominic’s at Bush and Steiner, made of stone, not wood, is one of them.

  3. I was wont to visit this church for organ recitals, a magnificent structure. But I think I recall it was largely built of redwood, and I remember seeing no sprinklers. I watched it burn that night from across the street, from masterpiece to cinders in mere minutes. A genuine tragedy.

  4. When you view the architectural beauty of the church then juxtaposition the battle to save the library in North Beach on architectural significance you realize what a joke it is; SF as usual, has its priorities screwed up.

  5. @ Conifer: I agree with you about St. Dominic’s but the best thing about St. D’s is the way they did the seismic retrofit–by adding the entirely appropriate flying buttresses. Brilliant!

  6. The buttresses were done very well, but the church ran out of money and they are therefore not decorated in a full Gothic style as is the rest of the church.

  7. The other great Gothic church is of course Grace Cathedral. St Dominic’s is more English architecturally, and Grace more French. The Grace website has some interesting facts about the architeture.
    And Grace has three most important things, location cubed.

  8. Personally, I prefer St Dominic’s to Grace. Grace looks a little like a poor copy of Notre Dame in poured concrete.

  9. The commenters here say it without saying it: a lame ass hippy dippy garden is no match for a great building.
    We need to gather round and become hot-headed, teeth rattling, ball busting advocates for great buildings in this town, before it becomes nothing but a bland stucco canvas squeezed into a great frame.
    Seriously, people. We need to advocate for that which will last, not that which will lounge on our corners like a wet cosmic turd.

  10. Stucco,
    1) I do not see any comments indicating people believe this is a “lame ass hippy dippy garden”. Some posters may feel that way but no one posting anything here that could in any way be implied as negative towards the garden.
    2) You also present a false choice as the alternatives here are not ‘lame ass hippy dippy garden’ or ‘great building’. The only current alternatives for this site are garden or hole in the ground.
    So yes, we do need to advocate for great buildings but trying to do so here is pointless, there is no building being proposed for this site. I would much rather have the space being used as a garden (lame ass hippy dippy or otherwise) then as a blighted hole in the ground it was for over a decade.

  11. Then I’ll gladly say it: that “garden” looks like a dump … it’s a lame ass dump of a garden, and we’d all be better over if it were ripped out, and the church rebuilt. I’ve heard dozens of people mock that garden as yet another reason why this city is going doing the toilet, being overrun with homeless, covered it feces and vomit, and why anyone with money and taste is leaving. This city that I’ve loved so much is rapidly become a living version of Atlas Shrugged. Cities, like people, are living entities … they are either growing or dying. And this one is one life support … a sad remnant of it’s former self.

  12. Really strange how a historical landmark like the German Lutheran St Paul’s Church can just burn down. Wasn’t the fire department called out? Ideally it should be rebuilt – they are doing something similar in Germany, where historical buildings which were previously destroyed are being reconstructed.

  13. Just out of interest – does anyone know why the Henry J Fortmann mansion(portrayed as the McKittrick Hotel in “Vertigo”)was pulled down?

    1. It was where the AstroTurf play field is on the north west corner of Gough and Eddy. You can also see more of what was lost to the urban renewal of the Western Addition in the movie The Conversation.

  14. I am one of the many local community people (I work in Financial Management for a large corporation) who started the Free Farm on a lot that was blighted and served drug users and homeless in 2010. I live in Carillon Tower up the street and am a successful member of society. I work shoulder to shoulder with professors, clergy, students, mothers and fathers who want to feed and help other people. Please do your research and visit the Free Farm before mocking something the clergy of St Paulus and many other temples, churches and schools participate in. We have given away over 3,000 pounds of organic produce to hungry people for FREE. We run on volunteers and get no tax dollars. LOVE!

  15. I used to live in SF, 23 years ago, and remember that church very well, I think the #5 or #21 bus that I took to/from work passed close by. Sorry the church burnt down but glad the land is being put to good use. Regarding the old mansion that was across the street, go to and Vertigo site, then message board. There is a message there right now concerning the “McKittrick Hotel”.
    Basically, those old victorian mansions in the Western Addition oultived their usefullness pretty quick once the original owners got old and/or died. Huge rooms, stairs, stairs everywhere, difficult and expensive to maintain.
    They quickly became “dinosaurs of another age”.

  16. Stucco Sux and Chris should donate money to the Planning Department. That’s about all their pie in the sky negativity is good for. Put your money where your hate is.

  17. Organic produce. Grown in soil on the site of a burned down 19th century building with all the lead paint, asbestos insulation and god-knows-what still in the soil. Brilliant.

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