950 Gough Site

The Saint Paulus Evangelical Lutheran Church has quietly placed its Hayes Valley parcel at 950 Gough Street on the market, along with plans for a condo development to rise up to 80 feet on the site at the corner of Gough and Eddy.

A fire destroyed the ornate St. Paulus Evangelical Lutheran Church which had stood on the site until 1995, a site which most recently served as home to the Hayes Valley Free Farm.

Plans to develop the site have been in the works for a couple of years, with the original plans calling for 100 condos to rise over a replacement church.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Serge

    Ugly value-engineered box in 3… 2…. 1…

    Very little will ever be able to match or even come close to the architectural grandeur of the church. As I recall, it was the very same homeless people that the church was giving shelter to that burnt it down.

    • Posted by mark

      Yep, that seems to be the trend…and people aren’t shy about shelling out big bucks to live there.

  2. Posted by Brad

    Wow, I didn’t know there used to be such a beautiful church there. Shame it burned down.

  3. Posted by invented

    Natural site for taller — park views not blocking views, Yoo hoo —- Anyone home?

    • Posted by cfb

      b-b-but building taller would upset the natural balance between shadows and light on the street, on every third Wednesday of June, at precisely 7:04 am, which will make it approximately 5% less enjoyable to drink an artisan ten dollar coffee on the sidewalk there! And new traffic will clog all streets. So much new traffic. Say no to all development and the evil greedy developers! Say yes to butterflies and rainbows, and a make-believe magic-land idea of what this city is actually like! It’s a city of quaint villages! Yeah that’s it, villages…no “city” here. Nope, not at all, just villages of aging white former beatniks/hippies. Everything south of Market street might as well be the moon (except for Valencia street, which became OK once it got trendy and most of the scary poor people were kicked out). PS: go sierra club! Because, like, nature and stuff.

      • Posted by Brian M

        This was just….beautiful cfb. Beautiful.

      • Posted by Liver Spots


  4. Posted by jill

    happy to see this. I drive by this blight everyday, and removing it couldnt happen soon enough

  5. Posted by BobN

    Do the plans still call for a church on the lower level?

  6. Posted by S

    Hayes Valley? That’s a stretch…

  7. Posted by sassyboyfrisco

    Let’s see…
    – after 20 years (since this owner most likely burned down its own church for insurance payoff)
    – after endless homeless encampments, urine, feces, needles, garbage…etc.
    – after endless calls to police and DPW and planning commission and city hall
    …our community may finally benefit from more housing.
    Nice to read…and hopefully see…progress may occur. in our community…even if decades delayed.

  8. Posted by ncydr

    A dozen of my friends were married at St Paulus. It was a beautiful landmark gothic wood framed church with exquisite stain glass. St Paulus served the homeless and the greater community. They rented the facilities to the community for half the cost other places charge, thus setting pace for its popularity. For someone to speculate it was burnt down for insurance payoff is ludicrous.

    It burnt down because a homeless man started a fire outside the church basement to keep warm and it went out of control. A pretty dumb act I must say and a huge sentimental and architectural loss.

    • Posted by curmudgeon

      Agreed…that church was a marvel, and it was a very sad day for San Francisco when it burned down. It was always curious that there were 2 Lutheran churches on the same block. (St. Marks, built of brick, still stands). If memory serves it was because one was German and the other was Scandinavian, and they were trying to outdo each other for the grandest church.

      I can’t imagine there is STILL need for two Lutheran churches. Presumably narrow ethnic divides don’t matter these days….

      • Posted by soccermom




        I’m here all week. Be sure to tip your waitress.

      • Posted by Conifer

        Just as there are two branches of the Presbyterians, there are two Lutherans: ELCA (which is in full Communion with The Episcopal Church) and Lutheran Missouri Synod. Perhaps St Paulus was Missouri Synod.

        In any case St Paulus was an architectural treasure, modeled on French Gothic, similar to Reims Cathedral. It was a great loss to San Francisco.

    • Posted by NJ


  9. Posted by Chewy

    Not Hayes Valley.

  10. Posted by Folder Pete

    not Hayes … more like “Civic Center”, or actually “Cathedral Hill”.

    I agree, a sad loss. But I recall a movie from the 50s? which featured a Victorian “hotel” (old mansion) on the north side of Ellis west of Gough (site of playing field). Gone now in the redevelopment phase.

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