CFAH

Sacred Heart Church (Image Source: MapJack.com)
Amongst other items in front of San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee this afternoon, a resolution “urging the Department of Building Inspection to diligently monitor the status and the condition of the Historic Sacred Heart Church, documenting the understanding between the Megan Furth Academy and its neighbors, seeking re-installation of the exterior stained glass windows and requesting the City Attorney to open an investigation for the purpose of enforcing possible violation of the Building and Planning Codes.”
The Sacred Heart Church was sold to Megan Furth Academy in 2005 with an understanding that “Megan Furth Academy would preserve, at a minimum, the exterior of the church thereby maintaining the character of the neighborhood.” Since then, its two rose windows, organ and at least one marble altar have been removed and sold.

Sacred Heart’s three white Carrara marble altars were designed by Milan-born Attilio Moretti (1852-1915) and unveiled to the public in 1910 for the parish’s Silver Jubilee. The main altar is 25 feet long, 37 feet high and weights 95 tons. The altars were carved in Italy by Gighli and Vanelli and installed by John Catto’s monument company under Moretti’s supervision. The painting at the center of the main altar was done by an unknown German artist working for Munich-based Fritz, Mayer & Co., best known for its stained glass. The same company created the two rose windows in the transepts in 1909.

Later in the 1920’s, the well-known early 20th century muralist Achille G. Disi created Sacred Heart’s ceiling art. As a result of the 89 Loma Prieta quake, the murals on the ceiling have been covered by protective netting. Also affected by the quake, the 1933 Hook and Hastings organ has remained unused in the choir loft for fear the vibrations might damage the ceiling. In the early 1980s, Keven McGown dedicated nine months to restoring the organ as a gift to Sacred Heart before succumbing to AIDS.

The Church was inducted into the National Register of Historical Places on March 23, 2010 and is eligible for national landmark status.
San Francisco Land Use and Economic Development Agenda: 11/8/10 [sfbos.org]
Resolution to enforce Preservation and Restoration of Sacred Heart Church [sfbos.org]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by chguy

    sorry but marble or no marble this building is fugly.

  2. Posted by lyqwyd

    Looks pretty nice to me.

  3. Posted by [anon.ed]

    I like this structure, and I enjoy how visible it is from all over the southern parts of town.

  4. Posted by BT

    This church is a classic of Mediterranean architecture whose tower pretty much defines the “skyline” of its part of the city. In that sense, it’s the tower I care about most since I don’t live in that neighborhood. But it does seem to me that removing the stained glass changes the exterior in violation of the agreement. On the other hand, the altars have nothing to do with the exterior but their presence would make the use for anything but a church problematic. Let’s be reasonable here.

  5. Posted by EH

    Sure, but they don’t have to just go and sell the stuff out from underneath the agreement.

  6. Posted by lolcat_94123

    @EH: Well, what should they do with a 95 ton altar?

  7. Posted by diemos

    ^ Artisanal backsplashes?

  8. Posted by rr

    @[anon.ed]: you know we’re talking about the structure at Fillmore & Fell, and not USF’s St Ignatius on Fulton near Masonic, right?
    St. Ignatius is visible because it sits on the top of lone mountain, whereas Sacred Heart is only at the top of the Hayes St hill, a much less pronounced geographical feature.

  9. Posted by [anon.ed]

    Yeah, I know what it is and that tower is pretty visible from a lot of vantage points south and southeast of there.

  10. Posted by JP

    It was beautiful inside, saw it in high school. It seems sad to me that it won’t be accessable to the public. The message of the Sacred Heart Story…God’s love and mercy for all is such an important part of Church, it’s ironic that the Bishop abandoned the building dedicated to that message of hope, but that’s not a big surprise in this time. They fixed St. Boniface in the TL, they could have fixed this one, too.

  11. Posted by mf

    As someone who lives right directly next to this building, it breaks my heart that the rose windows were removed. Instead of looking at beautiful stained glass, I am left looking at what looks like the cockpit to a tie fighter! It breaks my heart how this sacred building was ravaged and that I never got the opportunity to see it in its full glory. I love the Sacred Heart, and I hope it is well taken care of in the future.

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